Forty-six years ago tomorrow, I began a new life. It was the Viet Nam era. I was not quite eighteen. And my fiancé was in the U.S. Army. So, like many young couples of that time, we got married. Three weeks later, my brand new husband left me—under military order.
We were lucky; they sent him to Germany, not Viet Nam. And I found myself caught between two worlds. I was married, but I had no husband. I was still a teen, but I no longer fit in with my old friends. I still lived with my parents. I had no car—in fact, I’d not yet learned to drive—so I got a job caring for a neighbor’s children while she worked.
I no longer thought about going to art school. I dreamed only of moving to Germany to be with my husband. A few months later, that became reality. In a country nearly 5,000 miles from my hometown, I set up my first household—a two-room apartment on the ground floor, below our German landlord. By the time our first son was born, we’d moved to three rooms on the third floor, above our landlord.
The next year, I moved back to Indiana, just in time to see the first man walk on the moon. My husband returned a couple of months later for a brief leave before being shipped off to Texas. One year later, just after the end of our army days, our second son was born. We increased our family with two more sons in the next six years. We two had become six.
Have all these forty-six years of marriage been blissful? Of course not. We’re human. We’re opposites in many ways; clashes are inevitable. But we also complement each other. And we’re both too stubborn to give up. We grew into adulthood together. We grew into friendship. We love each other in the true sense of the word. We have what matters most.
Happy anniversary to us!