A Tribute to My 45th Wedding Anniversary

Larry in the 1958 Chevy
Larry in the 1958 Chevy | Source

In the Beginning

As a tribute to my 45th Wedding Anniversary (Jan. 29, 2012) I decided to step into the way back machine and set the dial for the summer of 1963 - the year I first met my husband.

Looking at that summer, a 15 year old girl from Queens met a 19 year old boy from the country. It wasn't an unintentional meeting. Actually at the time the girl was spending her first full summer in the country. The girl, Mary (me), was not happy about it at first. Her father had been born in this little town in Ulster County and they had always spent vacations there but two weeks was not two full months! Now her father had bought a summer house and Mary, her mother, her grandmother, and her little brother were to spend the entire summer in this little country town. To a city girl with lots of friends this was not her idea of fun, it was more like torture.

Luckily at the beginning of the summer she attended a little church bazaar with her family and met one of the local boys. She wasn't to find out until later he was one of the most well-liked boys in the town. Actually he was the 'class clown' of this small town, but it was a good thing because he introduced her to so many people that in no time at all she had quite a circle of friends. Things were looking up, maybe this wouldn't be a boring summer after all.

One day, walking home for dinner, she saw a black car with this really good looking guy driving. Hmm, that was interesting she thought so the next day she walked home at the same time and saw the same black car with the same really good looking guy drive by again. She thought this was truly worth investigating. She soon found out the black car was a 1958 Chevy Impala and the really good looking guy was named Larry. He had several brothers one of whom was married. One of her so called friends said he wasn't sure if it was Larry or his brother that was married. Fortunately it turned out it was his brother. Larry was a Troy Donahue look-a-like. (For those of you who are too young to have ever heard of Troy Donahue, he was an actor with blond hair, blue eyes and a totally sexy way about him. Larry was like that too!)

So Mary made sure she walked home everyday at 4:30 to see that black Chevy and good looking Larry. After about two weeks of this she figured it was time to meet this guy. She asked one of her friends if he knew this Larry and could introduce them. He laughed and said, "yeah I suppose, especially since he asked me the same thing." Her teenage heart went pitter pat. A few days later the introduction took place. (He was as good looking close up as he was driving in his car.) He asked her if she'd like to go for a ride in that nice black Chevy. (Be still my heart and don't make a fool out of yourself was all she could think.) They drove around for a while making small talk and he finally asked her if she would like to go to the movies with him. She had to take a deep breath before answering because she didn't want to sound overeager!

Going to his friend's wedding.
Going to his friend's wedding. | Source

The First Date

They were going on their first real date to the movies. She would never forget the movie, "The Nutty Professor" with Jerry Lewis. She wasn't particularly thrilled with the movie but she was particularly thrilled to be there with Larry! They "hung out" the next week and then he asked her if she would like to attend his friend's wedding with him. Now she knew she was on the inside track! A wedding guest! Whoa this was big stuff. Fortunately she had brought a really nice dress she could wear to the wedding. Although this wasn't their first date because it was such a big deal she thought of it as a milestone in their relationship. (Remember, she's 15!) Not only that but she got to meet all of his friends...remember he's four years older so his friends are older too. She's just a high school student and Larry and his friends are all out of high school and working full time jobs! Not to worry, Mary made friends with Larry's friends too, not so much the girls but the boys.

As with all good things, summer came to a close. It seemed like a blink of the eye and Labor Day arrived signalling the end of summer. Mary was to go back to the city and Larry was to stay in the country. Funny, when Mary left the city to come to the country she cried because she thought her life was over, now returning to the city she cried because she thought her life was over! There were no choices here, she had to leave and leaving the country meant leaving Larry. They were only teenagers and life was not under their control. So, she headed back to the city leaving Larry in the country.

Here we are in May of 1964.
Here we are in May of 1964. | Source

A Growing Relationship

It's obvious this relationship didn't end (or I wouldn't be celebrating 45 years!). It wasn't always easy. The trip between that country home and the city was only a two and a half hour drive but with me being in school and him working it might as well have been an eight hour drive. The first winter apart was interesting. Though my heart was with him my life wasn't and I was after all only 15. I sent him letters that he didn't answer so I thought perhaps the summer was really over. I started to date other guys but my heart just wasn't in it. I decided to write and tell him how I felt and what I was doing. He wrote back immediately and asked if I wanted to "go steady." Of course, I thought, why else would I be writing this letter in the first place! So now we were really an item despite the distance between us.

Our second summer together was wonderful. It was the summer of '64 and I was now 16 and he was now 20. We spent every moment together that we possibly could. We knew now that we were in love. I had to finish school, which was never in doubt. We talked about what our future could be like but enjoyed the present. Things were heating up in Vietnam with US troops doubling and tripling in the early sixties. I had many friends who enlisted and was very concerned about my Larry. He told me not to worry, they'd never find him up in the country and we put it out of our heads.

