Friday, August 8, 2014

Full Circle

 A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.  
Mignon McLaughlin

Thirty-six years ago next week, I got married. 



Fresh out of college, I brought a ten-speed Fuji bicycle, a student loan bill, and a saucepan to the new marriage. Bob had an old four-door VW 411 that ran only if it felt like it. Undaunted, we began a life together. 

Earlier that year, I decided I'd rather have a honeymoon than an engagement ring. We wanted to do something unusual because when real life took over, who knew if we could travel. Jobs - they take up so much time, you know. Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway -- Washington through California was our plan.

Of course, we didn't have any money for a honeymoon either. Or camping equipment. We figured we'd pillage the wedding gifts to make that happen. Bob's stepmom, Barb, decided that was a stupid idea and called us over late one night before the wedding. It was like Christmas. A new tent, sleeping bags (which then served as our bed for the next eight months), camp stove, even a clothesline and pins to hang our laundry. She'd gone through her kitchen to gather needed cooking supplies. We were set. 

The other issue before us was that we were married in Michigan. The Pacific Coast Highway? No problem. Just fire up that old VW and start driving 2415 miles to get there. 

We were young? What did we know?

We did the big wedding thing and then parked my parent's car carrier on the top of the VW, filled it with our camping supplies and headed out. 

We made it from East Lansing, Michigan to Lansing, Illinois. The VW decided to die right there in five lanes of rush hour freeway. After the dealership proclaimed it dead, Bob called my parents to thank them for the wedding. Told them how much fun it was and wanted to know if they wanted more fun by driving down to Chicago and towing us home. (My father was well versed in towing that VW.)

Well, my mother -- she said, "I never had a honeymoon and by God my daughter's gonna have a honeymoon."

My dad and my oldest brother each drove a car down to Chicago. After switching the car carrier onto their three-on-the tree Chevy Nova's roof, we hugged goodbye and Bob and I were back on the road. 



With only an hour stop in Austin, Minnesota to see my grandparents at the rest home, we drove straight through to Yellowstone National Park. We used flashlights to read the directions for setting up our new tent. Boiled water in freezing weather to wash ourselves before falling into deep sleep. When we awoke in the morning, 



it had snowed. In the middle of August. We packed up and drove straight through to Astoria, Oregon and Fort Stevens State Park. Set up camp, made an egg and pancake breakfast, then slept for hours. We had found the Pacific Coast Highway and our adventure had begun.







We can't recall why we started in Astoria other than since we lost a couple of days in Chicago, we might have eliminated Washington state.  We obviously knew how to read maps, purchased at gas stations, as we found our way to Oregon and all the way down to Big Sur in California. Then time and money ran out and we headed back to Michigan -- 6000 miles by trip's end.

Couple weeks ago Bob and I took a trip. Even though we have been to many, many places in the past 36 years, I'd still never been to Washington state. I'd seen it across the Columbia River way back when, but you can't count it unless you've stepped foot in it. 


Two weeks ago, I stepped in it. Seattle Washington. And, as an added tidbit - my 50th state. Fitting, I'd say.

After 11 days of driving and ferrying around the state and Victoria and British Columbia, we finished by driving down to Astoria, adding that section of Washington on HWY 101 we'd not navigated on that first trip 36 years before. 


We drove out to Fort Stevens State Park and walked the beach.





 The beach hadn't changed, the wreck of the Peter Iredale still there. 

But a few things had changed. Instead of camping, we stayed in a hotel.


with wonderful beds.



and a rooftop view.

Ate food prepared by someone else.


Yes, that is poutine in clam sauce. Had to try it.


Other changes from our previous trip? 
We cheated - flew to Washington. Rented a car.
Had a better camera - digital. Focus. No more 24-picture Instamatic exposures in red. 4-cube flash.
We've gained weight. 
Our hair is shorter.

But, hey,

we still fall in love with each other. Some days. Most days.


Happy Anniversary, Bob.
BTW, I still don't want an engagement ring. Where you want to go on the next trip?

45 comments:

  1. How wonderful. That's a long time to be happily married, and it looks like you've both done quite a bit of something right. Love the old pictures, and the new ones. Thanks for sharing them, and Happy Anniversary. Hope you have many, many more. :-)

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    1. Thanks DJan. Marriage is always an adventure.

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  2. This made me so happy. What a great life! May you two continue to fall in love and continue to travel new roads together.

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    1. Thank you Ms. Moon. Will always work toward that goal.

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  3. At this stage in life, I'm about hotels with wonderful beds, rooftop views, and food prepared by others. What a wonderful story... Happy Anniversary and here's to many more!!

