This year includes a couple of very special occasions that are near and dear to my heart. The first, we’ll celebrate with all of you in just a couple of months, as 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of our humble publication, Discover Vintage America. Look for our anniversary issue hitting antique stores near you this August. But more on that later.
Another 50th-anniversary celebration will take place this month – that of my parents’ wedding, which our entire family will mark with an outdoor party.
My parents were married on June 15, 1973, on a hot summer day that was made even hotter in the church where they stood and recited their vows. The building was not air-conditioned, and one of the groomsmen fainted due to the heat. It’s a story my parents have told me many times over the years.
In their wedding photos, my dad sports a head of shaggy, dark hair, with a mustache to match. Mom looks radiant in her dress, with her long, blonde hair cascading down past her shoulders. They are a picture of youthful energy and optimism in their long future together.
When many people reflect on their parents’ marriage, it usually is accompanied by a statement like, “Marriages just don’t last like theirs anymore.” It’s a sentiment that’s difficult not to repeat as I look at so many of my friends whose parents’ marriage dissolved long ago.
I’m incredibly blessed to say that mine, however, have managed to retain that youthful sparkle in their eyes, which grew even brighter as we sat a few months ago and talked about what they would like for their anniversary.
My mom told my brother and I that all she wants is a gathering with her closest family members – one where they can enjoy one another’s company in the sunshine of summer. How convenient, as my mother’s side of the family already gathers every Father’s Day at Wyandotte County Park for an annual cookout.
Such a simple request shouldn’t be surprising, should it? The older we become, the less emphasis we place on material possessions such as gifts (my folks are at the age where they’ve already acquired nearly everything they could need or want, anyway), and added emphasis is placed on making memories with loved ones.
After all, Mom reminded me, her circle of close family members shrinks by the year as people age and die. Making more memories with their remaining loved ones, memories in which my parents can comfortably wrap themselves in the coming years, will be much more meaningful than any tangible item that might be enjoyed in the moment and then unceremoniously put away somewhere.
So, a party it will be, one in which our family can revel in the power of a life of shared challenges and victories, where they can celebrate decades of love and devotion. The family members we have lost over the years will be present in their own way on this special day, too, living on the lips of those of us who share memories and tales of them. What better way to pay tribute to a marriage and, by extension, a life?