We went everywhere together and did everything...drive in movies, swimming, boating, eating, partying...we even discussed religion and what kind of family we hoped to have...it was glorious. I got to know his family better and he got to know mine. No matter how much in love you are and how much you want time to stop, it doesn't. So, before we knew it it was Labor Day again and time for me to return to the city. This winter was different though. He called me and even drove down to visit a few times. I managed to get friends to drive me to the country to visit him once or twice too and convinced my father he needed to get away more so we could "go upstate." We were getting closer and closer despite the distance between our homes.

That winter was going much faster and I was so happy, but it wasn't meant to be easy for us. In late April Larry called to tell me Uncle Sam had found him. He was drafted and leaving for Fort Dix, New Jersey in May. Talk about things closing in on you, I thought the world was ending. It wasn't just the separation but the fear. I had already attended the funeral of a close friend who was killed in Viet Nam and couldn't bear the thought of something happening to Larry! I can't even begin to describe how I felt during that time. it was without a doubt the worst time of my life. I prayed God wouldn't take him away from me.


For brevity's sake I have left out all the little things he said and did that warmed my heart and made me laugh. The times he'd put his hand on my leg while he was driving and I'd quiver at his touch. The country charms and habits we couldn't do in the city, like driving down a deserted country road in the moonlight and turning off the headlights to let the moon guide our way. I can't write about all these things and more because there isn't enough space.

Fort Dix, New Jersey
Fort Dix, New Jersey | Source

Americans tend to get married more between June and October than during the rest of the year.
In 2005, August had the most marriages at about 235,000 or a rate of 9.3 per 1,000 people.
The previous year, July was the highest month at 246,000, or a rate of 9.9; this doubled the lowest month in 2004, January.
(http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsUS.shtml)

The Courtship and Wedding

While he was in basic training at Fort Dix I got my father to drive me down for a quick visit. It was so good to see him and he looked sooo good in his uniform! In the summer of 65 he finished basic training and came home on leave. Of course I was there. We went for a ride and he parked the car on the side of a lake and asked me to marry him. I said yes before a heart could even beat! So, I was 17 and he was 21 and we were engaged to be married! We planned to marry in August of 67.

The Viet Nam War wasn't letting up. He drove to my house in the city from Fort Dix and said he had orders to go to Germany. We cried and held each other and said good-bye. Two nights later he was back, this time he said his orders were for the Canal Zone - Panama Canal. We cried again and said good-bye and this time he did go to the Canal Zone. He was there for a total of 18 months. I wrote to him every day and he wrote back frequently ( most men don't usually do letters very well). He came home on leave in October of 66 and we decided we didn't want to wait until August to get married so we were married January 29, 1967. He was granted a short leave to come home and get married.

Our wedding day was a beautiful sunny day. Our honeymoon was brief and we spent it at Niagara Falls, but that's another story. When it was time for him to return to Panama, a blizzard hit NYC and he had to stay another three days.

That was 45 years ago and I have never regretted our decision to marry in January or any other time. We have had wonderful years together. Like most folks we've had good times and bad times but we always had each other. This tribute is to my lover, my friend and my husband of 45 years...I love you.

Our wedding dance
Our wedding dance | Source
Another wedding shot
Another wedding shot | Source

The Wedding Song

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Comments 45 comments

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Tillie...Maybe you'd better pour a cup of coffee, light one of those cigarettes and sit back. Besides wiping tears away, I am covered in goose bumps. We have casually mentioned our "similarities." I hope you're ready for this. When the LOVE of my life and I met, I was 18, he was 23. We fell madly in love and one night he......parked his car (a BLACK 1965 Chevy Impala!) by the LAKE and gave me a diamond. WE WERE MARRIED IN AUGUST OF 1967....when you and Larry had originally planned. We also had a BRIEF local Honeymoon in Ellicottville, NY. Uncle Sam interupted our love and our life too, when he was DRAFTED....and went to FORT DIX! I moved out there and lived in a 3-room apt. to be near him. Our first son was born at Walson Army Hospital at Fort Dix. Viet Nam was next as I lived with our baby back home with my Mom and Dad. Oh, I nearly forgot...my wedding gown AND veil was nearly IDENTICAL to yours. If there is anyway I can have someone help me scan one of those old photos, I will send it to you. I know you are having a difficult time with this story. I'm basically stunned, myself. Quite sadly for me, my story does not have the beautiful, happy ending yours does. 4 years after he returned from Viet Nam and 6 months after our 2nd son was born, my precious husband was killed in a car accident. The world as I knew it changed forever. Those goregous sons are now 43 and 41 with exquisite families of their own. Our eldest is the IMAGE of his Dad from head to toe, inside and out. Tille, I am ASTOUNDED at the parallel paths our lives have taken.

