“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

31st Anniversary.

I've been married 31 years today (it was Dec. 3 when I started writing this.)  We were both stationed in Italy, and neither of us were Catholics, so we got married at Little Creek Amphib Base near Norfolk, Va. I had a conference there every December and my wife took leave. It was supposed to be just a quick and quiet wedding in the base chapel, and the base chaplain was going to marry us.  But my family insisted on coming, and her family insisted on coming, and her dad was a preacher so he married us.  It was a lot more hassle and trouble than it needed to be. Oddly enough, I don't think a piece of paper from the state with a tax stamp on it, or a ceremony from a "holy man" is necessary for people to be a couple.  However, in the military you have to have all the paperwork because getting married effects your pay and allowances. For instance, she was getting about $400 a month for quarters allowance, and I was getting a little bit more. But when we got married, she lost her quarters allowance and mine stayed the same. So our net income actually went down.

This picture was our wedding supper or whatever it's called.  At any rate, we went to the officers club the night before we got married and the two families, who had never met each other, got to visit some. Maybe that's why they have those.  My dad and her dad got along fine because my dad was a pharmacists mate in the Navy , in the Pacific theater and her dad was a Marine Sergeant in the same theater.  Our mom's got along, and this is where I first met my wife's sister the doctor. We still live near them, they are about an hour and fifteen minutes away, and my wife's mom lives with them. Her dad passed away years ago.

Miriam's sister had just married an Army doctor, so she brought her wedding dress and they altered it to fit my wife, and she wore that. I was expecting Miriam to wear her dress blue uniform, since it was winter. We just lost control of a lot of things with everybody there, and Miriam did look nice in the bridal gown.  This was a working trip, so I had only brought a set of "Alphas" which was the uniform for the conference. It was a nice wedding but I was glad when everybody left because there was too much of parents telling us what to do and changing our plans.

.  This is us at the Marine Corps Birthday ball in November about a month before we got married. Getting a formal gown in Naples , Italy that suited an American woman was not easy, so my wife made her own gown. She has always been good about things like that.  We met on July 5, 1982.  The officer I was relieving at COMSTRIKFORSOUTH said that of the twenty or so single female U.S. officers at the NATO headquarters, he and his wife had picked out the best for me.  I remember asking him, as a joke, why his wife only considered the American women when there were so many nice European women officers at the base.  He told me that his wife had pointed out marrying a foreign woman might have a negative impact on my security clearance. I knew plenty of Marine Officers married to Japanese women, and I'm not sure if that was true, but his wife was a very practical woman. The Major took me over to AIRSOUTH to meet Miriam, and he was certainly right about his wife having chosen the cream of the crop.  I really  felt lucky that these good people set me up with Miriam. I still do , more than three decades later.



And here we are, still alive and kicking.

33 comments:

  1. Congrats Mr. and Mrs. She certainly had fine tastes in dresses that green gown looks wonderful on her.

    Your father in law looks like Colm Meaney in that pic BTW

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  2. Thanks, she made all of her own clothes and the kids clothes, and a lot of mine when we came here and for years afterwards.

    I don't know who Coll Meaney is. I'll have to look him up on Wiki. My father in law was a very tough guy. I asked him once why a person who had fought through Okinawa would be a missionary, and he told me he promised God if God would just get him out of there alive he would spend the rest of his life trying to make the world a better place. He was that kind of missionary. Not the kind that tries to force everybody to toe his line, but the kind that built wells in Niger where there were none, and ran a clinic where there was no other medical care. He was a realist. I liked him although he was really a patriarch in the family and bossed the women around something terrible, including my wife. They lived with us a couple of years after they came back from Nigeria and Niger for good. They finally went over and bought a place near my sister in law and her husband because my father in law had a lot of health issues and we had no medical facilities worth a damn in this county. He died about three years after he retired.

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  3. Here's a link for him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colm_Meaney

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  4. Congratulations, that's a great commitment to each other. You make a handsome couple in your photo's.

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    1. Dreamer, I was always really proud to have such a good looking wife, but I married her more for her character. She had no bad traits, and she was able to ameliorate some of my not so good quirks, like arrogance and insensitivity to other people. She also put the brakes on the habit of spending all weekend at the officers club with my boon companions. That was taking a toll on me because I was not in my twenties anymore by then. She and my kids are the best thing that ever happened to me, except for joining the Marine Corps..... ; - ) just kidding there about that last part!

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  5. Happy anniversary! You all have a neat story. I wanted a tiny simple wedding and there were some folks who had different ideas but I fought them tooth and nail and got my way.

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    1. Lisa, I couldn't handle the conference, the wedding, and two sets of parents and two sister in laws. I finally just thought the devil with it, as long as we get married I'll just be quiet. You have to know when to engage and when to conduct a tactical retreat.

      Personally I have told my daughter when she gets ready to marry that they should have a small wedding and then we can give them the money that would have cost as a wedding present, which they can then use for practical things. But my wife has other ideas so I don't know what will happen.

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  6. Happy Anniversary! She looks beautiful in her wedding gown , something most girls dream of so it was great that she had a chance to wear one. I can't imagine sewing my own gown! She's pretty talented.

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    1. There's almost nothing my wife can't do if she wants to. She is the one who figures out how to fix things around here and then I just do the grunt work.

      She really is the best wife for me.

