Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. June 21 is the day we met 27 years ago and also the day we got married 20 years ago! The longest day of the year (Summer Solstice) is the most perfect day of the year to me. My favorite season is autumn but if I had to choose just one day, it is June 21st. Usually sunny, not too hot and the longest amount of daylight available before the sun sets.
Turning the clock back to 1985, it is hard to fathom the exact set of circumstances that had to take place (in addition to planets aligning just so) to meet my future husband. I was a young pup of 22 and working as a pizza cook at a bar called La Chalet. Pay attention, kids! This is what happens when you party in college and don’t study and flunk out. La Chalet had a great location on Pewaukee Lake in Pewaukee, WI. I took the job until I figured out what to do with my life. Obviously, I’m no longer there but still working on the figuring out my life part. I worked a lot of lunches and then worked at dinners until closing. We only served pizzas but we made our own dough which took time. On a weekend night by myself, I’d have to take orders, make and serve pizzas, collect money, give change, pick up dishes, etc. It wouldn’t be unusual to have 20 pizza orders I’d have to do one after another. I started in April and it had been 6 or 8 weeks since I’d had a Friday or Sat. night off by the time June 21 rolled around. It was a Friday night and I had off. I didn’t go to bars then but I was sick of watching everyone go there and have fun and I wanted to come back as a customer! I was quite naive and would give anybody a chance once. I tried to always keep an open mind about people because you never know. Well, during this time there was an ex-convict sniffing around me. He would always come back by the kitchen to say hi and talk to me. I was always friendly and even though he wasn’t my type (not because he was a murderer either), I was nice to him. He had me fix his pierced earring (get it back in his ear), take him to the gas station in my car to fill his gas can when he ran out of gas, etc. He kept asking me out and I’m not stupid enough to get in a car with someone I didn’t know. (I did that before to disastrous effect but that’s a story for another time.) So I agreed to meet him at La Chalet on Friday night. It wasn’t really a “date” but I’m sure he thought it was. This ex-convict (I keep calling him that because for the life of me, I can’t remember his name!) had been imprisoned for killing his father. The father had been abusing/beating his mother so it supposedly was to protect her. I wasn’t from that area of WI so hadn’t heard anything about it. The ex-convict seemed harmless enough.
So on that night, I met him there and we had drinks and not too long later I meet the FH (future hubby). I had a huge crush on the bouncer at La Chalet, he was a Big Guy (6’4″, probably 300 lbs, dark hair & eyes) and painfully shy. I think besides seeming like a softie, the shyness was a challenge. FH happened to be the cousin of Big Guy (whose nickname was Lumpy). That was the initial draw for me, I thought I might have an “in” with Lumpy. So FH and I spent until closing talking, drinking, etc. much to the chagrin of the ex-convict. He was really upset! I kind of feel bad for ignoring him but he could’ve joined our conversation… When it came closing time (which back then I belive was 2 am), FH & I went out to my car (parked on the street) and sat inside and chatted some more. We kissed some too but nothing beyond that. We sat out talking until 6 am when the sun came up! FH was the opposite of Lumpy, he was 6′ tall, 220 lbs., blonde hair, blue eyes, funny as hell and a great conversationalist like myself. ;-) I knew I had to get home so as I was getting ready to leave, FH handed me a small notepad and told me to write my name and number on it, I grabbed it and was going to until I realized what this meant. He’d been talking to me for the past 8-10 hrs. and had forgotten my name. That is one of my pet peeves! I expect people to remember my name (at least it used to be, I’ve gotten more forgiving over the years). I called him out on it and he got huffy and left. I thought that would be the end of it. Of course, he knew where I worked and pursued me relentlessly. One of his finest qualities is knowing a good thing when he sees it!
FH came in for lunch one day and we talked a bit and he asked me on an official date. He promised he would never forget my name again and luckily for him, he hasn’t! Our first date was to Summerfest (billed as the largest music festival in the world) in Milwaukee. After that we were hot and heavy and by mid-August he had asked me to marry him. We didn’t announce our engagement until Nov. 2nd at a belated Halloween party. We were fully committed to each other after only knowing each other 4 1/2 months, yet we waited until 7 years after meeting to marry. The long engagement was due to financial reasons and if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t wait. However, when we finally married, I was as sure as anyone in the world could be! I had no doubt what I was doing was what I wanted to do and he was who I wanted to be with. We had fallen in love early on but the kind of love that lasts is the love that grows over time. By our wedding day, our love had multiplied 7 fold. And today after 27 years, it is 700 fold.