Wishing you and Larry a very Happy and Blessed 45th. Anniversary. What a fortunate couple you are. PEACE, my friend.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I was reading your comment and smiling until I got to the car accident. My heart truly goes out to you and now knowing this I admire you even more! Your inner beauty and sense of humor are even more astounding!! Yes, we definitely have many similarities; as my mother used to say we are "sisters of the skillet"(it was a radio show in the '30s)...how unreal that we really do have so much in common! I'm afraid if I write any more we'll find out that we have the same birthday or something :) The parallel is uncanny and how funny is life that we have met up here on HP? Thanks for the good wishes and believe I appreciate how fortunate I am. Be well my friend. God Bless.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Yes, Tilly....I "grew up" quickly, the most difficult way....but these are the mountains we are presented with sometimes that we either face and climb or crumble below. I had two of the most important reasons to buckle up and be a big girl...and just go forward and up, one painful step at a time. Life is precious and short, even shorter for some. We get back what we put into it, but there is no promise the journey will be easy all the way. I thought of a couple of things I didn't mention in my comment..my husband was also blonde, blue-eyed and sexy as hell. He did have that sultry-kind-of Troy Donahue look...Lee Majors, is who people said he looked like, mostly. Well, I'm an Aries, Tillie, (April 10th) & my husband was April 3rd....I think you're right that if we talked for any length of time, there would be more similarities that would further amaze us. And here we are...sister-authors on HP. What a funny world.....have a great day.


RebeccaWhitman profile image

RebeccaWhitman 4 years ago

What an amazing story! It makes me think of Nicholas Spark's The Notebook. I am glad you shared it, you have given me great encouragement: Love can survive great challenges and thrives with imperfect beginnings.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

What a nice tribute. Congratulations! Wishing you many, many more years of happiness together.


Ronnie 4 years ago

What a beautiful recap of that wonderful day, God Bless you both


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Effie we get closer and closer. Our birthdays aren't in April but the same month also - December; and both husbands movie star - look-a-likes to boot!

Rebecca thank you so much. Love can certainly survive great challenges, there was no space or time here to enter the many we dealt with.

Deborah thanks for the tribute and congrats.

Ronnie - thank you...you know what it was like, you were there.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

You and Larry share the month of December? Unbelieveable!


Kathleen Sheehan Helton 4 years ago

Beautiful and conrgatulations!!!!!! Waiting on the novel.

Thank you so much for sharing!!!!!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Kathleen...so much to tell it could be a novel!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Happy Anniversary!! Thank you for sharing your journey it was beautiful! Wishing you many more years of wedded bliss. You and fpherj had many similarities, very cool. I've been to Niagara Falls when a few times and I miss it since I moved down south. Voted UP and lovely:)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for reading and for the Anniversary wishes Sunshine. We've re-visited Niagara Falls too, when it wasn't too cold to actually see it!


Kathie hatfield 4 years ago

Happy Anniversary !!!! Love you both !!!!


tarajeyaram profile image

tarajeyaram 4 years ago from Wonderland

What a beautiful story Mary. I am in tears after reading this. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and beautiful. I have put this hub on My Favorite Hub for the Week: Jan 22.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I am truly honored Tara...thanks so very much. BTW my oldest daughter's name is Tara!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Beautiful story. Congratulations on 45 years of marriage.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, what a fantastic story of your life! it seems that you were meant to be together whatever happened, congrats on all these years, I am so happy you found the man of your dreams, you lucky thing! lol!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Happy Anniversary! And thank you for sharing your love story with us. It is very sweet.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks moonlake, glad you enjoyed my story.

Nell, I am so lucky to have Larry in my life all these years and I know it!

You're welcome Millionaire and thanks for the anniversary wishes.


jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 4 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

I chose this hub as one of my top 10 hubs for my tribute to 100 followers. This is an awesome personal milestone. I think you are very sweet in sharing this with HP. Your husband must be very lucky. I think you both are. Thank you for sharing a beautiful love story. Though it was tough; you showed that love can concur all. Thank you.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Wow! Thanks for the honor of including me in your top 10 hubs...who knew my little love story would be such a hit. Yes, we are both very lucky and love has always seen us through.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

Congratulations! How refreshing to read about a lifelong love story. You two are a beautiful couple. I so enjoyed your wonderful telling of your loving courtship.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks James. I can still remember the night before the wedding wondering if I was doing the right thing...thankfully I was.


