Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Birthday to My Husband

 Memories of those days long ago 
have become a bit blurred around the edges.

You,

the focal point of my life when I was sixteen,
and you were seventeen,

embodied

 all that my young girl's imagination
 desired in a young man
 to whom she could give her heart.

We were young,
but we had our dreams for the future.

You were so steady.
Always the good 
student, 
you were popular with your peers and your teachers.
You,
the student athlete,
thrilled my heart,
as I, sitting on the grass at Runyon field,
watched you play first base with such confidence and skill.


You, King of the Sock Hop,
a senior,
big man on campus,
brought me,
a sophomore girl, with absolutely no self-confidence,
to that dance where you reigned as king.

You were genuine.
A real gem.
I wasn't the only one who realized what a great guy you were.
All the other girls in the school voted you as king of the sock hop.

Those long ago days left me with such sweet memories:
prom,
movies,
drives in your car dragging Main,
City Park, where we would ride the merry-go-round,
picnics in Beulah, 
and your graduation from high school.

You told me the night you graduated what you would do with your life.
You said you would teach when you finished college.
You said you wanted me to marry you when we were done with college.
I was only sixteen.
You were seventeen.
I knew you would accomplish all you said you would accomplish.
You did.

You worked hard to pay your own way through college.
You taught German and English.
You became a high school counselor.
You became a high school principal.
You even married me.
That took a bit longer.
I never had the good sense to marry you until thirty years after that first proposal.

I carry many images of you in my head.
Yours is my favorite face to photograph.

In this one,
you are in your element.*


Presence,
that intangible aura of leadership,
is captured so well in this, 
one of my favorite photos of you.
This photo captured so much of you.

Your sparkly brown eyes framed by scholarly looking frames on your glasses,
are focused on the student to whom you are so intently listening.
That's you.
You are engaged and engaging.
The smile on your face reflects
your kind, fatherly heart,
and your sense of humor,
and of how much you love being with young people.

You are dressed in your black jacket South High School that you wore to all those football games.
The Colt emblem,
strategically placed over your heart,
speaks of your love for and devotion to the school where you served as principal.

You, the son of refugees, had donned this warm jacket for the ferry ride over the cold choppy waters to Ellis Island.
This place, a gateway for so many of the ancestors of your students,
was not the gateway for your family.
Your parents were refugees from Germany.
They escaped the Holocaust.

They had such dreams for you,
the son born on American soil,
the son born after your dear parents had taken such an arduous journey from Nazi Germany.

Your father wanted you to be a teacher,
"It is a noble profession," 
he said as he advised you during one of those treasured talks you would have with him on the front porch of your home during your youth.

He died during your first year of teaching.
He did not live to see you flourish in that noble profession.

I am the one able to see you come full circle from those days of 
hope,
dreams,
promise,
and
youth,
to this one moment in time 
when 
you
in your element,
fully engaged with the student toward whom
your head is slightly bent
give credence to the school motto which has become your legacy:
Do Right.
Be Kind.

***************

Tomorrow is your birthday.
When I look at your kind and loving face,
I know how blessed I am to have you in my life.
You, my dear husband,
have kept those traits that I recognized so many years ago.
Your faithfulness towards me is never in question.
Your love for me and your family has remained strong and supportive through so many storms of life.
You continue to make me smile and laugh at your great sense of humor.
You are so down to earth and loving.
You send me cute, loving little notes and emojis from you latest gadget, your Apple watch throughout the day.
You make me smile.
You bring joy to my heart.

So here we are in seventies.
How did we get here?

You never seem to age.
You continue to work at your new career at the Apple Store.
You come home from work full of enthusiasm and energy.
You are not one to retire.
When you are home, your favorite thing to do is to walk our dear Boston.
You love your boy.



Our lives are rich in love and companionship.


Your life has been a gift to me.
All those characteristics and traits that I hoped for in the man I hoped to marry someday when I was just a young girl
truly are embodied in you, 
my dear and cherished husband.

I love you beyond measure.

Happy birthday.



Credits: * I did not take the photograph of you on the ferry to Ellis Island.  It was captured by the mother of a student, the gifted writer and photographer Cathy Ames-Farmer.  





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