35 years

My father was 21 when he proposed to my mom, who was about to turn 23. They had only known each other two weeks, when he asked her to spend the rest of her life with him, and so she responded by saying, “Okay, but don’t tell anyone, in case we change our minds.”

They had met at a Subud potluck in San Francisco. My dad was living in the Bay Area, completing his alternative service (a firm belief in pacificism and a family that included many generations of Quakers and Unitarians had won him consciencious objector status). My mom had just graduated from Temple and was living with a guy named Stacey in Philly, when at the last minute, my grandmother invited her to go to San Francisco, she went.

They didn’t change their minds, and began to announce their engagement. My mom flew back to Philly, packed up her apartment, broke up with Stacey, gave away her two cats and left the east coast for good.

On August 1st, 1970, they married, on hill overlooking the bay. My dad’s stepfather (a Unitarian minister) performed the ceremony and my mom wore a dress she had made. The reception was a potluck dinner.

35 years later, they are still together. They have fought, they have struggled, they nearly imploded on several occasions, but they kept going. They taught me, mostly through osmosis, that when both parties are really committed to making a relationship work and survive, that you can and you do.

Happy anniversary, guys. I love you bunches.

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