Monday, December 26, 2011

45 Years

On Friday, Richard and I will mark our 45th wedding anniversary. It hardly seems possible. We were 19 and 18 at the time and are now 64 and 63. We've been blessed with a lot of growing and learning time together. How absolutely beautiful and extraordinary is that?  
On this day depicted above on December 30, 1966, we were headed off into an adventure that we somehow knew was right but could never ever really completely know what might unfold.  We just trusted we would find our way.  I suppose every day since has been the same.  We usually have not gotten quite that dressed up for it.
These days, it is pretty easy for me to go "go slow mo" over the events in the days preceding our wedding. Our house on Ely Street was filled with all the loving appointments of a wedding and a new couple creating a household.  Everything was ready and waiting. 
At the time, Dad's Mother (my Grandma Dora Bloskovich) was not well.  When we had just sat down to our Christmas Dinner, Dad got a call that she had passed in the apartment that she and Aunt Anna shared on West Jefferson. He immediately left.  
Dad and his Sisters worked on plans for her service and burial.  Her service was in Kirksville at the Mary Immaculate Church on I believe Tuesday, December 27.  That was an odd experience because I had never been to a Catholic Service and knew little of my place, plus my Dad and his siblings had long since disconnected with the ways of the formal church. And to top that off, Grandma's passing was that of one of the family matriarch's in the Croatian community. Her passing removed a link to the Old Country, to language and custom of a rich and varied past.  
Grandma was buried later that day in Des Moines which is about 150 miles away.  The trip there with hearse and hearse driver, Grandma's casket, and her 3 adult children was in the middle of a knockout snowstorm.  The travelers felt great tension (in addition to the usual issues of loss) and those awaiting the travelers on return were on pins and needles deeply concerned about their safety. That trip inspired many stories over the years.
Also during that week, my Dad and his 2 sisters were going through Grandma's personal effects, which were few.  They headed straight for her steamer trunk which she had brought from Croatia in 1908. Even as children, they had been told in no uncertain terms to "stay away".  I was there when they opened the trunk.  The feeling in the little bedroom was a contrast of young children (now in adult bodies) told to "stay away from the hot stove" and opening a trunk filled with magic.  The trunk included many treasures from the old Country which had not been suited for the harsh life of a immigrant family in a strange and often unaccepting land.  I can only speculate that Grandma Dora had carefully tucked them and her dreams away.  My Dad and his 2 sisters gave me Grandma's wedding ring as they felt it was most appropriate for a soon to be new bride.  Quickly thereafter, they re-packed the trunk and Aunt Mary took it to Kansas City where it stayed until the mid 90s.  
Our rehearsal dinner followed and then our wedding.  The energy of all of that mixed together was hard to sort out. About 6 weeks after we married, Richard and I took Grandma Dora and Aunt Ann's apartment, including furniture and pots and pan.  Dad and Mom had mostly put them together and they were tickled to give us a start.  That same apartment in the Triangle Apartments building at 401 W. Jefferson had been home to Grandma Lottie and her 2 daughters (Mother and Aunt Ruthie) after Grandpa Fred died and before Daddy came home from "the War".
These are mostly "memories of that week or the weeks" following.  It's funny how certain marker occasions bring a flood of memories of the details before and after.  It seems like each step of the way is yet another brush stroke on the canvas.  
And here, after 45 years, we have embarked on another adventure of "opening a new day". I have developed this ritual that when Richard and I awake at the same time in the morning, I'll say to Richard:  "We get another day."  How cool is that?  Once again, brush strokes emerge on that precious larger canvas.

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