A little ditty about Jack and Diane
Two American kids growing up in the Heartland…
Oh, wait…Wrong story.
But this is still a love story about two teenagers.
Only they were growing up in coastal, fishing town.
Today my parents celebrate 40 years since they stood before a judge and declared their love and commitment to one another.
Take a stroll back in time with me to see how it all began.
The year was 1976.
The town was small enough that if you didn’t know another teenager that you might pass, then you knew somebody who knew them.
My mom was at the teenage hangout of her neighborhood (the development’s laundromat).
16 years old with long brown hair that traveled down her back.
And in walks this guy, a few years older than her.
His reddish-blonde hair reaching his shoulders.
He heads for the soda vending machine.
She tells him that he has to get a 7Up. She’s collecting the cans.
It’s the bicentennial and there is a can for each state. He gets the 7Up, but then he appears to be leaving. She tells him that she needs the can when he’s finished.
And that is meeting number one.
They have mutual friends. So he finds out how to reach her. He knows the owners of the local convenient store. The owners wouldn’t mind if they look through the cans to find the states that she is looking for. She asks her mom if she can go. “What’s his name?”, she asks. My mom tells her. “What’s his last name?” She doesn’t know, but he is friends with one of her good friends, so my grandma says ok.
And that is meeting number two.
And so begins a love story.
They will go on dates.
They will sit at the beach while my dad plays his guitar.
They will talk for hours.
And they will become inseparable.
Their thoughts will turn to thoughts of marriage.
And 3 months after meeting they will stand before a judge at the county courthouse and declare their love and commitment.
My mother, 17, and my father, 19, out to begin this adventure of life together.
Building a future together.
Not having all the answers.
Not being able to see over the horizon to what is waiting on the other side.
Together, step by step, journeying forward.
And 40 years of sunrises and sunsets later, they have come to today.
They have raised two children through all the aches and joys that come with parenting.
They have taught us, directed us, counseled us, loved us, and created memories with us.
My father has walked me down the aisle and placed me in the arms of my husband.
They have sat at the hospital waiting to welcome each of their 5 grandchildren into this world.
Lastly, they have shown us what it means to be family.
For forty years they have loved the best and worst of each other.
They have traveled through sicknesses and deaths, but they have also traveled together through the miracles of life and the beauty of companionship.
Today and every day, I am forever thankful for what they have taught me about love and commitment.
They have shown me that it isn’t always easy, but is always definitely worth the effort.
I leave this love story with a poem that I wrote summing up their 40 years together in some simple lines.
And here is to them creating many more memories over many more years!
Let your light shine!