In 1951, on what I would imagine to have been a very sunny day in Redlands, California, my grandparents embraced marriage. Harry S. Truman was the President of the United States at the time, and Nat King Cole was unleashing soulful hit after hit upon the general public. Their story began, interestingly enough, in a fateful, rather indirect fashion. Robert, my grandfather, was dating a young woman whose brother happened to be dating Greta, my grandmother, and as the two couples went on a plethora of double dates, they became quite well-acquainted, but simply as friends. Things changed, when on a very special day, a wedding occurred, but it wasn’t their wedding quite yet. A friend of both couples was getting married, and the brother-sister duo was in the wedding party. Thus the gentleman that Robert was, he offered to pick Greta up and escort her to the wedding, which proved to be the game-changer. Their first date was a trip to the movies, watching Katherine Hepburn in As You Like It. After four dates, he proposed and they were happily engaged.
Sitting beside them at the dinner table, listening to my grandmother recount the tale while my grandfather softly looks upon her, for the first time in my life I see the young Robert cheerfully looking upon Greta, his new bride, and the love of his life. I can see the triumphs, the struggles, the tears of joys, the tears of anguish, the incredibly real, romantic life they’ve shared together thus far. It is a world of theirs that I will never truly grasp until I complete that journey on my own, but to see that quiet vibrance still in their eyes after 60 years of marriage, is an uplifting reminder to me of why we love.
When I asked my grandmother what was one of their fondest memories of the past 60 years together, it didn’t take long for her to give a brief glance at my grandfather, look back at me with a youthful twinkle in her eyes, and say, “We didn’t have to say goodbye anymore.”
Happy 60th Anniversary.
Cheers to many more.
-Photos courtesy of that grandson.