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  7. Happy Anniversary Harry...and please pass on our best to Miriam! you guys sure do make an attractive couple, even after all of these years! i kind of think it's funny that when families get involved - all the plans go out the window! i am glad, however, that she wore a beautiful wedding gown!!! and PP above is right - that green dress looks fantastic on her! anyway, here's to 31, buddy...and here's to 31 more!

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, my mom and dad were married 57 years when he passed away. So we should have a while left I think....

      My father in law pretty much took over our wedding, along with my sister in law. I was intimidated by him to an extent, because of his military record and because he expected people to obey when he spoke. My sister in law got his genes and was bossy, while my wife got her mothers tendency to rule from behind the throne.

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  8. Wow, 31 years is a major achievement in today's society, but I've heard it's easy when you find the right one. Congrats, and I hope y'all have another 31!

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    1. K, every couple have their ups and downs over the years, that's just human nature. I was something of a trial for a few years after I left the service and she just had to be patient. My wife is good at that. She and I have made a good team.

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  9. Congrats to both of you - you've set a sterling example for your kids :)

    My, don't you both look young and innocent at your wedding supper. Cute :)

    And, you're both not looking too shabby now either... :)

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    1. Dani,
      I look at those pictures and sometimes it's hard to accept those are the same people that we are now. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. We are your typical "elder" Southern couple now. We had our time in the sun and now we are enjoying the shade!

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  10. Congratulations, I'm sure you look back and ask yourself where the time went. My wife and I are married half that long and I'm still amazed so much time went by. The years appear to have been kind to both of you - if you can stand that close to each other after 31 years, you are doing it right. :^)

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    1. You're right about wondering where all the time went. I know it's a cliche, but it's true that one day you wake up and realize most of your life is behind you. That's when it's good to have kids, because it gives you a feeling of continuity that's not based solely on your own existence. We've had a good run and I hope we have a few years yet to enjoy too. I'm looking forward to her retirement, and the changes that will bring.

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  11. You guys haven't changed a bit. Congratulations.

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    1. Stephen, it's great to hear from you. I have been trying to leave you alone and give you some down time on the net, but I wondered how things were going.

      I saw your wife's picture once on your blog, she's really good looking!

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  12. Ah, man..I went through a phase in my life where I dated nothin' but redheads. Good times, good times. Congratulations on the weddning anniversary. Me and the wife just had our #5 and are celebrating by going on a Caribbean cruise. Was this the first marriage for both of you? I didnt get married until I was 40 and at that age it was hard finding someone who had never been married and didnt have any kids.

    Here's the wife at our wedding with a couple of her coworkers...who came in uniform and left with all the lights and sirens going. http://commanderzero.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/c13104233740_0f85c1133c.jpg

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    1. Wow. She's very beautiful. No wonder you married her, she's a three pony, two blanket, one cook pot and one rifle woman.

      She looks like a nice person, too and that never hurts.

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  13. Yes, my wife and I were first and only marriages. We both waited late in life to marry , by the standards of the 80's.

    I'll go take a look at that picture, I'm interested to see it.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thanks, Sol. We've still got a great many more ahead of us with luck.

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  15. Happy anniversary Harry, you look a fine couple, now and at your wedding. You have a head start on me for married years, I'm only half way there yet.

    Getting married in uniform always looks good, I did the same, must dig out a picture of my wife & I for you. She made her wedding dress and also the bridesmaids dress.

    Cheers

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    1. I'd like to see that picture, Sgt. I don't think it's as common for ladies to make their own dresses these days as when our wives did, but it ought to be if the prices of wedding dresses are anything like I am seeing on tv !

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    2. Average price of a wedding dress in Sydney is AUD2,000 - 4,000, and I know of people spending AUD8,000 on a dress! You read about people spending more on their wedding than the deposit on a really good home would cost, I think it is madness myself.

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    3. It does seem highly impractical, especially when you consider that your more fervent hope is not ever to use it again. We have television shows here though, that are nothing more than touts for people who make their living on weddings, and I'm sure that helps drive up the frenzy. It's very hard to say "no" to a daughter on something anyway, let alone a wedding. I hope mine has more sense, and I think she will , she's a lot like me in terms of not wanting to waste money.

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  16. Happy anniversary. You both look great in all the photos!

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  17. I forgot to add: Wedding dresses are now crazy expensive. We're talking $1,000 or more. I was living close to Atlanta, Georgia. I went to go get sized for a dress. I was going to be in my friend's wedding. Well I happened to be in the China part of town. I didn't know my way around at all. An lady that could not speak English was helping me. She kept insisting I try one more dresses. I wasn't ready to get a dress, but whatever. I figured why not? I was engaged anyhow. I looked on the price tag at it was $100. Maybe even cheaper than that. It had pearls that went all down it, and pearl is my 2nd birthstone. I walked away with a cheapish beautiful dress! At my wedding my mom kept telling me, "Don't tell people how much you saved on the dress!" She is much more of a spender than I am.

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    1. I think the ability to shop for something you want, and get a good quality product at a good price, is one of the cardinal attributes. You did well to get such a nice dress at so reasonable a price. You also did well to wander around Atlanta and escape with your life! My wife used to have conferences down around Spring Street in the heart of the city, and I always drove her and sat in the car until she was ready to go home so she wouldn't be alone in that city for one second.

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  18. That's great! Although to be honest, it is a little scary to think that 1982 was that long ago.

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    1. It was a very long time ago, just doesn't seem that way. At least, not until I start thinking back at all that's gone on since then and that makes it seems very far back.

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