An Anniversary Remembered…..

A Wedding Anniversary remembered….. Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary to be exact.

June 16th. A day to celebrate. And, we did for 50 years. Forty-seven of those years were with Mom. Growing up, we’d usually celebrate this anniversary as a family. Unfortunately we had to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary without her, physically. My brother’s family and I celebrated this momentous day by taking Dad out to dinner – a fine celebration.

We also celebrated the wedding of one of my friends. She and her fiance were getting married in Maui on the same day of my parent’s 50th. Years earlier, a close friend of our family got married on June 16. My parents, of course, were in attendance and gladly celebrated their wedding anniversary with Randy and his wife.

As a kid, when we were old enough to walk to town by ourselves, I remember going to the local bakery (and a fine one it was) to make arrangements to purchase a cake. Not just any cake mind you. A “Happy Anniversary” cake. We told the baker what we wanted and gave them the money we had saved up. Then, the day came when we could go pick up ‘our’ cake. We CAREFULLY walked THE cake home and took it to our family room in the cool basement. Then we finished our planning for the surprise anniversary party we were throwing for our parents. I remember this was so much fun… to share in their joy of being married…. we knew of course that without their wedding, without their marriage… they’d be without us… we may not have been at all.

We had a grand celebration. This was not the only one, but one that holds a special place in my memory.

Years later, as a young adult living five hours from my family, I decided to throw them a 25th Wedding Anniversary party. I enlisted the help of my brother and his girlfriend (they were in high school then) and my younger brother too. I worked for a printer, so I’d take care of all the invitations and other printing needs. My eventual sister-in-law took care of reserving a lovely room in a building adjacent to the City Library — one of Mom’s favorite places. My brothers helped with other arrangements. We even ordered a special cake. πŸ™‚

With Mom and Dad’s wedding photo and my calligraphy I designed the invitation. I had them printed and mailed out. I even sent it to the hometown newspaper to be placed in the local events section. The newspaper complied with my wishes (for a small fee). I knew the paper would come out on Thursday. Mom and Dad would soon be invited to their own surprise party. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ The best part was… Mom was reading through the newspaper and took a double-take on what finally caught her attention. Calligraphy that looked surprisingly like that of her daughter. She looked again… and this time actually read the invitation. It was her daughter’s calligraphy.

Dad was a bit more difficult. He was at work as a parts-man for a farm implement company. Dorothy, the company secretary, asked Dad if he had seen the newspaper yet. He said he had not, he had been busy all morning. “Besides, not much of anything new, same paper as usual. I’ll read it when I get home.” Dorothy…”You may want to take a look at this one sooner. There’s something that just might interest you.” So at her persistent urging he took up the newspaper and began reviewing the pages. “See, not much here.” he said. Dorothy told him, “Look again.” ….. Β Dad did. “Well, I’ll be a son of a bitch!!!” “That’s our wedding picture.” “My kid put our wedding picture in the paper.” “Looks like we’re having a party!!!” He called Mom to share the news. The same she found out only a few minutes before.

For their 25th Wedding Anniversary we went all out. A traditional wedding cake with a 25th Anniversary theme. Punch. Nuts and mints. Guests of family and friends at an afternoon reception. A grand celebration. Not bad for some kids who no longer lived in the same house. We even decorated their car. Mom and Dad had made such a big deal of their car NOT being decorated at the time of their wedding that we felt compelled to make up for it. My brothers were charged with that task… they were also on the hook for cleaning it all up too. πŸ™‚

Their 40th Wedding Anniversary was not a surprise, but we did have a lovely celebration. This time an afternoon garden party at my home, since I had moved back closer to family. We invited family and friends and even ordered up a beautiful June 16th. Was such a happy and fun day. Another grand celebration. Another anniversary cake.

Their 45th Wedding Anniversary was far more sedate. By this time Mom had leukemia. We had a quiet celebration at their home. Just immediate family. Yet a beautiful event to celebrate, regardless.

As I noted earlier, their 50th was celebrated without Mom, a family dinner out with Dad.

At times Dad has not enjoyed celebrating since Mom is gone. So, we’ve tempered our remembrances…. yet, we seem to acknowledge it in our own way. We realized that at times Dad needed it to be just another day.

This year, on Father’s Day — June 17th — Jeff and I had Dad over to celebrate Dad… to celebrate Father’s Day. We had planned a late lunch, a relaxed day… good visiting, a movie to watch and… later our traditional Strawberry Shortcake… Fresh stawberries, homemade biscuits topped with whipped cream.

During the Father’s Day pre-lunch conversation with my Dad, he asked, “You remember what yesterday was?” “Dad, of course I do. It was your’s and Mom’s Wedding Anniversary.” “Would have been 56 years.” Dad said. I smiled and told him that Jeff and I had just calculated the years out the day before, on the actual date.

So very pleased to hear of an anniversary remembered….

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