September 29, 1979 – 40 Years!

 

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40 Years ago today, on the afternoon of Saturday September 29th, 1979, at the Interfaith Chapel on the C.W. Post College campus, Susie and I started what has truly been the Great Adventure of our lives! That day, in front of friends and family, we said our vows, and became a married couple.  Why the Interfaith Chapel on the CW Post College Campus? Well, unbeknownst to each other, we’d both gone to Post at the same time! While I was pursuing at Batchelor’s Degree in Music, Susie took her academic classes at Post while a student at Pilgrim State School of Nursing! A connection we never knew about till we started dating in 1977.

I’ve always believed that our union was destined to be, and firmly believe that it was no accident we were brought together by friends in at a July 4th Bar-B-Que. There clearly was a plan for our lives, and today we are still living out the script that was written in the stars!  She’s still my best friend, the one I want to be with when I’m down, the one I want to celebrate with when I’m up, the one who kicks me in the ass when I need it, and the single most important person in my life.  She’s also the best caregiver in the world, as I experienced when I had my knee replaced in July! We don’t live our lives like others do, and that’s all right with us.  It’s our life, and we love it!

The last 40 years have truly been Our Great Adventure! Between buying and selling houses, raising children, going through the sickness and death of parents, working through our health issues, watching all three of our kids walk down the aisle, and ultimately becoming Grand Parents, I have trouble believing it’s been 40 years! In my mind’s eye, I can still see that scared girl walking down the aisle of the Interfaith Chapel with her Dad  like it was yesterday (I would like to forget the brown tuxedos, but hell, it was the 70s!).

I freely admit that we’re dreamers and so far, they’ve all come true!   My life has been a dream, because of the lady I’ve spent it with!  I love you now and forever Susie, and I thank God for bringing us together, and for giving us a wonderful life, filled with wonderful kids and grandkids, and friends that are like family!

My life has been special because you’ve been in it! Thanks for the most wonderful 40 years anybody could ever hope for! The Adventure continues…..

 

Memories

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!!

Thirty Seven Years – Saturday, September 29, 1979 to Thursday, September 29, 2016

You know, we keep calling this trip we are on, “Our Big Adventure”, but in reality, Our Big Adventure started on the afternoon of September 29, 1979, at the Interfaith Chapel on the C.W. Post Campus.  You see, it was on that day, before our family and friends, that Susie and I took the vows that cemented our lives together as one!

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Through the last 37 years, we have weathered the storm of life, dealing with 3 kids, jobs, different houses, paying the bills, going on vacation, stretching the budget, and just spending time together!  She is still my best friend, the single most important person in my life, and the one person, above all others, that I like spending time with (haven’t we proved that the last 7,500 miles????).

So on the occasion of the 37th Anniversary of the day we tied the knot, thank you Susan Lynn Johnson D’Elia for giving me the greatest life anyone could ever desire!  It has truly been  Our Big Adventure, and it ain’t close to being over!!