Today is our forty-ninth wedding anniversary. I think this marriage may work out.
According to Google, "a 49th wedding anniversary does not technically mark a milestone anniversary." Maybe not, but every day, not to mention every year, with Kitty is a milestone to be celebrated.
I had just graduated from college and Kitty was still in school at Lowell State College (now UMass Lowell) 49 years ago. She was living in a girls dormitory called Concordia Hall. The lounge at the dormitory had been consecrated and Catholic services were held there. Kitty, bless her Irish heart, had been raised a Catholic. For my part, well...my mother was a Unitarian and my father was a congregationalist so I was raised Baptist; the Baptist church was the nearest to my house, you see. Anyway, Kitty decided she wanted to get married at her dormitory.
It was a beautiful ceremony. The center of the lounge was surrounded on three sides by comfortable chairs. At the head of the lounge was a small fountain in the form of a statue of Orpheus -- Lowell State having a very solid music department. The priest stood in front of Orpheus and we stood in front of the priest and family and friends comfortably seated along the side. The president of the college had sent flowers. Some friends provide the music, including "Pleasures of the Harbor" and -- at the end -- "Pack Up your Sorrows." Just about every girl in the dormitory packed into the lobby by the lounge to watch our nuptials. And somebody forgot to turn off the damned fountain during the service.
The priest who married us was the head of the college's Newman Center. He liked us well enough but was hesitant to marry us. He just didn't think we would last. We ran into him about ten years later and he said that we were the only couple he married who were still married. I don't think he married many couples and he certainly did not understand the bond Kitty and I shared.
After the ceremony we held a champagne reception at a local restaurant. A limited number of invitations had gone out and an unlimited number of people showed up. The restaurant soon ran out of champagne and had to hit up the local liquor stores. It was a good time. Afterwards the crowd moved to Kitty's parents' house. My Uncle Arthur got slightly snozzled and was flirting with one of the bridesmaids while my Aunt Thelma glared at him.
And so we were married. And the years past with the usual ups and downs. We had two great kids and then they got married and we had five great grandchildren. And supposedly we got old. I don't feel it. Yes, I move a bit slower now and the aches are a tad more noticeable, but every day I thrill to be with Kitty and wonder how I got to be so lucky.
Not only does the 49th wedding anniversary not "mark a milestone anniversary," but there is evidently no traditional gift for year #49, although Hallmark (bless their little mercenary hearts) decided that the 49th anniversary is the copper anniversary. As much as Hallmark loves to create traditions at the drop of a hat, I do not consider a "copper anniversary" legit. Thus, based on my personal experience and the fact that there is a perceived need that must be filled, I offer my own modest proposal:
A happiness anniversary.
Happiness is surely the most valuable gift one can get or receive. Plus it has the advantage of being cost-free.
So for this 49th anniversary, my wife has given me happiness. I, in turn, hope I have given her the same.
In fact, the happiness anniversary should not be limited to year 49. Happiness should be given each and every year and well into the future, so that's what I think we'll do.
And after 49 years, I'm still chuffed.