Today is my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Being their daughter, I have had the privilege to bear witness to their relationship for most of those 50 years. It has not always been blissful and perfect. In fact, I view the longevity of their relationship as a testament to their high levels of tolerance for periods of unhappiness. My mother was a school teacher for over 30 years, and my father was a veteran social worker. They retired from their jobs within a couple of years of each other about 8 years ago. They both worked hard at helping children their whole adult lives, and I think they were aware of how important it was to keep our family intact even when the going got tough. I also know that as stubborn New Englanders, divorce was just not considered practical.
They met while students at UMASS in the '50s. The story is that he was looking for a date, so he picked her name out of the college phone book. Back then, when you called a dorm, there was a dorm switchboard or a common phone and you had to be paged for your call. My mom was on duty that night when he called and asked for her. She agreed to meet him, they fell in love, and have been together ever since.
In the early days of their marriage, they remember celebrating payday by going out to buy a steak and cooking it in their tiny apartment. In more recent years they have been enjoying the fruits of their careful saving and savvy investments and they have been travelling together to different parts of the world. This thrills me. That they are still together. That they still enjoy each other's company. That they make each other laugh, and they argue, and they still love each other so very much.
My brothers and I and our families are throwing a dinner for them at their favorite inn on Cape Cod this weekend. I will bring my camera and take lots of pictures and be present in feeling the joy of the celebration.