Friday, February 13, 2009

20 years....the post I put all my biz-niss out there.

Happy Valentines Day everyone!! Guess what else today is??? It is my 20th wedding anniversary.

20 years.


This one has me looking back like none of the others have. I've been looking at my hubby all week long telling him that 20 years is a long time. A really really long time. Cause people it really is!!! I'm sitting here this morning having coffee and remembering the day we got married. When I was younger and still played with dolls or barbies they were always mommies. Always married mommies. My barbies had the best weddings. I used to daydream about how my wedding would be. The reality of that day was somewhat different from all of my fantasies.
I met my husband when I was in 10th grade...he was in 9th. He was very cool and just a little dangerous. He always smelled wonderful. When he would walk down the hallways with one hand in his pocket and a hat on his head my heart would pitter patter. I loved him right away. There was no question for me that he was the one. He had a couple of questions but I knew if I held on tight he would eventually see the light. It was never an easy dating relationship. I don't think, back then, that an interracial romance ever was and ours was no exception. Let me just say that it was hmmmmmmmm it was hard. But I loved him.
When I was almost finished with my Senior year of High School my dad got orders for us to move to Sicily. It was devastating. The hubby still had a year to go. There was nothing for me to do but move. I still remember how my stomach felt the night we looked at each other and said goodbye. I didn't cry. I didn't even talk much for about three days after that. I was so lost and so very sad.
We kept in touch while I was in Sicily and it was easy because I got a job as an operator and the people I worked with would let me call him once a week. We would talk for about a half an hour. I wrote to him every day. He had more trouble putting words onto paper. We planned to get back together after his graduation. I saved every penny I made. Then in November of 87' I got cold feet. I decided to stay in Sicily. I called him and let him know that maybe I was putting more into this thing then he was and wasn't sure I wanted the rest of my life to be that way. We didn't talk for quite a while after that. Then he called me. It had been a couple of months.

Feelings are such a powerful thing but never more so then with your very first love. We talked. We talked some more. Then we made plans to see each other again. By this time I was knee deep into the process of joining the military. I was just waiting for them to call me and let me know what day I would leave. It was decided that it would be easier for me to get into the military if I was back in the States so I went to stay with my grandparents in Illinois. I contacted a recruiter the day after I got back. He started the paper process. In the meantime my hubby and I talked some more on the phone. I got a job working at a Baskin Robbins three miles from my grandparents house and would ride my bike there and back every day. I saved every paycheck. I didn't want to be 40 years old and wonder what if he was the great love of my life and I let it all go so we made plans to be together after he graduated. Can you imagine the conversation I had with my parents...then my grandparents.
But I was nothing if not determined so on a plane I put myself. I said goodbye to him June 6th 1987 and we said hello again on June 6th 1988. A year to the day. His mom picked me up from the airport and drove me to their house as he had exams that day. When I walked in he came around the corner. Then we just held each other. Breathing each other in. I still remember what he smelled like. It was familiar and right.
My plans for joining the Air Force were let go and his plans to join the Air Force were now on the front burner. He got with a recruiter (by this time it is the end of Jan) and a week after his meeting we get a call that he is to be on a plane March 3rd. He is going to basic training. My parents were still in Sicily so a big wedding was out. I had two weeks. Sigh. Oh, did I mention we had just a little under $100 dollars to our name?? Vegas here we come.
Our wedding day started off with a long list of things I wanted to do to get myself all ready for the big day. I had a borrowed dress from my best friend. The hubby rented a car as we had none. The guy at the rental company gave us a huge deal as a wedding present. My soon to be mother in law showed up at our tiny one bedroom apt bright and early. The hubby's two young brothers in tow. She sat at my dining room table and cried the whole day. Fun. After 5 hours of this I sat in the bathtub and cried myself. I wondered if should just chuck the whole thing and go back home. This was nothing like I had planned. The hubby talked me off of the ledge and we drove the 5 hours to Vegas. We got there at 11:30 and found out that we didn't even have the money to get married in a chapel of love. We parked the car, ran to the courthouse, paid $25 for a license and then were told we had 10 minutes to run two block to the Justice of the Peace before they close........and the JP would stay closed all of the next day as it was Valentines day. Who knew?? The JP closes on Valentines day IN VEGAS.

We looked at each other and ran. I am sure the guy at the license desk gave us three months tops to stay married as were both 19 but looked 12. Why do I think this?? Must be the smirk he gave us as he filled out our paperwork.
We get to the JPs office. He was lovely. He was about 100 and had a leeeeetle problem called crabbiness. I think after all of the ceremonies he had performed he had gotten a little cynical and marrying two 19 year olds who looked 12 was low on his list of things he found enjoyable. My hubby had to talk him into marrying us as it was now 11:59. There was one couple ahead of us so he led us to the waiting area.
When it was our turn he called us into his office and we gave him the ring. He wanted the hubby's wedding ring but as we had no money we were only able to get one...and that was for me. He began to get a little more crabby. He yelled out the door for our witness to come in and witness us. Our witness was 800 years old and hobbled in on a cane....took a look at us.....said okay....hobbled back out. 5 minutes later we were married. February 14th. Valentines day. We walked down the street and found out that Vegas is THE PLACE to go if you have $10 in your pocket and are hungry. I still remember what I had to eat. Chicken with green beans and a very large glass of milk. :)

Total cost of our wedding was $89.

I look back on twenty years with this man. I will be 40 in a couple of weeks. There aren't enough words to say that yes, I made the right choice. He was and is the greatest love of my life. I am more glad then I can tell you that I'm able to look back and know this. He knows this as well and will remember so when I tell him. :)

To my love: Thank you for these wonderful years. I'm looking forward to the next 20.


Mary Johnson said...

Congratulations! Keith and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary in April too and I'm looking forward to the next 20!

Jenna said...

Congrats to you and your Honey!! Have a happy Valentine's/Anniversary!!

Jeanne said...

Happy Anniversary to you both, Dawn! This sweet saga makes me smile. True love ...
Jeanne :)

Stephanie D said...

Awww, what a sweet story! Congratulations and a smirk right back to the clerk!

Leigh said...

That is such a sweet story! Something that I'm sure your kids love hearing. Happy Day to you both!

Jodi said...

Wow! That is quite the wedding story! :)

Congrats to both of you! 20 years is amazing!

Anonymous said...

I cried! Such a sweet story, maybe for your 25th you can renew your vows and have the wedding you dreamed about! The best part is that your kiddos will be there!

QuiltinLibraryLady said...

Hey, Congratulations & Happy Anniversary!! That's a lovely story. It's not everyone who knows "the one" at that age.

Sweet P said...

Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful story! Here's to 20 more years.

blue hose said...

Happy Anniversary - you guys are definitely made for each other. Our wedding story is no where near as exciting, but I hope it's just as sweet when we hit 20 years.

Glenn said...

From across the globe, I say Happy Valentine's Day as well as Happy Anniversary. I am positive that there will be many more. Pass along to the Wild Hog, that we still need to take our ride.

Jeri is said...

It doesn't matter how much you spend on the wedding, what matters are the two hearts going into the marriage, and obviously these were the two hearts meant to be together. Congratulations on your twenty years!

My Thanh said...

What a great story! Congrats!

Chocolate Cat said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it with us. Just proves that if you love each other enough you can do anything. Wonder if the couples spending $40000 on a wedding (latest research!!) are any happier!