Two things are happening at the end of this month, that in the last couple of days, have made me think back to happenings of September of 1979. The first thing is that Susie and I are going on a two week cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, where Our Boys, Kenny and Chris are in their last months of a year long contract. The second thing that’s happening towards the end of the month, is that Susie and I will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the day we joined our lives together.
What this made me think about, is the first week of our Honeymoon, which started on September 30th, 1979. We got married at the Interfaith Chapel at CW Post College (where we’d both attended) on Saturday, September 29th, 1979. The next day, our Honeymoon started on the Holland American Line’s cruise ship, the SS Volendam. Unusual for those days, this was a Sunday to Sunday cruise to Bermuda, not the usual Saturday to Saturday schedule. Because of the Sunday sail away, a large percentage of the folks on the cruise were newly married couples.
Now, unlike today, when cruise ships are huge floating cities, with thousands and thousands of passengers (The Liberty, while by no means one of the biggest ships in Royal’s fleet, still sails with 4000 passengers), 40 years ago, the Volendam was a much smaller ship, with but 400 passengers on it’s manifest. Because of it’s Sunday sailing, fully half of the passengers were married couples! That means we were one of 100 newly married couples, sailing from New York to Bermuda on Sunday, September 30th, 1979!
Cruising in those days was very different from the luxurious accommodations a new bride and groom might enjoy today. First, there were still more bunk beds in the cabins than there were full size beds…forget King Beds. We were very lucky that we booked our cruise early, through a travel agent that Susie knew, and we had one of the few full sized beds on the ship! In addition, there were also no Specialty Restaurants on the ship, you ate every meal in the dining room, at your assigned table. That’s really where my memory comes into play.
Our Dining Room assignment had us at a table for eight, and we were one of four couples assigned to that table. It was no big surprise to us, that with the large percentage of newly married couples on this sailing, all four couples were newlyweds. But, it doesn’t end there. All 4 couples had been married on Saturday September 29th. Again, no great surprise, since this was about the only cruise ship sailing to Bermuda from New York on a Sunday. What was surprising was not that we all shared the 9/29/79 wedding date, but that for all four of us, our Wedding Song was Billy Joel’s, Just the Way You Are!
As we approach our 40th Anniversary, Susie and I just hope that our tablemates are still together, and still as much in love as the two of us are. Susie, 40 years later, I Still Love You Just the Way You are!!