Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It came and went

My husband and I were married 43 years ago on August 27. The day came and went. We had planned to go out to a fancy restaurant, but neither of us felt well enough. Seems like some sort of flu bug has been plaguing us since late last week. It comes and goes. Well, on the 27th it came, so we didn't go (to the restaurant).

I had chosen Prima Vista, which is a restaurant in Price Hill, Cincinnati, Ohio, which has a fantastic view of the city, and the food is absolutely wonderful. We'll go there someday soon.

But coming up is our 50th anniversary -- of when we met. I found Alan's high school picture from that year. He looks so very, very young. He doesn't even look like a teenager, does he?

As I mentioned last month, we had about 6 months of enjoying each other's company before he and his family got on a boat and headed back to Kenya. The boat was scheduled to leave on August 4, but got delayed, so I was able to get one more day with him, because his folks had to come back down to the Philadelphia area to spend the night. Then they headed back to NY City on August 5 and sailed on the Robin Gray, a freighter. The trip took them through the eastern Caribbean over to the southern coast of Africa, then up the east coast of Africa to Mombasa, Kenya.
Well, after three years of letter writing, he returned to the USA, again in August, and we picked up where we left off. He had about a month to try to find some work so he'd have some cash for college. He found a job working for a contractor who was installing heaters in some HUD housing in Audubon Park, NJ. He came home (not to my house, but to the place where he was staying) each evening and was filthy from crawling in the crawl-space under each unit to get the heating ducts and units installed. But each evening, after dinner, we would take a walk or just sit on the porch talking, until he had to get back to where he was staying.
Around September 10 he headed off to Rutgers and that began three years of treks to New Brunswick. His first semester I had no car, and he had no car, so we had to get back and forth to see each other via bus. That trip took about two hours each way, and the buses were not frequent. He always found me someone to stay at Douglas College, so I could stay overnight and go home the next day.
One thing I remember during those early days of his time at Rutgers, was that every time the phone rang, I'd race down the stairs from my attic room to answer the ONE telephone we had in the house, hoping that it was Alan calling me. Those were the days when, yes, a home had only ONE telephone. Now, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have a phone in each room of the house. How did we live like that? He had to call me (reversing the charges) because he only had access to a pay telephone. No cell phones back then, either.
Christmas came in 1963 and I have to tell you, that was the best Christmas of my life. My husband (who was not yet my husband, nor were we engaged) gave me so many gifts. Oh, yeah, he got a new job in New Brunswick to get cash for college (his tuition, room, and board were paid for already) or was it cash for Christmas, by collecting the golf balls on a golf course. What a boring job! Anyway, back to Christmas. He bought me so many things.
You need to know that his dad had told him, before he left Kenya, that whatever gifts he gave me had to be something he could see me put on -- in other words, if it was clothing, it had to be something that could be put OVER my clothing, like a sweater or a jacket, or jewelry. So, he bought me a wonderful jacket, a beautiful sweater, a scarf, gloves, a purse, and he gave me some jewelry he had been saving that he purchased when he was in Israel earlier that year. Amazing. He's never done anything like that since -- I mean showered me with so many gifts.
At this point in our lives, we just buy what we want and tell each other, "This is what you're giving me for Christmas this year." How unromantic!
--to be continued --

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