29 Glorious Years–And Counting

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary. As Jim and I are want to say, usually with a grimace, “29 glorious wonderful years…” The grimace is actually for show. The years have had their ups and downs, but there is no one I would have wanted to spend them with than Jim. LOML is his nickname. Love of my life. It is accurate.

Jim and I actually met 31 years ago. I was working at Warner Books as an assistant and this new guy started as an assistant to the publisher. He was pretty cute. My friend, Jill, and I decided to check him out and we invited him to lunch in the cafeteria. He spent the entire 45 minutes working on a crossword puzzle. I decided he was a loser and ignored him for the next six months. Finally, in late winter a bunch of assistants all went out one evening and I ended up sitting next to Jim. You know, he wasn’t actually that bad. He was funny and smart and not the complete dork I had thought he was.

Continuing his streak of cluelessness, nothing happened. Hours were spent with Jill and I discussing why this guy wouldn’t ask me out. Did he not like me? Was he gay? What wasn’t happening here? Finally, I got tired of waiting and I asked him out and I also asked him what the problem was that he hadn’t asked me. He said he didn’t have enough money to buy me dinner. I told him I could jolly well pay for my own dinner and that was that.

We began to see each other. Jim lived at Riverside and 105th Street. His apartment was the top floor of a brownstone and he had roof access. The view was fantastic of the Hudson River all the way up and down the West Side. That was the only good thing about the apartment. It was a dump. There was a hole in the middle of the kitchen floor. An actual hole. The bathroom sink was cracked and he and his room mate had to keep a bowl in the sink to catch the water. It gets worse. The place was infested with roaches. They would crawl on them at night and they had a special hairbrush called “Killer” to deal with the problem. Needless to say, I never even sat down in that apartment. My apartment was much cleaner.

After we had been seeing each other a couple of weeks, I had a planned tennis vacation to the Caribbean. I would be gone a week. When I got back there was a postcard in the mail from Jim. I don’t remember what it said exactly, but I knew what it meant. To celebrate my return Jim wanted to make dinner for me. Obviously, this would take place a my apartment, not his. He pulled out all the culinary stops and made overcooked Shake-N-Bake. A gourmet triumph it wasn’t, but it was an example of this sweet and thoughtful fellow I had met.

My mom visited at Easter and was the first family member to pass judgement on my new beau. We walked Fifth Avenue in the Easter parade and had a good weekend. She returned home and filed a positive report on Jim with my father. He was due to visit shortly, but his initial curiosity and parental concern was partly satisfied by my mother’s report.

Two days later my father died. I was at the office when the call came. He just hadn’t woken up. To say this was earth shattering would be a tremendous understatement. I flew home to a complex and grief-stricken situation. Things were very complicated with my step-mother and all the attendant strains and misconduct that can take place in difficult situations. After two days I called Jim and asked him to come help me. I needed someone in my corner and my mother couldn’t do it.

Jim didn’t have enough money for a downpayment on a phone. He lived in a dump. He had work obligations as an assistant. We had only been seeing each other a few short weeks. He didn’t hesitate, but got on a plane and flew to Chicago. He had my back. With unfailing thoughtfulness and concern, he helped me through this difficult time.

When we got back to New York, Jim moved in with me. I was in deep grief and he lived across town without a phone. So he just stayed to be with me. He has never left. That is the foundation of 29 glorious years. We’ve had our share of troubles, but we have only grown closer. We are a team and we are best friends. Jim has taught me much about the value of quiet and constant support. Over the years we have grown kinder to each other and learned to cherish the things we love about each other and to accept the things we love less. I could not and would not want to imagine my life without my LOML.

We have been lucky to have three deeply-adored and cherished children. I wish for each of them that they, too, can find a life partner. Someone to share the days and nights and months and years with. I could not wish anything more previous for them.  Thank you, Jim, I am so very fortunate.

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6 Comments to “29 Glorious Years–And Counting”

  1. A touching and romantic story, and I would not quibble with a single detail. Your my LOML, too!

  2. You are blessed. Have a wonderful anniversary and rejoice Isnt it amazing how some of the darkest times sometimes lead to great joy. The story of your coutship brightend my day
    Love
    dawn

  3. A very thoughtful and loving tribute
    Ferd

  4. What a great, inspiring story–happy anniversary to you both!

  5. Lovely. Moving and charming.

  6. Lovely. Thank you for telling it. And, congratulations!

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