55 years ago a young man and woman sat in the backseat of a friends car, driving to a picnic lunch in Oklahoma. The couple in the front seat married, the two in the back, complete strangers. Both women in the car were best friends in high school. The two guys, both enlisted in the Air Force and became friends. The only reason the young man in the back even joined the other 3 on this outing was because as he calls it “some of the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.”
Those two strangers, were my parents.
53 years ago, the two stood in what was my grandparents front lawn and is now my home, and exchanged wedding vows. It was a small wedding, filled with family and close friends from both sides.
Due to distance, most of their “dating” was done via handwritten letters, mailed back and forth. My mom still has a stack of the ones my dad wrote her. After his time in the Air Force, he moved from his home in Iowa to Michigan, began working at Whirlpool, and once us kids came along became the Coach of just about everything. My mom working at a local beauty salon, until she took over the farm. Both of them working hand in hand with my grandparents on the farm after hours, sorting produce, loading trucks for the market, and even working the different ones occasionally.
I remember being younger and asking them about how they met, and my dad telling the story of that car ride all those years ago. It was another hot day, and here these two strangers were sitting in the back seat of a car, she holding the now famous chocolate cake, when it starts to slide all over. Heat + cake + frosting = bad. They were able to save the cake, but had many laughs along the way.
When I asked how they knew this would turn out to be something special, they both shrugged their shoulders. My dad chiming in with “Well I figured she couldn’t be that bad.”
55 year total, 53 years married, 4 kids (took them 3 previous tries to get it right on the 4th! HAHA!), and countless memories.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!