On June 19, 1965 two kids who were 19 and 20 got married and moved into an apartment that was the bottom floor of an old house. Neither one of them had ever cooked a meal, done laundry, or cleaned a toilet or bathtub. They had never written a check — she had never even had her own bank account.
She worked as a secretary at a large insurance company and made $260 a month. He was a bricklayer and made about $400 a month. Their rent was $89 a month, and in a big week, they spent $20 on groceries. She ate lunch at the company-subsidized cafeteria where a full meal with drink and dessert (young metabolism allowed for that then) cost 25 cents (cheap, even then). He carried the same lunch every day: three lunch meat sandwiches with mustard, a can of shoe string potatoes and a store-bought dessert like cookies or a Twinkie. Neither one of them liked coffee. Their drink of choice was milk.
His parents gave them a kitchen table and chairs as a wedding gift. He sold his Corvette (replaced by a much more practical used, 2-door Pontiac Bonneville) so that they could buy bedroom and living room furniture. He said later that he never liked the floral living room chairs they bought from Sears (which he helped pick out!). No surprise though, since probably every time he looked at them he thought of the loss of his super-cool black 1962 Corvette convertible with a red interior! She thought the furniture was wonderful and luckily didn’t find out he didn’t agree until many years later!
Two products that had just hit the market heavily influenced the gifts they received — teflon and corning ware. This was before the day of registering for every little thing. The one thing they did register for was Lennox china, which could only be purchased at a jewelry store downtown. Now, 43 years later, they still don’t have all the pieces to that set, and can count on two hands the number of times that china has been used.
In the next two years they did alot of growing up, and learned to do many “adult” things like keeping a checkbook, but also had memorable, fun times like taking judo lessons. They learned to cook a little and found out that keeping your living space clean is harder than it looks. But one thing they didn’t learn was to do laundry. For those two years, Mama did their laundry every week and returned it to them neatly folded and stacked in brown paper bags.
Then, they found out they were going to have a baby, and their life as “adults” really got under way. When they told Mama she said, “Great. I’m happy for you. Now, get a washing machine. I don’t do diapers.”
They’ve always said that if they’d known she would say that, they might never have had children!
It’s been a great 43 years.
Happy Anniversary, Husband of Mine, from the president of your “fan club.”