True Love Is Forever Strong
True Love Is Forever Strong
Christmas Day in 1965, I met the most wonderful guy that has been my husband since 1967. I am not a writer but this is my story of when we met and how our true love is forever strong.
In the fall of 1965, at the age of sixteen, my mind was full of possibilities for my future. But none were as wonderful as the one life had in store for me.
My friend from high school was dating and thought I should connect with her boyfriend’s brother, who had just returned from a tour of duty with the Army in Vietnam. At the time, it wasn’t on my agenda, but my friend was relentless. I finally gave in and agreed to speak with him over the phone. We exchanged our phone numbers and that is how our love story began.
Shortly after Thanksgiving we began our telephone romance. With the first call, I knew I had to meet this guy. His voice was so soft and calming, that I felt immediately at ease. I didn’t dare ask him out, and was afraid he wouldn’t ask me. I felt that perhaps this would only be a short-lived encounter through telephone conversations. Apparently, he felt the connection as well, and as our conversations continued jointly we made our first date. I said “I would like to meet you” and he replied, “We could meet on Christmas Day and go to a movie, do you know what is playing?” With wings on my feet, I went to get the newspaper to look over the listings, all the time thinking of our first meeting. When I came back to the phone, I told him that I would be at my grandparents in the city that day, and would love to go to the movies with him. I told him the movie, “That Darn Cat” was playing at 2:30pm, and with that he said, “All right, it’s a date! I’ll have my Aunt pick you up and take us to the theater. See you Christmas day!” After I hung up I was a bundle of emotions, but knew I was very excited for Christmas Day to arrive.
We talked a few more times during that time, and the anticipation of “our first date” rose with each conversation. Finally, Christmas morning was here! Once again, my emotions were all over the place. I was excited for certain, but a little afraid as well. I was counting the minutes until 2:00. As I looked out the window, my heart sunk. How could this happen? Terrible weather! It was pouring down freezing rain! My thoughts raced, “What if he wants to change his mind? I better call him. I tried, but there was no answer. I tried again, and still no answer. Then the floor fell out from under me. My Dad said, “We have to leave to get to your grandparents in time for dinner.” Oh no! What should I do now? (Cell phones weren’t an option) and once I left for my grandparents, there would be no way for us to reach each other. Just as we were about to walk out of the door, the phone rang, I ran to answer it. It was Rich! He was at his grandparents and he was calling to ask me the same question, “Should we wait for another day?” We both decided that we would keep our date, and go to the movies as we had originally planned.
We made it to my grandparents, and ate Christmas dinner. My excitement grew, as the clock ticked closer to two o’clock. Finally, it was five minutes to two. I made sure my coat was ready to slip into quickly. Then it happened, “Beep!” He was here! I had to go! , , , , , , , , , , , “HOLD IT, YOUNG LADY”, my father roared. “You’re not going anywhere until he comes to the door!” “Dad!” I exclaimed, “He doesn’t know the house, if he leaves, it will be your fault! His Aunt will drive away for sure!” “Oh Dad, if I don’t see him, I……” Then it happened, the knock on the door! “There! He came to the door, now may I go?” I asked my Dad. “Aren’t you going to bring him in and introduce us to him?” piped up my older sister. “That’s all right”, my Mother said, “You can bring him in when you get back. Have a good time.”
As I walked down the stairs, I was trembling with apprehension and excitement and all sorts of thoughts racing through my mind. “Will he like me?” “What if he turns and runs away, when I open the door?” I reached the door, took a deep breath, and said to myself, “here goes”. “OH MY GOSH, is this really him???” I said to myself. I couldn’t get over how handsome and polite he was. In every sense of the word, he looked like a Prince standing there. As soon as our eyes met, I knew, he was THE ONE. We both stood on the porch just staring at each other, for what seemed to be an eternity. We were snapped out of our trance, when Rich’s Aunt called from the car to say we needed to go, or be late for the movie. When we got to the movie, he asked if I would like something to eat, and bought some popcorn and a soft drink. We found our way to our seats. Throughout the entire movie, I watched him out of the corner of my eye. I had the feeling that he was doing the same thing. He sat with his hands on his lap, a perfect gentleman. I wanted to hold his hand so badly, so I slid over a little closer, and he put one hand on the arm of the chair. I moved my hand over, we were already picking up each other’s thoughts, and the next thing I knew, he was holding my hand.
The movie ended, and we walked from the theater, hand in hand. Rich asked if we had time to go for dinner. I called my Mom, and she said that would be fine, but I needed to be back by 7:00 as they were leaving to go home then. It was so rainy and cold, as we waited for a cab; Rich gave me his gloves to wear. We got into the cab and snuggled to get warm. But, as the cab drove around the city, we realized that no restaurants were open on Christmas day. Instead of taking me back to my grandparents, as I assumed he would, he asked if I would mind going to his Mom’s for dinner. His Mom had no idea that he was bringing a guest home for dinner, but never once made me feel like an unexpected or an unwelcome guest. She pulled out the most delicious pan of chicken and potatoes from the oven. I found out that every Sunday she would cook the most amazing Italian dinners. I had a wonderful time, and it seemed as if I already knew Rich’s Mom. She was so warm and friendly. From the first time we met, we seemed to have a special bond. (We did, her Son!) I easily understood, after spending that day with his Mother, why Rich was such a loving, and caring person.