Riverfish24 profile image

Riverfish24 4 years ago from United States

Enjoyed reading this story so much. Congratulations on 45 years, so nice to know of long loving marriages. Your story is why I love books from that era!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Riverfish...it was a great era and its been a great life!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Mary, great story made all the better by your personal photos - belated congrats!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Jools, it's been a great ride and we're still going! Your belated congrats are still appreciated.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

In these of fickle relationships and failed marriages it is so wonderful to read a success story. Not only that, it is a sweet little romantic opener that stood the test of time and space, wars and woes, and produced a long and splendid partnership of mutual love. Your 45 years is no mean feat, Mary . This truly romantic tribute with those nostalgic photographs show how beautiful you both are in and out. It's made me start the day with a smile on my face and sun in my heart! Thank you.i


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

So glad I could put a smile on your face and sun in your heart. I've had sun in my heart for 45 years and am so grateful for the love we share. I know you are on the road to a long and happy relationship as well!


Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

This was such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And I loved the pictures. They really added to the story itself. So glad your love story has a happy ending.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Karen. This hub was written a year ago...in a couple of weeks we will celebrate our 46th Anniversary.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

Hi Mary... what a beautiful hub and the pictures speak volumes of the time and the love. Congratulations... very well written.

Hugs from Canada


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Rolly! I guess I could say life wrote it for me ;) Hugs right back at ya.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

This is a most awesome tribute and such a lovely trip down memory lane - is it now 46 years? I could hear Barbara Striesand's The Way we were.

My mum and dad were robbed of their 50th year married when my dad passed away in 1992 but my mum had 12 wonderful years after when I looked after her before she died in 2004.

My dad met my mum during World War II when he was a Canadian soldier and he returned to his hometown of Stirling, Scotland (he left there when he was 2) on leave from his regiment in England and met my mum who lived there and they had a courtship during the war years.

After the war was over my mum came over to Canada on the historic Queen Mary as a war bride to Hamilton, Ontario where my dad was living . Quite a story , just like this epic story in your own life.

Sending you warm wishes from a cold but sunny morning at lake erie time ontario canada 11:43am


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Oh epi, my story pales in comparison to your parents' ... what a tale of love they had ... what if he hadn't gone back to Scotland, what if he hadn't met your Mum....and on and on. Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing.

Yes, it is 46 this year. Bless you. Stay warm.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Mary, This wonderful, romantic story of your early life, your courtship and ultimate marriage to the man of your dreams was delightfully nostalgic. I found myself comparing the dates and years and we weren't that far apart. We share a lot of common hurdles from those days. I met my first love at 16, got engaged at 17 and married at 18 to a serviceman who was 5 years older than me. I was the one who drove the 59 Chevy Impala convertible (red) though. He had a broken down Corvair.

I adored the pictures of the two of you and the hair-dos and styles of the time are so familiar. What a wonderful story of happiness and love despite difficulties at the beginning and I'm sure, along the way as well. Congratulations on 45 (now 46) years of blissful marriage. I just passed my 24th year anniversary on the 7th of January with the most wonderful man on the planet. He has to be to put up with me. LOL


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I have a feeling, Peg, that man knows how lucky he is. Congrats on your 24th! Nice to know we share so much in our backgrounds! It is fun to look back and see what we used to look like ;) Yes, the end of this month it will be 46 years.

BTW I'm waiting for Chapter 9!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

What a beautiful story to look back on and to share with children and grandchildren! Voted up and BAI!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Au fait, I have been so blessed. Appreciate your votes.


Thief12 profile image

Thief12 2 years ago from Puerto Rico

Congrats! I'm en route to my 8th married year, but I hope I can write a similar hub in 37 years.

Voted Up and Beautiful.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Congratulations on another year of married bliss, Mary. All the best to you and your hubby. I enjoyed reading this one again.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

How precious....wonderful, blessed....more tears in my eyes....lump in my throat. I have such true joy for you. I re-read all of this...comments included. Still remain stunned at our parallel lives.........kindred spirits, comes to mind.

Hugs and kisses and much love sent to you and Larry......Peace, Paula


jhamann profile image

jhamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

Congratulations on 45 years of marriage, this is no easy task. My wife and I had to work hard at our nine years. Also congratulations on an incredible hub, so well written and organized. Jamie


oldiesmusic profile image

oldiesmusic 2 years ago from United States

Congratulations! May this be an inspiration to the just-married young couples, I hope that they will stay long as you do guys. Marriage is a responsibility but is also a bliss and a joy. :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

I hope you can too Thief! Marriage isn't always easy but as long as you love each other it will last!

Thanks Peg. I don't normally share my own hubs but thought I would for my anniversary.

Paula, I re-read too and re-read your comment as well. Your love is precious to me GF and I truly appreciate your hugs and kisses. As we both know your life certainly hasn't been a bed of roses but you have come through a truly remarkable lady. Remember girl, "Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies." -

Aristotle

True Jamie, there are times you wonder how you got here but most you're glad you did ;) Right now I'm glad you enjoyed my hub. Kind of hard to condense 45 years into a hub! (This year its 47.)

So right oldiesmusic. It isn't always easy but the end result is worth all the work you put into it.

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