I was going to add this as a post script to my brief mention of our 56th anniversary yesterday but decided to make this a stand alone post because of the size. I thought I would share these memories before they start to fade away.
April 29, 1960
I was in the middle of a 4 year enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard. It was a good time. The world was at peace, we were in between wars as it seems. The Korean War was almost a decade old and we were a few years away from getting involved in Vietnam. I was 20 years old and not even old enough to vote. And I met the girl of my dreams.
We dated for almost a year and decided to make it official with a small wedding in the Catholic Church in the town where she grew up. Apart from finding my life-long soul mate, my stint in the Coast Guard was the most uneventful time of my life. I grew up on Long Island, NY and after enlisting went to Cape May, NJ for boot camp. Then was assigned to a group of lifeboat stations on Long Island 30 miles from home. Never got to see the world like those guys who joined the Navy.
We took the subway into Manhattan to spend 5 days on our honeymoon. Ate at The Cattlemen’s, the best steak restaurant ever. Went to see Ben Hur on Broadway. Fondest memory that I never told anyone before was when Jacqueline told me that when we were about to go into a restaurant one night a prostitute tried to solicit me and I didn’t even notice her because I only had eyes on my wife.
After my discharge I started work with Pan American World Airways at Idlewild, later to become JFK International Airport. In the following 30 years I made up for that Manhattan subway honeymoon. Working for Pan Am had some wonderful travel benefits and we went to lots of places where honeymoons are supposed to happen. The flights to California and the days spent in Yosemite National Park, visit friends in Santa Fe, NM, the Whale-watching trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington, two trips to Hawaii and one that took in 4 island hops, two trips to St. Thomas, then later on to see the Black Forest in Germany for our 30th anniversary, and, of course, the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. And to cap off our 10-day trip, a train ride from Munich to Zurich to spend 5 days before our return flight home. It was exciting when we discovered that we were followed by a plain-clothed German police officer all the way on the train. Yeah, I know, those were the start of some difficult times.
56 years ago we pledged to love each other in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. I am proud to say we have kept our word.
There's a running joke here with this photo. Jacqueline had a penchant for stopping at every stream in Yosemite Park to sample the mountain high fresh water. And every time I kept telling her a bear had probably taken a bath in it upstream.
And then came the Rottweilers.
And a new life filled with excitement began in Kentucky, thanks to my 10-years with Delta Air Lines... and 20 years with my new best friends.