Monday, March 11, 2019

47th Wedding Anniversary!

I hate it when the time changes because my sleep gets interrupted!  It's 4:45 am! So, I'll tell you a story.  I met my husband through a work friend, Maria Cordone, on February 22, 1971, the freezing night of George Washington's Birthday.  It was about 7 pm when we arrived at Maria and Doug's apartment and it was love at first sight!  We were engaged after two weeks ... but we allowed ourselves a yearlong engagement for possible reconsideration! Ha!    

Our wedding day, March 11, 1972, was cold and blustery.  I wore a white mini-skirt and matching top I had made from the NEW fabric that didn't need ironing! It was a polyester double-knit probably still survives at a landfill somewhere. Fr. Petrini officiated the wedding ceremony before a few friends and family at St. John the Baptist De La Salle, Chillum, Maryland.  
St. John the Baptist De La Salle
The reception was at our apartment in Queens Manor Gardens, Mt. Rainier, MD, a few blocks from the Washington, DC line. 

Our apartment building

We had been planning to marry in May, but when the apartment became available in February, we moved our wedding up.  We were practical people ... and neither of our families had any money to host a wedding and reception, which made it quite easy to change the wedding date.  Jim's mother had been widowed a year earlier, leaving 6 children without a father and my mother was a single mom raising 4 kids. 

We managed to get our apartment through the influence of my grandmother, who also lived there.  It was unspoken but understood that you needed a reference to gain occupancy.  The management discriminated against young people and minorities.  Our $112 a-month rent got us a 2-bedroom apartment with beautiful parquet floors in a solid early 1940's building.  Current rent for our apartment is $1400.  

Our building had four apartments.  I didn't know much about two of our neighbors, but our downstairs neighbor, Mr. Tinsley, worked at the local funeral parlor.  When I told him that my wish was to be cremated when I died, he was aghast and described what sounded like the fires of hell!  This didn't bother me a bit.  I found it preferable to being buried in the dark, moist ground with worms.  I mean, I shouldn't care ... presumably I'll be unaware of where I am! I've since made my children swear to uphold my cremation wish, however, because I secretly suspect a traditional burial would suit Jim better. 

In 1971, Jim entered his first year of the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Program at The Catholic University of America (est. 1887).  Coincidentally, this was a school he said he would never attend because its spooky and foreboding architecture.  He also said that he would never work with children in his psychology practice but which became a focus of his career. 

The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

I was working as executive secretary to George Kourpias of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at 1300 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D. C.  Mr. Kourpias would ultimately become President of the Union.   

International Association of Machinists Building

Since Jim got home before I did, he started doing some of the cooking.   I wisely complimented him on his chili.  Little did I know it would become a weekly staple! But, he branched out to Steak Diane and other tasty dishes.  Listen, I really don't enjoy cooking and hate going to the grocery story, so I was thankful.  To this day, he does all the grocery shopping and cooking.  On the rare occasions that I go into the Publix with Jim, they smile when they meet the mystery woman ... since Jim knows the cashiers by name ... and probably knows the names of their kids and their birthdates.   

July, 1973 saw us leaving for Jim's internship in Miami.  It was either Boston or Miami, and we wisely chose Miami. 

We traded in my 1969 Plymouth Barracuda

for a Volkswagen 411 ...

Miami was the scene of many fun times.  We moved into a former hooker motel that had been converted to one-bedroom and studio apartments at the exclusive address of 2665 S. Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove, FL.  In our bedroom, our full-size bed nearly went wall to wall. Talk about tiny!

Many weekends were spent snorkeling at Long Key State Park, sleeping in a tube tent.  It is currently described as an "emergency" tent.  Heck, we didn't know that or we would have splurged for something much nicer!  No, this was our go-to shelter.

Tube Tent ... which we used on our many camping weekend at Long Key State Park 
The social life at the apartment complex was wonderful.  We all moved in at the same time and became fast friends, with people the likes of Leapin' Larry Greene, who was behind the camera filming for CBS, etc.  Unfortunately, Larry was  killed in a US Navy helicopter accident flying over the North Arabian Gulf near Iran, in September 2002, shooting a story for CBS.  

So, it's now 6:30 am.  We're planning a trip to Anna Maria Island with our friends of 43 years, Jan and Tom Moskitis.  We were neighbors in Clinton, Maryland, where we both become homeowners for the first time. 

This has been a meaningly walk down memory lane for me.  Since I seem to be blogging about once every two years, we might have to wait for my 50th anniversary for the "rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would say.  

If you've hung in 'til the end, thanks for allowing me to share part of my life with you!  Barbara


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