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When We Were Young

Let me begin with thanks to Adele for my blog title today. Because we celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary this week, I'd been thinking about writing about our early life, however, a title hadn't come to mind. Well, now it has. I know that most of you reading this blog, already know our story, however, it never hurts to revisit a love story, of which ours is one.
We've been together now for most of our lives, having begun our relationship when we were very young, like 12 years old young. Now I'm going to tell the story my way, but I bet if Bruce were to tell it, there would be a few different details. He swears I first caught his attention when I was in the 6th grade, so that would have made me about 10 or 11 years old, having started 1st grade at just 5 years old. My sister Carol and I went to a summer program at Lake Como Elementary, or so he tells me, and he thought I was pretty cute.

A few years later, while we were attending Howard Junior High, we met for real at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in their Youth Group.  As was super common back then, we began going "steady", but "broke up" a few months later. As to how we got back together in the 9th grade, I'm a little sketchy, but I do recall that the date was September 25, my Mom's birthday. That was convenient wasn't it? The year was 1968.

Because he lived only a few blocks away he became a fixture at our home. By then my brother Pat was in the Green Berets, making Bruce the only male in a sea of girls! Even then Bruce was so kind, a quality that has only gotten stronger as we have aged. If you can imagine, I was still a bed wetter back then, and when I finally got the nerve to tell him, he did not even flinch! My Dad had been commuting to Melbourne for nine years when, in the summer after 10th grade, he came home one day, announcing that we were leaving Orlando and moving to Melbourne. Well that was a blow, but somehow we managed, with me riding a Greyhound bus back to Orlando to visit him on some weekends. His Mom, bless her heart, even had a rubber sheet she put on the bed for me. Other weekends he would drive his VW bug over to Melbourne! Remember how expensive long distance calls used to be? He would save his tips from being a bus boy at the Robert Meyer Hotel restaurant to call me, sometimes from pay phones. In spite of the distance, our relationship never faltered.

Try as I might I could not find the one photo I have of us in the 9th grade, but here are a few of us when we were young...
Thinking hard about how couples get together, and stay together for that matter, I suppose the first attraction is how a person looks. Of course I have no experience to prove that other than our own, but I suspect it is true to some extent whatever your age. He was darn cute wasn't he?

Only about a month after graduating high school I high-tailed it back to Orlando to begin x-ray school at Winter Park Memorial Hospital. During my first year I lived with Maureen, and when she was tired of me, I moved in with Judy and Cris, newlyweds themselves! People often wonder why we married so young, but I wonder why we would have waited! Our plan was that once I graduated and began earning some money, we would make it all official. Unlike most couples today, we never lived together, and were darn anxious to do so.

Looking for these photos I came across the album for our 25th anniversary with pages devoted to various aspects of marriage including one page entitled "Our Story." Re-reading it, I had to chuckle that I wrote about Bruce asking my Dad for my hand in marriage. I wrote that TL grilled Bruce on how we was going to provide for me. Poor guy, because TL was not known for being either kind, or subtle!

I went looking for a wedding dress by myself at the now gone, but never forgotten, Jordan Marsh, the nicest department store in town. My parents were willing to pay $100 for a gown, and that's where I began my search. Somehow or other a gown had been left in the dressing room I chose, and that was the only one for me! The price was way too high, but I just had to have that dress.
On my hourly wage of $3.25 hr it took me a long time to pay them back!! The other receipts are for the veil AND our honeymoon night in St. Augustine!!! As a newly hired x-ray tech and a carpenter, we spent only one night there, but we made the most of it. I know some of you have heard this story before, but it's a good one so I'll write it down. Our first night of marriage, after the wedding and arriving in St. Augustine, all of the restaurants were closed at 9 PM, aside from McDonalds, which is where we ate. I so remember gazing at my wedding ring while asking Bruce if he thought anyone could tell we had just gotten married six hours earlier!

The rehearsal dinner was held at the Peck's home...
That would be my Mom up top, and Bruce's down below.  Here is one of us opening a wedding gift.
Amazing how similar our hair was!! So, back in those days it was a big deal to have a wedding announcement in the newspaper. This one is from the town in upstate New York where Bruce was born and lived until he was 6 years old.
I even have more that I won't bore you with, however, one even included minute details about my dress, which I still love btw! Pale pink, in case you are wondering.

Aside from the 25th anniversary album, most of the photos above are from our wedding album. How about these gifts??? I am so touched reading them. So amazing that the crew at Sea World, where Bruce worked as a carpenter building the Shamu stadium, gave us a bottle of champagne and SEVEN dollars.
That bottle of champagne, btw, blew up in the back seat of our VW fastback while we were touring around St. Augustine on foot!
Our reception, held at Grace Covenant, consisted of a receiving line, cake, and punch, and I'm not entirely sure what else. As well, I have no clue who took these candid snap shots, but I'm glad they did.

And so we began our life together, moving into our first apartment, then a second one, and within a year, our own home! These were our kids back in those days, Wally and Benny, or so I think...
I can still remember Bruce buying me that blouse for Christmas with me crying when I opened it! Another noteworthy thing about this photo is my watch...love interesting watches now, and it looks as if I loved them then.

Fast forward 43 years of wonderful married life together---Bruce worked super hard on our anniversary so we just ate at home. Bruce did, however, give me one of the sweetest cards ever, that friends on fb have already seen, but should you have missed it, here it is.
Cheryle and David just stopped by for a chat (B is at work), and we were taking about all manner of things, one of which is being satisfied with what you have leading to true happiness. Brilliant, right?

People often ask us the secret of our successful marriage, and sometimes I'm at a loss because we don't really have any secrets aside from the idea that we began our lives together believing it would always last, and it has. Plus, we are still crazy in love, and continue writing our love story every single day.

Till death do us part,

Gail

p.s. should you care to see the photos larger I believe you just click on them....

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