My parents just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. This is an accomplishment so monumental I’m not sure I can find the right words to honor it. All I can say is this, God knew what he was doing when he brought these two together.
They met when they were just kids. In 1934 his family took a summer vacation to Minnesota. 600 miles from Kansas City they came to a stop sign near Nisswa. At the intersection of Highway 371 and County Road 107 my grandfather saw a sign for Portview Resort on Lake Margaret. He turned onto that dirt road, drove a few more miles off the beaten path and the rest is history. I’m sure it was love at first sight for my Dad because even at 11 my Mom was very pretty.
Every summer after that, my Dad came back and nothing but WWII kept him away from my Mom. By 1941 he had joined the Marines, which didn’t exactly meet with Mom’s approval, but everybody was joining the service then so she knew it was inevitable. I think they saw each other once from 1941 to 1945 but they wrote lots of letters, handwritten on paper with stamps and mailed from far away places like New Zealand, Guam, Guadalcanal and Bouganville.
Dad spent his last few months as a Marine in Washington D.C. playing in the band and doing guard duty at Camp David which was known as Shangrila in those days. The rest of the time he was part of a malaria research project. The doctors at Bethesda gave him just 5 more years to live, which shows how much they know.
He was discharged in September of ’45 and immediately wanted to get married just like every other returning G.I. He was in such a hurry he even agreed to have the wedding in January in Minnesota when the temperature was -20 with 2′ of snow. Hardly anybody from his side of the family could make the trip so my Dad’s best man was some guy he didn’t even know. For their honeymoon they drove my Grandfather McClintick’s car (without a working heater) to Minneapolis for a weekend at the Radisson Hotel.
My Mom happily relocated from the frozen north to Kansas City that spring. Later that same year, she entered a contest for a free honeymoon trip to New Orleans and won. The movie Sentimental Journey had just premiered and the KC Star ran a promotion for any veteran and his new bride to enter by writing an essay. It probably didn’t hurt that my Grandfather Horst worked at the paper but we all believe she deserved it.
Now, 65 years later their own sentimental journey is still going strong and they have earned every bit of happiness they have received. 77 years is a long relationship by any measure but they were truly meant for each other. The most important lessons they taught me were about shared values, closeness and commitment. They love each other in a way that is almost impossible to find these days. They hold each other close through all of life’s trials and they take life as it comes. Their expectations are realistic and they share the credit for the blessings they receive. Most of all, they laugh with each other at every opportunity. They find joy in simple pleasures like grandchildren, bird watching and taking care of their cabin at the lake. Their marriage has lasted because their love for each other sustains them and keeps them going forward with a clear purpose. I think they are a great reminder to all of us to love one another, help one another and laugh with one another. Jean Paul Sartre explained it this way, “In love, one and one are one.”
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.