Last week was my parents’ 69th wedding anniversary. My brother was there to help them celebrate and my sister in law suggested we start planning for the 70th. I suggested a round the world trip. Both my parents are 92. My father tells me that he had been to 90 countries by the time he was 90 and still has a few on his list. I know the wine country in South Africa is one place he wants to go. That would be fun!
My parents met when they shared a ride back to college after Christmas break. My mother was not feeling well and my father thought she was probably hung over. If you knew my mother you would understand how absurd that sounds. He soon learned this was not the case. My mother didn’t drink. My father was dating a woman named Lois at the time and my mother knew it. She was not so very impressed with him.
However, my father pursued her and they became friends and enjoyed spending time together and did spend time together. After he joined the Navy and saw his friends start to get married, he thought it might be a good idea to marry. In 1943 he got appendicitis and had a few days of R&R. For some reason he thought that would be a good time to ask Virginia to marry him. He sent her a telegram asking her how quickly she could get a syphilis test. In those days you had to have one in order to get married. Luckily he followed up with a phone call and said he thought it might be a good idea if they got married. Amazingly she agreed. What a wacky woman! She had no idea what was in store for her.
Nine years later my father went to work for the US Technical Cooperation Agency and he was assigned to the Burmese State Teacher Training College where he worked with students in agriculture. My parents and my two brothers who were 4 and 6 years old started their great expat adventure in 1952. Their friends and relatives thought they had lost their minds. This was before jet airplanes, email or polio vaccines. From Burma they went to Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria, and the Netherlands. They did not repatriate until 1985.
Sixty nine years later they are still speaking to each other. And all due to a ride they hitched back to school.