My husband and I are celebrating thirty-five years of marriage today. It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true.
We met in High School. Our first date was on May 12, 1978. Things progressed quickly, and we ended up walking down the aisle on October 27, 1979. At the time of our marriage we were seventeen and nineteen years old. Our child was born the following February. We consider ourselves very lucky that we weren’t given the advice that many young couples of today receive from certain “health care professionals.” We were young, stupid kids. Who knows what would have happened if we’d been given the wrong advice, and perhaps taken it? We certainly wouldn’t be as happy as we are right now, and the world would be missing three other human beings.
The following song, Bruce Springsteen’s The River, is a bit like what we lived. We did walk down the aisle, and my husband never had a union card, but most of the rest of it is spot on, including episodes of sorrow as we struggled during the early years. We, like the subjects of the song, dealt with a poor job market in a stagnant economy. We had one car, which broke down continually. Our life wasn’t exactly easy, but still, it was ours.
The fact that we’re still together proves the exception to the rule that people who marry young are destined for divorce. There are always exceptions. Such things depend on the people involved in any given situation, not societal “rules.” If something is worth having, it’s worth working for. This includes marriage and raising a family.
We began our married life with help from our parents. We lived next door to my parents, in a small apartment, built by my father, who was also an exception. Though raised on a farm where he worked from boyhood, sometimes skipping school to stay at home and work, he graduated High School, served our country, and raised a family, all while building. No one taught him how to construct homes and other buildings, unless it was his own father.
My PopPop hailed from the Abbruzzi region of Central Italy. He was a poor man who came through Ellis Island in 1907 to start a new life in America. As far as I know, nobody taught him how to build either. He simply did it. So did my father.
The little one bedroom barn like structure that my father transformed into an apartment has grown over the years. It was transformed into the home where we still reside. My father and husband were the ones who did the work.
This is the little girl who was born four months after our marriage. My husband adored her. He worked in a fiberglass factory. His clothes were covered in fiberglass at the end of the day. Though the work was hard, he was never too tired to spend time with his little girl each evening. He played with her and read her stories every night. During the first year of our marriage, we couldn’t afford to have a phone installed, but our child had everything she needed.
Eventually, my husband went back to school. He became an electrician, and things got better for us. We had another child, a boy, who grew up and joined the US Air Force. He’s a good man, who recently became engaged to a lovely young woman.
As for the little girl pictured above, she’s a married mother of two. She’s also a registered nurse. We play with our grandchildren now.
Who would have thought that two kids from an area of Southern Chester County Pennsylvania–known in those days as “the boonies”–could marry as teens and end up with such a life? I’m pretty sure I know who. It was God. Things happen for a reason.
Never let anyone put you in a box. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things, with help from family, friends and God.