It was a hot August day, quite possibly the hottest day of the summer in the small central Florida town, when the young couple wed. They said their vows in a church that was not air-conditioned and celebrated with cake and punch in a reception hall equally as hot. It was a miracle the icing didn’t melt off the cake. Sixty years ago air conditioning was not a given.
After the reception, the young couple changed from wedding clothes to traveling clothes to go on their honeymoon. For the bride, it meant changing into a suit with heels, gloves, hat and handbag. For the groom, trousers, a collared shirt, tie and sports coat. They jumped into the bride’s MG convertible with the top down and headed to their favorite beach — Anna Maria Island, Florida. It started raining on the way and the rain continued for the next ten days.
The rental they booked did not have goblets so they toasted their marriage and their first evening together with champagne in coffee cups. It was a tradition they continued for several years.
I have heard this story many times. It is one of those stories that becomes a part of family lore. I know this story well because it’s my parents’ story. They were the young couple who married on the hottest day of the summer sixty years ago this week.
The Surprise Guest
There is another aspect of this story I enjoy sharing with people. It often elicits a puzzled look. You see, my husband remembers that hot August day as well. My husband was a guest at my parents’ wedding. Are you scratching your head yet?
My husband’s parents and my grandparents were close friends. They attended church together and often went on trips together. Naturally, his family was invited to the wedding of their close friends’ daughter. My husband is six years older than me so he was a little boy just shy of five years old when my parents got married. He recalls it being a very hot day and he was not too happy about having to get all dressed up in his coat and tie.
Celebrating The Anniversary
My parents had a big party at their house on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Lots of family and friends showed up to enjoy lots of delicious food. It was such a fun event, as fiftieth anniversary parties often are. We all enjoyed celebrating with them.
This year, for their sixtieth, the celebration was a little quieter — one dinner with friends and another with family. They enjoyed celebrating with both. It was fun to hear them reminisce again about their wedding day sixty years ago.
Sixty years of marriage is definitely something to celebrate. Not many reach that milestone. I admire my parents so much for their commitment to each other all these years. I know it hasn’t always been easy, but evidently it has been worth it.
They have experienced some wonderful things together. They have two children (four if you count the spouses) and five grandchildren — one married, one about to be married. They have traveled extensively — from British Columbia, Canada to Russia. A cabin in the mountains of North Carolina has offered respite in summer’s past and a kaleidoscope of fall colors in autumn. And, a family dream was fulfilled a few years ago. They get to enjoy many carefree days with family and friends at the place where they began their married life — the lovely Anna Maria Island.
Happy 60th Anniversary Mom and Dad! You are loved!