We’ve coming up on anniversary number 25, which is a big one. We have plans. These plans involve baseball. And a bit of traveling. I digress because I wanted to make sure I include all the facts and nothing but the facts.
A note from a long and much-married woman: No marriage is happy all the time. There are fights, times when one of you is snippy, snarky, unhappy, frustrated and you take whatever is bothering you out on your partner. Marriage is a never-ending negotiation to achieve perfection. Finding perfection is impossible, but trying to achieve it can be fun.
I was 18 when I married the first time. It was my senior year. I was working at the college radio station. Jeff was the Station Manager. Garry, my once and future husband, was Jeff’s second-in-command — the Program Director. The two were also best friends. Most of the people I came to consider real friends worked there, too. We were having a great time doing weird, creative stuff. Life as a permanent party … or so it seemed.
Aside from the stuff we did at the station, we held an annual Fall of Sauron Day party — scripted, costumed, with special effects. We were young, healthy, could party all night, yet rise up and go the work the following morning. Looking barely the worse for wear. Ah, youth.
I married Jeff in August 1965. I spent the next year finishing my B.A. and having my spine remodeled, so it was a few years before I got on with life. Owen Garry was born in May 1969, Garry being his godfather. Fast forward through a non-acrimonious divorce from Jeff. I later realized if you just give up everything and walk away, it’s easy to remain amicable. It’s also something you will probably regret — eventually.
Off to Israel I went with The Kid. Not too long thereafter, I married in Israel. The less said about this mistake, the better. In 1983, a state visit from the ex and (now) current husband (they rode together), showing up right in time for war in Lebanon. It ruined our plans to visit Mt. Hermon and the Galilee, but created great anecdotes which Garry and I tell after dinner around the fire. I have one (fuzzy) picture of me, sandwiched between Jeff and Garry, all arm-in-arm, the Dead Sea behind us. The picture was taken by husband number 2 (the one I don’t want to talk about).
August 1987 – THE RETURN
I’m back! Garry and I are an item. Having been apart for so long brought us closer together than we’d imagined possible. The previous decade hadn’t dealt kindly with either of us and we saw one another with new eyes. I think we’d always been a little in love, but there were an endless number of reasons why it wasn’t the right time to do something about it. Now, shortly after my Israeli divorce from husband number 2 was finished, Garry and I got married.
Here’s the back story. Give or take a lie or two.
I’d been away for two weeks in California on business. I had come back early because I got sick, came down with the flu. Just as well, because an earthquake — the one that stopped the World Series — occurred the following day and if I’d stayed, I’d have been crushed under the collapsed highway.
Garry was glad to see me … until I coughed. Then he wasn’t so glad. If you want to know the definition of “mixed emotions,” it’s a man overwhelmed with joy to see the woman he loves — but knowing the first kiss will include influenza. The definition of true love? He kissed me anyway. And got the flu.
So after we both stopped coughing, Garry took me out to dinner. He was nervous. He was driving and we went around Leverett Circle at least half a dozen times. He kept missing the turn off. Meanwhile, he was explaining how he’d had a conversation with his pal about real estate, and how prices were down, and how maybe we should buy something. And live together. Like maybe … forever? Was forever okay with me?
So having listened for a pretty long time, I said: “So let me see if I’ve got this right. You want to buy a house? Move in and live together? Forever? As in married?”
“All of that,” he said, and drove around the loop one more time.
“I don’t know about you,” I said, “But I definitely need a drink.”
The following morning, I asked Garry if I could tell my friends. He said “Tell them what?”
“That we’re getting married,” I said.
“You said we should buy a house and live together forever.”
“Is that a proposal?”
“It is where I come from,” I assured him. Wouldn’t you think that was a proposal? I had to remind him about buying a ring, too but eventually, he got into the groove, realized all he had to do was tell me what he wanted and show up in a tux and he’d be a married guy. Piece of cake.
We got married 6 months later having known each other a mere 26 years.
I declined to have my first ex-husband as best man at my third wedding. We did, however, have the “real” reception at his house. There was the official one at the church, but the fun event, with all the friends, music, wine and sharing … that one was over at the old house where I used to live with Jeff.
Garry and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary next September. When you find the right one, time flies.