We’re getting ready to travel back in time, wrinkles and all.
On April 12, Marshall and I will be celebrating 40 years of wedded bliss. This is a milestone anniversary and for a number of reasons, one we thought would never happen. More on that in a minute.
We wanted to celebrate with a memorable vacation so we tossed around some great possibilities: a Baltic Cruise; A week in Paris, maybe even a visit to the Great Wall
We’re not doing any of these.
Instead we are going back to the scene of the crime – the place we married all those years ago – Belle Vernon, PA.
Rewind 40 years.
We were both attending a photography school in Miami. I had a scholarship for the first six months, which would give me a certificate in Photojournalism. The entire course was 21 months and in the end you got a diploma in Professional Photography. I turned down a four year scholarship at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York (run by Eastman Kodak) in favor of a tiny, unaccredited school in South Florida. My reasons were simple: I never remembered being warm in Pennsylvania and I wasn’t about to venture further north. Miami was warm.
I moved to Miami in September of 1974. It was my first time away from home. About a hundred people attended the school and only three were girls. I was described as very businesslike and that’s why I was there. I wanted to open my own studio.
From the very first day, one guy caught my eye. He was funny and cute and my complete opposite in every way, yet I recall telling a friend that I knew that if I ever got him to go out with me, he would fall hopelessly in love. I hinted to him several times and got nowhere. Finally, I bought two tickets to the Edward Westin Exhibit in Fort Lauderdale and asked if he wanted to go.
That was on November 28, 1974. Neither of us had enough money to sneeze at, so most of our subsequent dates consisted of taking pictures.
It was New Year’s Eve and we were sitting at Haulover Beach in Miami ushering in the New Year, when he asked what I was doing after the six months ended. I told him my parents couldn’t afford the high tuition and I was afraid I was going to have to move home.
That’s when things got interesting.
He said he never planned to marry, but I seemed like a nice person so if I liked, we could get married and use his GI bill to help me finish school, then divorce after 15 months.
I had never done anything bad in my life. What he was proposing, pun intended, was not really legal. He was doing me a favor. I only knew him a few months and he seemed pretty nice too. I said yes.
I knew my parents were only going to give me one wedding and I wanted it to be a good one. We had a wonderful wedding with good friends and family and not one of them knew our little secret.
When the 15 months ended, I knew I would have to leave if he wanted me to because that was the promise. He never mentioned it and the rest, as they say is history. I’ve often joked that he failed to exercise his option and now he’s stuck with me for life.
As business propositions go, this one was successful because we each married our best friend.
In the coming weeks and months, I hope you will come along as we revisit some of our more memorable travel haunts and follow as we plan to make the most of the big 4-0!