Behind My Red Door

Saturday, June 21, 2008

You Color My World

Follow up to my earlier post "Time Flies When You Are Having Fun"

33 years ago today on a very hot and humid Saturday evening, I married my best friend and the love of my life. For 33 years, David has been the best husband and Dad I could ever hope for. He has always provided well for our family and never wanted anything for himself. He has been the dad who attended all the t-ball, softball, soccer and football games and practices, and more dance competitions and recitals than you can imagine - sometimes being the ONLY dad there. In addition to being a great dad, David has always supported me in every endeavour from finishing nursing school, to being a stay at home mom, going back to school, to running a school, and now, as full time keeper of the home once again.

When we got engaged in December of 1974, David's job took him all over the country and we didn't want to be apart, so we planned a wedding for the following June.

My mom and I got busy making my gown. I was a country girl at heart even back then and a frilly lacy thing was just not me. So we made a simple gown with crocheted lace and a removable train. We even had to die the lace in tea to get it just the right shade of ecru that I wanted. I was prim before prim was in style!

I wore a country girl's garden hat simply adorned with more of the same lace and my bouquet was daisies with a few roses. My bridesmaids carried baskets of daisies - country style of course.

Even our cake had daisies!

We celebrated with our close family and friends at a reception close to home and we danced to our song "Color My World" by Chicago. Not only was it our song but it was our LUCKY song. (And still is!) It was everywhere I went in the pre-wedding days when I had to make all the decisions and do all the planning myself because David was working in Oklahoma. When my mom and I went to the florist to talk about my flowers, it was on the radio in the background. When we went to meet the cake lady, it was on the radio in the car. When I went with my bridesmaids to the mall bridal shop, it was playing in the background again. Over and over again at key moments, it was playing. And a week before our wedding, when David decided to drive home from OK without stopping, I stayed up late at night anxiously waiting for his call (remember - no cell phones back them - in fact no cordless phones either!) I was so worried about that long 22 hour drive. I had to find things to keep me busy and I remember being in the sewing/laundry room when the long version of our song came on the radio. The minute it ended, the phone rang and David told me he has just gotten to his parents house. I still get the goosebumps now when I think back to that night.

After our honey moon, we immediately went to Kansas City, Missouri where David was to work on a project for Riley Stoker, the company he had taken a job with in 1974 right out of college. I was so homesick!! He worked long days at the power plant and I was alone in the hotel room without a car. Luckily for us, he got transferred to a job outside New Orleans, so within a few weeks, we were heading for the Gulf. I was very excited because we knew he would be there several months and we could get our very first apartment together and so we did - at Windsor Arms Apartments in Harvey, LA - just over the Mississippi River from New Orleans. The only other couple I knew from Riley were living there as well so I was thrilled to have companionship during the long 18 hour shifts David and Joe worked. Joe's wife Pat and I spent our days together with their young daughter Jessica. And we always had one car between us! Pat and Joe remain our dear friends to this day.

I was still a bit homesick and I REALLY hated the heat and humidity and creepy crawlies you could not get rid of, but I loved being a wife and taking care of my husband. Coincidentally, my brother was stationed at Biloxi Air Force Base in Mississippi and when he had a few days leave, we would drive along the Gulf Coast and bring him back to our apartment. It was great to see a face from home and I practiced my cooking skills to a thrilled audience.

In the fall of 1975, David was quickly promoted to a job in the home office and we returned to MA to live. I finished nursing school in 1976 and took the state boards to become an RN, and in 1977 we bought our first home - a small 3 bedroom ranch style home. In 1979, our son Jay was born followed in 1981 by our daughter Jen. We were truly blessed with a comfy home, 2 beautiful healthy children and we were close to our families once again.

David continued to work for Riley, still traveling at times to power plants around the country and he was working his way up the 'company ladder'. He's the kind of guy who keeps his cool in almost any situation and if he can't say a kind word, he doesn't speak. Yet in the business world, he can hold his own with anyone in any position in any field. His quiet demeanor has served him well over the years. WHile he worked to support our young family, I became involved in the kids schools and the community, I was thrilled to be able to stay at home and I loved keeping home and raising our family.

In 1986, we moved to our current home and I started working part time at the small preschool both kids had attended, eventually becoming the Director. I never went back to nursing after that. We both went back to college at night. I earned my MA Preschool Teacher and Director certification, and David attended the prestigious WPI School of Industrial Management. He made history in 1981, being their youngest graduate ever at that time. Jen was just 2 months old. He continued to work at Riley and still traveled at times. I quickly learned how to be a DIY kind of mom out of necessity.

We settled into a comfortable home life and over the years we celebrated the typical milestones - each of the kids getting their driving licenses, first cars, proms, high school graduations, college, Jay's first house, and my 'retirement' from teaching in 2005. In the fall of 2006, David was still working for the same company when he was offered a position in a promising new start up company. His reputation in the field led this company to him. He has was well paid and well respected at his former job, but this was one of those offers you just can't refuse - it meant even more opportunity and financial security. We did a lot of research and soul searching. It was a difficult decision to leave the only company he had worked for over 32 years, but we decided to go for it and he started working for GPE in January of 2007. Early last fall, Jen moved into her first apartment and we were finally empty nesters. So much change in a few years - but all good changes!

And that leads us up to this year. Our son got married and our family grew to five. And life is good!

We continue to be blessed with great families. We have 3 great kids now, and both sets of our parents are still with us. Each celebrated over 55 years of marriage this year. We are planning on doing the same in 22 more years!

And today we will celebrate this milestone with a quiet dinner at a wonderful restaurant called the Castle, and enjoy reminiscing about the last 33 years. We are the lucky ones!

David, you are the best man I know, and you still Color My World!

Until next time - hugs, Linda