fifty years

on january 25, 1958, my parents married. (that’s 50 years, for those of you who are a little slow in math.) i’ve seen the pictures – my mom looks gorgeous and polished, my dad looks handsome and strong. my grandmother had a fever, but she finished sewing pearls onto my mom’s dress, and the proverbial show went on. my aunt barbara looks like a pretty bobbysoxer, and my aunt sandy looks like a china doll. it’s vintage late 1950s stuff. oh, and there’s a mysterious lady in red who shows up in photos, and no one has a clue who she is. and no one ever will, i suppose.

people might say, oh, why did they marry on a weekend when you bump up against superbowl sunday? of course, there was no superbowl sunday when they married. they did, however, have people with crazy nicknames, like dad’s friend bunny who introduced my dad to my mom. (bunny would be a man, by the by. i never met this person, as he faded out of the picture long before i came along.)

and i look at the pictures; and i wonder if they knew on that day that they’d still be married 50 years on. so many of my friends’ parents divorced, but not my parents. my parents made it through endless car trips and temporary relocations to places like oklahoma city (not exactly an inviting place for jews in the early 1960s). my parents made it through two bouts of breast cancer. my parents made it through various kids’ phases: the anarchist cookbook phase, the vomiting on planes and cars and other peoples’ white sweaters phase, the what do i do with my life now that i quit law school phase. among numerous others.

these are not things you tend to think about on your wedding day. i can’t recall what the hell i was thinking about on my wedding day beyond my fondest hope that the DJ would not play anything by madonna and whether or not i looked okay. (i didn’t. i am probably one of the uglier brides out there.) i do remember my best friend warily eyeing a bee that was close to landing in her cleavage during the ceremony and wondering whether i would ever be as composed as she was. (to this day, i’m impressed that the chick didn’t flinch. murphy – you are one tough bee-yotch. and i say that with love.)

but your wedding day is only one day. what really matters is the day after that, and the day after that, and beyond. if people focused the sort of energy they do on their weddings onto their marriages, then maybe a few more wouldn’t be so easily discarded. obviously, some unions cannot last for so many good reasons, and they shouldn’t; but i look at my parents, and i see two people who probably never even knew that divorce was an option. they’ve been working with, around, and through each other for most of their lives. and in spite of each other — and because of each other — they’re still going strong.

this weekend, we celebrated my parents’ 50th anniversary: my bobbysoxer aunt (and uncle), my brothers, our respective families, and me. my mom looked gorgeous and polished, my dad looked handsome and strong. some things don’t change, even in 50 years.

thank G-d for that.



10 Responses to “fifty years”

  1. Happy 50th to Mama and Papa Wreke! Their marriage’s longevity is a testament to personal commitment and a time when “I do” was forever not for a few years. My parents celebrated their final wedding anniversary together in 2007, 57 years, before my father died. My grandparents were married 68 years together. May your mom and dad enjoy good health, wonderful grandchildren, and many more happy years together.

  2. wow! it sounds like your parents and grandparents went to the same marriage school as my parents 🙂 thanks for the lovely wishes.

  3. Tonight we drink to your parents. Huzzah!

  4. Congrats to 50 years!

    Oh, and you said “(i didn’t. i am probably one of the uglier brides out there.)” I cannot believe that for one second. I am sure you look just like you did in high school.

  5. Aww, that is so sweet. Many congrats to your sweet, sweet parents. Can I say ‘sweet’ enough? No, I can’t b/c they produced such a sweet, sweet gal as yourself. Who, I bet, looked sweeter than a fresh hot sticky bun on her wedding day. 😉

  6. My parents have been married 56 years. Yes, it is a bane of our existence that I was unable to make one last more than 8 years. Ah well. Congrats and Happy Anniversary to Mom & Pop Wreke.

  7. Congratulations to the elder Wrekes! Fifty years together is incredible. May their health continue to be good, their spirits high, and their children and grandchildren loving, close, and prosperous.

  8. fret not, tp 🙂

    and thanks to all for such lovely sentiments. and phil, thanks for the extra kindness. i didn’t think i looked terribly pretty in high school, either. but now that i look back at those pictures, i cannot believe my self esteem was so low! i wasn’t miss america, but i wasn’t awful, either. but on my wedding day? ick. i cringe when i look at those pictures.

    maybe if 50 years go by, i’ll like those 😉

  9. notdancingqueen Says:

    Dammit, Sher, how many times have I asked you not to make me cry with your blog entries? Happy Anniversary to Mama and Papa Wreke! I want a medal if I make it half that far!

  10. you got it, hon. when we hit 25 (barring sharp objects and other things), i want a medal. and a pedicure 😉

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