In 1947 an 18 year-old girl named Dot and an (almost) 21 year-old guy named George tied the knot. He having recently completed his stint with the Navy in World War II and she fresh off the farm, these two kids met in August of 1946 and were married the following spring. For him it was love at first sight. For her it took a little convincing but not too much.
Sixty-nine years, four children, seven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren (with an eleventh on the way) later, my parents are celebrating their wedding anniversary. And their love endures.
In an ever-changing world they have been a constant in my life. They have shared good times and bad. They have laughed and cried together. They have worked hard and played even harder. And their love endures.
Their marriage has survived 12 U.S presidents, 7 popes, the Korean War, Frank Sinatra, the building and demolition of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War, Elvis Presley, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy Assassination, the Vietnam War, the Tonight Show, the political turbulence and racial unrest of the 1960’s, the Beatles, the Moon Landing, the “Me Decade” of the 1970’s, disco music, the Watergate Scandal, the Aids epidemic, Reaganomics, the technological advances of the 1990’s, Madonna and Michael Jackson, the Oklahoma City bombing, Oprah Winfrey, the 2000 millennium, Nancy Grace and Doctor Phil, hip-hop, 9-11, American Idol, gay marriage, iPhones, iPads and cars that can parallel park themselves. And their love endures.
I am blessed to be equal parts of both of them. I’d like to think that I’m the best parts of both of them. I know that I have Dad’s ears and chin and forehead and well, pretty much everything else. But the important parts are less about physical attributes and genetics and more about what has been imparted. Mom taught me how to pray. Dad taught me how to tell a good joke. Mom taught me the importance of cleanliness. Dad taught me the importance of family. Mom taught me how to do math in my head. Dad taught me how to build and fix things (and how to cuss when things don’t build or fix easily). Mom taught me that “early risers” get to enjoy the best part of the day. Dad taught me that watching old movies late at night can be just as rewarding. They both taught me how to love.
And Dad gave me the best advice ever on my wedding day. “When you have a fight, and you will, always be the first one to say you’re sorry. It won’t matter if she’s wrong and you’re right – just say you’re sorry. It’ll be the truth, too. Because you’ll be sorry that you fought.” I’ve never forgotten Dad’s words.
Having raised my own family and watching my grandkids growing up, I realize how important family is to me. I also know that the legacy of love and devotion of Dot and George will live on in generations yet to come.
Because their love endures.