Set the time machine for 1992 and you’ll find us on June 21st in Nashua, Iowa. In the middle of nowhere (all of Iowa) in the NE corner of the state, lies the Little Brown Church in the Vale. The church was built in 1864 and the song “Come to the Church in the Wildwood” (a hymn later performed by the Carter Family, Alabama and Charley Pride) was written about it. After the 1920′s, it brought thousands of visitors from all over to get married there. The day we got married, we saw several other couples there who had been wed on that exact day 50 & 60 years prior. FH had been traveling through Iowa for business and found it. He knew I would like it so I agreed (sight unseen). I had originally wanted to get married on the french island of Martinique. I had been there before on a cruise and thought it was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen! I even wrote to the embassy and got the paperwork. It was not to be since I needed medical documentation that I was a virgin and that was asking the impossible. In rare form, my groom planned the whole wedding! It was very small, just the 2 of us, my mom and our Husky/Malamute mix dog Nookie. We rented a Lincoln Town Car and drove from Sussex, WI to IA. We stayed overnight at the motel next to the church. Then got married on a Sunday and after pictures, drove home. We stopped for our wedding dinner at The Gobbler Supper Club halfway between Madison and Milwaukee. It was the coolest place ever with a revolving floor. Sadly, it went out of business the month after we were there! The main thing I remember about our wedding reception was that the waitress couldn’t figure out how to open the champagne so my groom had to do it. The following Monday we headed to the airport in Milwaukee to catch our Midwest Express flight to San Francisco for our weeklong honeymoon. We rented a convertible and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to the vineyards. It was heaven!
We get along about as good as any couple I’ve seen. We are compatible in most ways like food, movies, tv, dogs, travel, gardening, etc. We have enough in common to keep us companions forever. Of course we are 2 different sexes which means we still see the world differently and communicate in different ways. We have never broken up even once since the day we met. We have never slept in a different room or bed because we were mad. We fight like cats and dogs at times. We tease each other a lot and he humors me. I go along with his wishes as much as I can. He likes to surprise me and I like to wait on him. For his sake, I didn’t buy a huge outdoor stone with the following words etched on it: “We’re staying together for the sake of the dogs” even though I found it hilarious! He is too sarcastic for my tastes and I have a weird sense of humor. Although we BOTH love Family Guy. Right after we met, I wanted us to have a song that would be “ours” like couples do. We had to choose “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley. No, neither one of us is the jealous type but both loved Elvis and got a kick out of that song. Irony, people. My other song for us as a couple is Sonny & Cher’s “I got you, Babe”. I can’t be a babe in my own right so I married one! My hubby’s last name and also mine for the last 20 years is Babe. I’ve got to say I love it, it’s very cool.
What has allowed us to last 27 & 20 years together? We don’t quit on each other or the relationship and we don’t give up. We have been through a ton of good and plenty of bad stuff as well. Meaning: we don’t throw in the towel when our basement floods for the first or 12th time. Just like the rest of life, there’s going to be times when one or both of us are unhappy. We work on our marriage or wait it out. Eventually, we always come back to happiness and always together. A perfect example of compromise and our marriage is that my hubby was willing to give soap operas a try. He watched Santa Barbara & Sunset Beach with me and occasionally watches Bold & Beautiful and Young & Restless. To return the favor, I took a class in scuba diving and learned about football. I didn’t do this halfheartedly, I became a huge football fan and we’ve been able to add that to our list of things we enjoy together.
To conclude, I’d have to say for those of you who haven’t found your soulmates, you have to look where you wouldn’t normally look. At the guys who you wouldn’t normally be drawn to. You can build a wonderful life with someone who wants the same things in life as you do and loves you to the moon and back. You can’t always see that person unless you’re willing to give the unexpected a go. I have to end this because it’s sounding like dating/relationship advice. I’m no expert and people have to do what’s right for them. Some people are perfectly happy being single forever! I think everyone deserves what makes them happy, whatever that may be.