I was 18 when I got married the first time. It was the summer between my junior and senior years of college. I was working at the radio station. Jeff, my first husband, was Station Manager. Garry, my permanent husband, was Program Director. The two were best friends. We all met in 1963.

Fourteen years later, I walked away from my first marriage. It wasn’t horrible. Merely empty. Though it was a good friendship, as a marriage, not so good.

I’ve known Garry since college. He is my son’s godfather (in the religious sense — the Christian one) (Owen also had Jewish godparents, though they have all passed). Garry married me when I got back from Israel because (he said) he was afraid I’d find another husband if he didn’t marry me. I was getting tired of husbands by then, but it seems to have worked out.

Garry and I have had a great time together as married people and we had a multi decade long torrid romance before we got married, temporarily interrupted by my moving overseas.

Garry courted me by mail. He wrote me nearly every day for almost 9 years. I should have kept those letters but in the madness of moving countries, many things were lost. The weird thing is, when we finally did get married, everyone who knew both of us — which was almost everyone we knew — thought it was about damned time.

Gar and Mar in Dublin 1990

No one writes real letters anymore. Email has eliminated personal mail. But those letters were wonderful. Garry told me I was wonderful. He never let me forget that somewhere, someone thought I was amazing. 

I wrote letters to Garry too and when I got back to the States, I found he had saved them all. I don’t think either Garry or I has written a letter to anyone else since.

August 1987

I was back in the U.S. With help from a friend, I got a job in the Boston area. Garry and I became “an item.” The previous decade had been a rough one and it was clearly time to make this relationship work. How did I finally get him to propose? It was all him, though he tries to deny it.

I’d been in California for a couple of weeks on business. I’d come back early because I came down with the flu. That turned out to be just as well, because the big earthquake — the one that stopped that year’s World Series — happened the day after I left. If I’d stayed, I’d have been crushed under a collapsed highway.

Garry was glad to see me … until I coughed. Then he wasn’t so glad. What is the definition of “mixed emotions?” A man in love who knows that first kiss is going to give him the flu. Definition of true love? He kissed me anyway. And got the flu.

After we stopped coughing, we went to dinner. Our favorite restaurant, Jimmy’s Harborside, was only a mile away on the harbor, but it took nearly an hour to get there. Garry was nervous and kept looping around Leverett Circle, missing the turn off. He was telling me how real estate prices were down and maybe we should buy a place. Live together. Forever. Would that be okay with me?

So I listened for a pretty long time because this was the most unexpected speech I’d ever heard. I never expected Garry to marry me. I never thought he’d marry anyone. Finally, I said: “So you want to buy a house. Move in and live together? As in, get married?”

Mass Broadcasters 12

“All of that,” he said and looped around one more time.

“I definitely need a drink,” I said.

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.”

“Yes,” he agreed

“So we’re getting married. You proposed.”

“That’s a proposal?” he asked. “I didn’t think it was a proposal.”

“You want to buy a house with me and live together forever. If it’s not a proposal, what is it?”

“Just an idea,” he said.

“It’s a proposal,” I assured him. A couple of weeks later, I suggested a ring might be in order. And setting a date. He moved through these steps looking like a deer in headlights, but eventually he realized all he had to do was show up in a tux. He could do that.

We were wedded 6 months later having known each other 26 years of torrid romance and many seafood dinners.

February 2023

Garry and I celebrate our 32nd anniversary last September. We have mellowed. We know each other well. We know each others faces. I know when he hurts. He knows if I’m upset. It doesn’t mean we don’t squabble, but it does mean we never stop being there for each other.

The man who was never going to get married has become a remarkably good husband. If only he would learn to cook, I might consider him perfect. With my endless health problems, I think he’s gotten a lemon and should return me to the dealer, though I suspect the time for returning me ran out a decade or two ago.

It doesn’t seem like 58 years since we met. I don’t know where time has gone. Maybe when you find the right one — and it certainly took long enough — time flies.

Categories: Garry Armstrong, Love, Marriage, Relationships, Romance

Tags: , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. ❤️❤️❤️


    • We don’t really celebrate, but this seemed a good day to put this story up. Otherwise, I suppose I’d have to wait until we hit year number 33. That’s a lotta years, by golly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wow! What a wonderful missive! Paraphrasing Sally Field’s Oscar comments, “So, you REALLY like me!”. I sometimes wonder as I bumble my way through the minefields of old age. I cannot imagine life without you. That has little to do with all of your supportive efforts. It’s simply that, yes, I LOVE you. I don’t say it enough because we are usually bickering over some stupid thing I botched up. I really lucked out when you came back. A woman like you — to a place like this — WHY? Let’s keep this going and I will try to be more of that guy who’s shared your life for all of these crazy years.


      • The Colombian-American has only been around for 5 1/2 years. I had to wait 13 months for him to get here. He is my “family” now. He keeps reminding me so I don’t forget, LOL.


  2. This is such a beautiful love story. Stay happy both of you. 😍🥰💖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How utterly wonderful 💝

    Liked by 1 person

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