No, not our ages. We wish! Sort of. No, it was 33 years ago today that Lulu and I got married. I remember it well.
cheap thrifty even back then. Of course, back then we had more reason to be since we were living on my G.I. Bill check and what money Lulu brought in from cooking at the Mill Race Restaurant in Eugene. Our wedding rings were made by a local hippie jeweler. They were (and still are) simple bands made of sterling silver. I think Lulu’s cost about $25.00 and mine was about $35.00. No way were we about to shell out huge bucks for gold and diamonds. We don’t even particularly like jewelry. We’re still amazed at how much money people spend on wedding rings. Even to the point of entering their married lives in debt for something as useless as a piece of jewelry. The thing is just a symbol after all. So far, sterling silver seems to have worked as well or better than the gold, diamonds, platinum, etc. worn by many other couples we’ve known.
Lulu’s wedding dress was an off-the-rack dress (not necessarily a wedding dress) from K-Mart and my suit was a 3-piece corduroy special from JC Penney’s. No sense spending big bucks on clothes we would likely never wear again. Probably had well under $100 invested in our entire wedding wardrobe.
The ceremony was held in Lulu’s family’s backyard. Our friend Fredeye (readers of this blog’s ‘comments’ section know him as “anonymous”) provided all the flowers and floral arrangements. A family friend took all the photos. The food was provided at cost by the kitchen staff at Lewis-Clark State College where Lulu’s mom, Audrey was working at the time. Music was provided by Lulu’s brother Jeff strumming on his guitar. The ceremony was performed by a local real estate agent who was also a preacher. If I remember right, I paid him something like $25 which I thought at the time was way out of line. Family and friends came to Lewiston, Idaho from miles away and an excellent time was had by all. Maybe it was good juju that we wanted our wedding to be more of a party than a solemn affair.
Our honeymoon was non-existent. We got married on July 3 and I had to report for work in Rock Springs, Wyoming, which had recently been labelled by CBS’ “60 Minutes” as the “Most Corrupt City In The Nation”, on July 6. So, where other newlyweds jet off to Belize or Hawaii or some such exotic locale, we piled into our 1963 VW bug that was so full of wedding presents that the seat backs had to be tipped forward enough to make the drive REALLY uncomfortable, and headed down the hot dusty road to Wyoming.
Since then we’ve lived exclusively in fixer-upper houses and driven mostly beater cars and trucks. But, by doing so we managed to keep ourselves reasonably debt-free, something that paid off in the long run by allowing us to retire at the earliest possible time. We never let a year go by without taking some kind of vacation as a family though, even if it was just a road trip to California to visit relatives (which it usually was). We still camped along the way and took in at least a few of the various roadside attractions along Highway 101. Lucas and Cody both remember those trips fondly and have said at one time or another that they want to be sure and expose their kids to the same kinds of experiences. Can’t ask for more than that.
Thirty three years seems like a long time to be married until I compare it to my parents who will have been married sixty three years next month. But still, thirty three years is nothing to sneeze at.
Lulu and I met when she was about 15 and still in High School and I was a young swabby about halfway through my enlistment in the Navy. She went to school with my brother, Rod, who showed her a picture of me and said something like, “This is my brother. I think you’d like him.” This is not to say we were sweethearts from then on. That would have been unseemly. She was only 15 after all. But I visited her and her family from time to time when I was home on leave. We connected again, this time for good, when she was a sophomore at U of O and I was, uh, “between gigs” and hitchhiking my way down the Oregon and California coast. This would have been the Fall of 1975. A little over a year and a half later, we were hitched.
It’s been mighty smooth sailing so far. We’ve never really had any “rough patches”. We’ve always done pretty much everything together because we like to and because we always thought that that’s what married people are ‘supposed’ to do. Maybe that’s why we can get along in a space the size of a large camper.
Well, like our 34 year old boat, our 33 year old sterling silver rings seem to be still doing as good a job today as they did when they were new. Here’s to at least 33 more years. Another 33 after that would also be a nice touch.
PS: yes, guys, I know exactly how lucky I was to marry someone who is not only willing to accompany me on this crazy dream of mine but has actually adopted it as her own dream as well. I’ve talked to a lot of men in a lot of marinas and I know that this is, indeed, a very rare gift.
PPS: I woke up today to a very sweet note that Lulu wrote last night and left on the table for me to find this morning since I get up first. In it she points out that together we’re invincible. Couldn’t have said it better myself