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As I was transferring appointments, birthdays, travel dates, etc. to my 2014 calendar this morning, I realized that on January 5th, I will be married for 40 years with my young love.

Forty years.

I remember as a child, feeling like time went by so slowly. It seemed as if the summers were forever, and Christmas came so slowly.  Those years were not fret with money worries and basic fears. My parents had all that covered.  I was a “live in the moment” kind of kid, so the concept of being married for 40 years would have been inconceivable. Actually the concept of summer vacation ending and someday growing up were kind of inconceivable.

I think about the awkward, giggly teenager I was in high school. I was not in the popular crowd, nor the higher functioning brainy crowd, and certainly not the athletic group. I hung with the good students, fun crowd, who shied away from “certain after game parties”, and liked making good grades and stupid jokes. We were guilty of some harmless pranks and were only reprimanded once by the assistant principal (it’s a long story).

And then, in study hall of my senior year, I got to know Bruce. He was quite the looker (still is). He taught me the art of skipping school. We didn’t do anything bad. We left school, bought a cookie at the bakery, and sat on a park bench chatting. Then I’d zip back to catch the bus on time.  That ended when the assistant principal notified my dad of my new habit pattern. Ugh.

I had hoped that Bruce would take me to the prom. It was my senior year after all. On one of our walks, he looked at me and said, “By the way, I don’t do proms.”

Hmm. Fortunately, one of my male friends in class was glad to be my escort. We had a nice time.

As summer approached, Bruce was more of a fixture in my life. My brother and Dad had selected someone else to be my boyfriend, but he was rude and weird at times. So, they had to tolerate Bruce. I’m pretty sure that they assumed I’d get tired of him and that would solve the problem.

But I didn’t get tired of him. Bruce seemed to be my young love.

When I went off to Indiana University the next year, Bruce would hitchhike down on weekends to see me. In a car it’s about a 3 ½ hour drive, so it was kind of obvious he was invested in this relationship.

The following year he was at IU also. His basic daily attire was short cutoffs, no shirt, killer tan, bare feet, and wild long blond curls … let’s just say, “hubba hubba.”

Besides the companionship aspect, we became involved with an on-campus Christian ministry, which deepened our relationship even more.

Young Love Marriage

We were married on a cold, snowy winter evening on January 5th, 1974. We picked this date because we couldn’t agree on a wedding date … so we took the date in between our two choices. Scary to think that our thought processes were so undeveloped and we were getting married.

Everything went well … wedding, reception, friends, and family. We were having a great time. My mom advised that it was time to leave, so that the guests would feel free to leave as needed. Shucks, and we were having such fun.

We went to our little rented house. At Polish weddings people give you lots of money.  They put money in my shoes, in my dress, in Bruce’s pockets, everywhere. So, counting our money was the first task of our marriage. People were generous.

The next couple of months, we tried to figure life out. We each had jobs, nothing spectacular, but jobs none-the-less.  One day, we had our first fight. I was not great at handling conflict. I was your basic “Pollyanna” personality. My heart was crushed.

So, as I had done many times in my childhood and youth when a problem arose, I ran to my dad. I was crying and I finally got out the basics of the disagreement. Dad was quiet for a bit, then said, “This is not any of my business. You are married. You two have to work this out.”

I was stunned. My dad always “fixed” things in the past for me. Was he disowning me? I quietly nodded, gave him a hug and went home.

I was initially hurt, but as the years have passed, I realize how amazing his comment was. A man and wife must form their own bond. The parents are there as a support system, but not a leaning post.


With our young love, Bruce and I have made bad choices along the way, but overall we have had a great life, with many adventures and triumphs. Our children still appear to love us, and the grandchildren REALLY love us.

So at this 40-year mark, I am grateful for the life we have enjoyed together, grateful for my husband’s support and patience through the years, for our children and grandchildren, friends and mentors.

I am looking forward to the adventures that still lay before us.

Is your relationship a young love? 

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Category: Grandparents

Tags: anniversary