This year I am a little more thankful. I am thankful for 18,342-plus days and more than 2,616 Saturdays. I am thankful for 50 years of marriage. It is hard to admit that I have been married for 50 years because it puts me in an age group I try to deny.
I was in my first term in college and I was feeling free and certain of my destiny. I was going to get a degree and then go on to some big city to conquer the world of marketing. As they say, "Life is what happens when you are making other plans."
Theater was another love of mine. I had tried out for the college's fall theater production of Cyrano de Bergerac and we were in dress rehearsals. On my way to the rehearsal, I met some of the crew and they decided we had time to go to a local hang out. They were all veterans going to school on the GI Bill. I knew three of the four and it was the fourth vet that would change my life.
It was a well-accepted view that girls went to college to get their Mrs. degree and not their bachelor's. That was not true for me but after my first year in college, I added a Mrs. to my name.
We started our marriage in a small apartment in the campus-married housing. On a recent trip to the campus, we drove by the apartment and it had not changed. I still marvel at the journey that began in that little one bedroom apartment. I still have a turquoise salt and pepper set that matched the colors of the metal cabinets.
The progression of houses started after my husband graduated and started his working career. In view of the costs of current house prices and salaries, I still wonder how we made it on $100 a week. Out of that salary, I had $20 to spend on groceries for two weeks.
Along with the houses came the children. We had three very active and sweet children within the first five years of our marriage. The third, a daughter, was born on the day before my 25th birthday.
My husband was promoted three weeks after our daughter's birth to a town in a distant state. He was not able to get home very often, which meant I had to sell the house and get ready to move on, all with three children younger than 5.
I often think about the turmoil our country was going through in the 1960s. I had my own turmoil to deal with, so that time is sort of a blur. The headlines of those years really started with the death of President Kennedy. I will never forget watching Lee Harvey Oswald being shot live on television.
It is now 50 years since I met the wonderful person who has been sharing my life .To say it was all a bed of roses would not be true unless you think that roses have thorns. Raising children, forging careers, building lives can be exhilarating and frustrating all at the same time.
During all these years, I have wondered in awe how we managed to live in the same house and yet be thankful to have that person on the other side of the bed each night. Of all the things I think I know, I believe one thing. Love is a gift. Love is a treasure to nurture and protect and I am so thankful for this gift and all it has brought to my life.
Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.