ROMANTIC ME – Marilyn Armstrong

LOVE AND MARRIAGE ARE NOTHING LIKE A HORSE AND CARRIAGE


I was 18 when I married for the first time. I was in my senior year of college, working at the radio station and beginning to get the hang of writing for people other than myself.  Jeff ran the college radio station. He was the Station Manager.

Garry, my once and future husband, was Jeff’s second-in-command — the Program Director. The two were coincidentally also best friends. Along with most of the people I count as friends all these long years later, we were having a great time doing weird and creative stuff … a permanent party, or so it seemed.

Gar and Mar in Dublin 2000

It wasn’t just the usual college hi-jinx. Aside from the stuff we did at the station, we were creative party givers. Our Fall of Sauron Day parties became the stuff of legend –scripted, costumed, with special effects. We were young and healthy and could party all night, yet still 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. My son was born in May 1969. We named him Owen Garry, Garry being his godfather. Fast forward through a non-acrimonious divorce. I later realized if you just give up everything and walk away, it’s easy to be 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).

Photo: Debbie Stone
Photo: Debbie Stone

August 1987.

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 was 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.

And here’s how it really happened.

I’d been away for two weeks in California on business. I had come back early because I got sick and 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.”

Garry, now

The following morning, I asked Garry if I could tell my friends. He said, “Tell them what?”

“That we’re getting married,” I said.

“We are?”

“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 29th anniversary in September. When you find the right one, time flies.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

47 thoughts on “ROMANTIC ME – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Yes. We got a really nice condo in Boston and eventually, sold it and got this place. We would have stayed in Boston, but it was a triplex — three stories with stairs — and I was already having trouble climbing them. But it was a really NICE place.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Bob, you can’t make stuff like this up. Well, you could but we didn’t. It’s REAL news. I always defer to Marilyn when this story is shared. I can’t keep a straight face.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. My husband and I have been good friends from 1973 (when we first met) until we finally got together in 1999 (in the meantime I’d got married to someone else, had three kids, got divorced, then got married to another someone else and divorced again). And even when we eventually got together as a couple we lived together for 13 years before getting round to getting married, so will only be celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary in September this year, 20 years after we got together and 46 years after we first met! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a wonderful, weird, amazing, unbelievable but most certainly convincing life-story! When ‘you’re meant for each other, it will happen’…. My story with my HH is wonderful and weird too; I’ve also only known him as a friend for some 13 years before getting married. And now we’re married for 21years already and, as you say in your last sentence: When you find the right one, time flies….. How very wonderful that we were so incredibly lucky to find ‘the right one’, not right away, but we did!
    And as for ‘stepping back’ at a divorce, I let my ex have nearly everything and he was still splitting hairs over the most unlikely stuff (like: You had your teeth repaired because you already planned to leave me and now you spent xxx and I want 50% of that money to be mine!). Did I alright leaving him? You bet…. Did I lack anything because I left him everything? Most certainly not. Are we done? Yep!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we knew we were meant for each other but I kept getting married and he was so involved in work, he didn’t think he had time for a personal life. I think he was right. Even after we got married, his work made our lives really complicated. We could never plan anything and as he got older, he really needed to slow down … but the job never seemed to allow for that to happen.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You’re right about the job and me. Until the day they told me, “We’re going in a different direction”.

        Like

  3. My husband and I met at work (I was the new hire), started dating a month later. Three months later we got married. Going on 40 years now. Love does find a way…. Congrats to you and Garry. What a story, Marilyn!

    Liked by 1 person

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