If my parents were still alive, they’d be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary today. They made it to 55. Daddy died in 1999, Mother in 2004. I’m glad they lived long enough for us to throw them a big, ol' 50th Anniversary party. They deserved it.
They met while serving in the Navy in Jacksonville, Florida. Yup. During the war. (And everyone knows when I say “the war,” I mean WWII. Guess that generational assumption will die off someday.) Daddy managed to escaped the farm in Henrietta, Tennessee, and Mother, an Atlanta native, was talked into joining the WAVES by my Uncle Frank. So I guess we have him to thank for all of this (God rest his soul).
I’m not sure when they met or how long they dated before making the fateful decision to marry. My mother’s mother was still catatonic about one of her girls leaving the bosom of the family for life in the Navy. I understand she took to her bed for several days when she got the news about Mother and Daddy’s wedding. My grandmother liked to control situations, and the marriage was not of her doing.
So. February 10, 1944, Jacksonville, Florida. And here’s the picture (Daddy and Mother on the left). Daddy was 23 and mother 27. Lovin' that hat, Daddy! Their best friends, Tommy and Mary Boyd, acted as witnesses. A few months later, Mother got an Honorable Discharge from the Navy because she was pregnant with my brother Bill. And no, they didn’t have to get married – Bro was born November 21, 1944 (you do the math).
Newly-married daughter Kate commented that she looked to her grandparents as a model for marriage. I wish she’d known them longer, before age took its toll on both, because they became kind of crotchety in their later years. But, boy, they were solid as a rock for each other all the way through. Daddy was low-key and patient, though when he’d reached the end of his rope, he could blow (but nothing dangerous). Mother was the more outgoing type. I suspect Daddy let her have her way, up to a point. It worked for them. At any rate, if they ever reached a danger zone in the marriage, I certainly wasn’t aware of it. They were just meant to be.
Happy Anniversary, you two crazy sailors! I know you’re celebrating in high Heaven. Anchors Aweigh!