Earlier this week I read a lovely tribute that a blogging friend had written about her marriage on the occasion of her anniversary. You can read it here. Because I try to be open to the messages that the Universe sends me, I realized that it was a reminder that my own anniversary was approaching.
The spouse and I have never been sentimental about our anniversary. Most years we would forget all about it until the anniversary card from my mother would arrive in the mail. She always decorated the envelopes with anniversary greetings and drawings of flowers, so the mailman always knew it was our anniversary before we did. My mother died four years ago and now no one remembers, so it’s nice that the Universe has stepped up to prod my memory.
Today the spouse and I have been married forty years. Forty years! I have been married for two-thirds of my life! I’ve spend as much time married as Moses spent wandering in the desert!
The traditional fortieth anniversary gift is ruby. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that to arrive.
The spouse and I married in Granada Hills, California at the Catholic church that I had attended as a child. I was Catholic by birth, meaning that my mother had made me attend church every Sunday and Catechism classes every Wednesday night until I escaped to college. The spouse and I met with the priest the night before the wedding because the spouse was a heathen. Since I had attended those Catechism classes every Wednesday, I knew that anyone who wasn’t Catholic was a heathen, but I loved him and wanted to marry him even though he was probably going to spend eternity in Limbo which, if I recall correctly, isn’t such a bad place except Jesus never hangs out there. It’s definitely a D List location.
The wedding party gathered at the church the evening before the ceremony to rehearse. The priest asked to meet with us alone for a few minutes in his study before the rehearsal. He asked the spouse, “Do you commit to raising your children Catholic?” …and there was an uncomfortable silence in the room until I jumped in with “I thought the Vatican changed the rules and didn’t require non-Catholics to agree to that?” And five minutes before our families were scheduled to join us at the rehearsal the priest says, “Then I don’t think I can marry you in good conscience.” Do they learn those blackmail techniques in priest school? The spouse and I sign that we will raise our yet to be conceived children Catholic.
On August 21, 1971 we married in a small ceremony in front of friends and family. The priest wore Kelly green socks and sandals under his long flowing vestments and the wedding party got a case of the giggles when the priest pulled out a plastic squeeze bottle of holy water and spritzed the rings held out by our best man. Perhaps he was warding off demons.
At our meeting the night before the priest had told us that it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to kiss at the end of the marriage ceremony. We did it anyway, so between that and not raising our children Catholic, I’m probably joining my life partner in Limbo. We marched out of the church to the organ playing the tune made famous by the Carpenters in a bank commercial, “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Grab the Kleenex and click the link below...
I dug out my wedding album this evening to look for a picture to accompany this post. I hadn’t looked at the pictures in years. We were all so young and all the men had so much hair! It is hard to believe that forty years have gone by so quickly. Forty years, two children, two grandchildren and a lifetime of memories and it still feels like we’ve only just begun.