Fifty years ago today, Jim and I were married in a tiny chapel on Fort DeRussy in Honolulu, Hawaii. This whole marriage thing was quite the adventure.
Jim had been in Vietnam eight months and was due for R&R. He floated the idea that he could take R&R in Hawaii and we could get married. Once he got the approval, the only obstacle was money. I was a college student, and Jim had been sending his check to his mom and dad who were in dire financial straits.
Never to be deterred, Jim took what little money he had and won enough at craps game to buy my ticket and reserve a hotel room at the Ilikai.
I set off to Hawaii on a cold December day after just reading the book Airport. While waiting to board the plane I joked with my mom and dad about which of the passengers looked like a bomber. Well, the joke was on me when we made an emergency landing in Denver. Of course, they didn’t even tell us we were landing, but it became obvious as the ground got closer and closer. We landed on an apparently abandoned runway being followed by fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, and taxis. After spending several hours in a hanger, they finally told us that someone had called in a bomb threat for our flight.
They put us on a different plane and sent us on our way. When our flight got to San Francisco, we flew in circles for an hour above a thunderstorm until we were cleared to land. My connecting flight was long gone. I sat in the airport for the rest of the day waiting for a plane delayed by a snowstorm in New York.
Jim and I were supposed to get married on Friday, December 19, but it was late at night before I made it to Hawaii. The next day, we took a taxi up into the mountains to get our marriage license. Except, my family doctor used a form for my blood test that had additional information on it, but he only filled out the part required in Missouri. It had all the info needed in Hawaii, but she couldn’t accept an incomplete form.
Her husband drove us to a clinic in downtown Honolulu that transferred the info to a Hawaiian form. Then, we went back to the mountains to get the license. Guess what? The chapel closed at noon and we couldn’t make it back in time. Jim used his persuasive line of gab to get the chaplain to wait for us. When we came rushing through the door at one o’clock and handed him the license, he had his employees witness our signatures and excused them to go home.
I had never dreamed of a big wedding, but I certainly never thought I’d have a wedding with three people, including me and the groom!
Fifty years ago today, started the life that was to be mine for thirty-five years. We lived in poverty for several years, but eventually had a decent income. We had ups and downs, fights and abundant love.
We had a lot of years of “sickness” and not too many of health. I can’t say I wouldn’t have changed a thing, because I’d have definitely changed Jim’s mental and physical health, and would have skipped the dementia part completely. Still, the family that I love dearly today is possible because a couple of kids, who against all odds, got married on this day in 1969. Smiles to heaven, Jim. I am a much better person for having known your wholehearted love and loving you to the moon and back.
Copyright © December 2019 by L.S. Fisher