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    1. Aren't wonderful beds great? Thanks for your wishes.

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  4. Sounds lovely to enjoy.I love this part of the country and one can go forever on the frerry. Pike Place Market hopefully was a hit.

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    1. I liked the market better than my husband. He had a tad of claustrophobia in there. But, oh, how beautiful it was.

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  5. Really fun to read as my hubs and I did much the same thing about 10 years earlier! Who knew we weren't invincible!?!?!? The things we dared to do then would never be attempted now :) Thanks for a truly great day brightener !

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    1. :Who knew we weren't invincible!?!?!?:"

      Absolutely. I'm so glad we did it, too.

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  6. We still fall in love with each other. Some days. Most days.
    Really touching and so pleased for you both.
    What great memories . . . . . lovely story :)
    Cheers ~ Eddie

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  7. What a delightful post! GlaD you got to Washington in style.

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    1. Style Indeed. I did love the nature though - and my bed inside at night. Getting old, I guess.

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  8. AHHHHHHH.... fabulous post! Life goes by, doesn't it? But so great when you can see the years between then and now and know that .... it's all good.
    Submit this to a mag, would ya? It's that great.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. Submit? I'm so far away from that venture anymore. Perhaps time to readjust.

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  9. I remember the beginning or you honeymoon well. Love the pic of Dad and I towing the VW behind the Buick! Also, hearing first hand Mom's quote about you having a honeymoon. The best of this writing is your quote " we fall in love again some days...most days". This so needs to be published.

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    1. Thanks, Jon. I'm so far away from the publishing world now. Perhaps need to refocus.

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  10. Happy Anniversary to my two most favorite people!

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  11. You make me laugh and cry at the same time. Parts of your story sound vaguely familiar... Not the exact experience, but the thoughts and feelings. That's why your writing is so great to read. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Happy Anniversary............great honeymoon with great memories! You haven't changed very much at all lovely lady! xo

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    1. Thank you, Bernie. So lovely to see your comment.

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  13. Great story, Julie. Y'all are so stinkin' cute! Has Bob ever shaved that moustache? :-)

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    1. He did once about 20 years ago. I didn't like it. I don't think he did either. Has had it since.

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  14. Happy Anniversary! I really enjoyed your approach in the second visit to the area. We love being outside and seeing nature, but prefer a nice bed with AC over a tent in the snow.

    And congrats on the 50 state accomplishment. I have always wanted to do that, but have like 20 or so to go. I better get on that.

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    1. Good luck with the 50 state deal. Just have to get in the car and drive -- a lot.

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  15. That's my kind of love story! You two looked so happy and hopeful - in all the pictures actually. Where will you go next? I can recommend the Grand Canyon. :-)

    Am I still going to get to see you next week?

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  16. What a sweet tribute to the kind of love that lasts. Congratulations on making it so far for so long!

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    1. Thank you, Green Girl. Sometimes it only seems like 2 or 3 hundred years.

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  17. Aww, man. This entire post is filled with so much love it makes me bawl the whole way through. What wonderful parents you both have. And what a great relationship. Still going strong. Love it. Love all the pics.
    Happy Anniversary!

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    1. Thanks, Kat. We were blessed with our families.

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  18. Great story, both the long-ago and the recent. And the some days/most days quote. Also, congrats on making it to all 50 states!

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  19. Oh, this is so lovely. The story of your honeymoon juxtaposed with this recent trip makes each all that much richer. Well done, all around.

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    1. Thanks, Jocelyn. Know you love the traveling, too.

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  20. Great then and now story. It brings up many happy memories for us as well. We're on our 48th and honeymoon across Canada to Vancouver Island and back to Minnesota where our teaching careers began

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    1. You guys liked the road trip, too. Congrats on 48.

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  21. Oh I am so far behind in blog reading but I'm glad that this one was still your current post. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. What great memories you have. You two look nearly as fresh-faced as you did starting out. Lovely post.. but clam sauce poutine? My Quebec roots are heaving. ;)

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    1. I probably could heave right along with you. Poutine is not my thing, but had to try.

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  22. I was older when I married. It probably has its benefits, as we can all find the good in most situations. However, the drawback is that I didn't get to do something wild and crazy like I would have done if I'd married in my twenties.
    A fun and sentimental story to read!
    When my last kid leaves for college, maybe I'll use this post as inspiration. LOL

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  23. I forgot to add: It was good to hear a bit about your Mom in this post. What she said to you is true to the person I got to know in her blog. :)

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