It was time to go back to my grandparents, and Rich called a cab. Before, we left, and were standing in his Mom’s kitchen; he asked me if I believed in love at first sight. We were both on the same page, after spending only hours together. On the ride to my grandparents we talked about our day, and set up another date for the following Tuesday. I was so happy and excited, that I was already counting the hours until Tuesday arrived. On the way home, I tried to believe that this had really happened, and wasn’t a dream. Stuff like this is what Romance Novels are made of; they just don’t happen to people like me. That night I fell asleep thinking about the day and how wonderful it was.
Even though Tuesday was only two days away, it seemed like forever before we could see each other again. We chatted on the phone, and before we knew it, it was Tuesday! My parents drove me to meet him at the bowling alley. That’s when it happened! He handed me a little box, I was so excited and I hurried to open it. When the unwrapping was complete, my only reaction was to stare at the contents. Inside were two rings, an engagement ring, and a wedding band. Rich told me that he knew from the first moment he saw me, that I was the one for him. I echoed his feelings and I was floating on air, but speechless. We had only known each other for three days, and yet we were totally connected. I told him that I desperately wanted to accept the rings, but that we should wait a little while longer, because I knew my parents might not be as thrilled as we were. I was only sixteen and still in high school. I worried, that because of this, our short but astounding romance might come to an end. To my surprise, it did not! The following year went by fairly quickly. Rich bought a new 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible, which made quite a hit when he picked me up from school where I was a junior in high school. He took me to my Junior Prom, which proved to be another wonderful memory.
On December 12, 1966, Rich brought out the rings again, and this time the engagement ring was place on my finger, with my parent’s blessings. I was the happiest and proudest girl in the entire world! Now, we could finally start making our many plans for our wedding. The biggest decision we had to make was the date. We choose July 29th, 1967. We didn’t realize when we selected the date, that the Saint of the Day was Martha. July seemed so far away, but before we knew it January had snuck up on us, and our plans started to fall into place. We attended my Senior Ball in April, and during the spring vacation, we started looking for a place to call home. We found a beautiful six-room flat with a large living room, dining room, kitchen and three bedrooms. One of the bedrooms would be perfect for my sewing room. We filled it a room at a time, with furniture, appliances and dishes. We had a few bridal showers which helped us add our finishing touches. Little by little we got everything arranged in our cozy little nest. When June came around, I was busy with my high school graduation, and immediately following, Rich had to attend Army Reserve camp for two weeks. While he was away fulfilling his duty, my Mom and I completed the plans for our wedding. We had to make sure no detail was left undone; the gowns, the flowers, the food, and of course the cake.
The week before the wedding was a whirlwind – exciting, nerve-wracking, but mostly just plain fun. My grandmother made my wedding gown and all the bridesmaids’ gowns. My Mom made the most beautiful wedding cake, and did all the floral arrangements and the bouquets. The night before the wedding, everything was finished and perfect. We had our rehearsal dinner, but that was not the only celebration. Rich’s birthday was two days after our wedding so we held a surprise birthday party for him as well. The party ended around 10:00pm and we all went home to rest up for “The Big Day”. That had to have been the slowest night of my life. I thought morning would never arrive!
The weather for the week prior to the wedding had been miserable. We had rain and thunderstorms every day. It even rained on Friday night at the rehearsal. I was sure it would still be raining Saturday morning. When I woke up it was indeed cloudy and gloomy, but as fate would have it, by 1:00 pm it turned into a beautiful sunny day. No one would have ever known that it had been so stormy the previous week. And, then, it was time to leave for the church. The happiest moments of my life were soon to come true. We arrived a few minutes ahead of time. Everything was perfect, and so well-organized. I wasn’t nervous at all until I reached the church, then it hit me!
What was seven months of planning was worth every moment of our day. Our wedding was absolutely beautiful, and the weather was picture perfect. On July 29th, 1967, Rich and I were married in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. It is a gorgeous, old Italian Church in Schenectady, New York. Our favorite Hymn, Ava Maria was playing as we walked down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time.
We rode around the city, going to the rose garden at the park for pictures, then off to my parent’s home for a back yard reception. We had a spectacular time. We were so happy.
On Christmas 1968 we welcomed with much love and joy the first addition to our little family, Christine Marie. And on August 7th, 1974 she was joined by her little sister Cynthia Carol. Now our family was complete. We loved every moment with our little girls and watched them grow into amazing young women. They have blessed us with seven grandchildren (of course the finest children ever born)……………………Until, we were given even more of God’s very special treasures, GREAT grand babies.
We were married for the first time on July 29th, 1967. But this day held such precious memories for us that on July 29, 1992 we decided to do it all over again.
I guess we just love being married to each other so very much that on our 40th Anniversary, we did it again. We renewed our vows at St. Anthony’s Church, where we originally started our beautiful journey together. Not to end it there, we did it again on our 45th! We have stopped having weddings, at least for the time being, but our 50th anniversary is not far away, we may just have another one.
Our girls are grown, and their families are growing up as well. One thing has never changed, and that is the love that Rich and I have for each other. Might I add here, that we also work side by side each day in our business – I do believe we are completely dedicated to each other. We have so many wonderful memories throughout the years and look forward to many more anniversaries together. But, the celebration we both look forward to sharing each year is that of the Christmas Day (rainy cold day) when our journey began.
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