Thirty-nine Trips Around the Sun

Wedding CandleI can not believe that since our wedding day, my husband and I have made 39 trips around the sun on Planet Earth together. The memories of this voyage float around my brain like pictures taken from an orbiting spacecraft.

I can still remember what he was wearing the day I met him in 1973—tight gold corduroy pants and a green and gold turtleneck sweater.

His hair was long and brown then, and he had a goatee. That was the day my heart nearly stopped beating and time stood still—sort of like Maria in the scene, Dance at the Gym from the musical, West Side Story.

We had grown up just 40 miles from each other in New Jersey, but never met until that rainy February day in Menlo Park, California. It all seems so insane now, that less than a year after that first meeting, we married on the beach at Half Moon Bay.

Those early years were awash in watercolor hues painted in broad and spontaneous strokes. Cruising in our 1965 blue Plymouth Fury was all we needed to entertain ourselves. We camped in ghost towns in Nevada, rafted around Lake Tahoe, drank wine from a bota bag in the Sierras, ate bologna sandwiches on the beach and panned for gold in the creeks near the Mother Load. As long as we were together, we were happy.

Money was tight back then, but we didn’t care. It came in and went right back out again as we feasted on life and whatever came next. I remember once we paid the rent in pennies and another time we wrote a check to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District with no funds in the bank so we could cross the bridge and make it home. We had gone to Point Arena looking for abalone shells and not only found shells in great abundance, but also a live abalone whose meat we fed to the dog. At the time, we had no idea of the extraordinary price of the mollusk or how delicious it was.

A few years later, my decision to return to college led us to putting in long days and even longer weeks. Still, we managed to have fun when and where we could. And when my new skills and knowledge made it possible for us to start our own business, we did, with nothing but a dream, persistence and a small savings.

We moved 21 times in 39 years—across three time zones, to three different states on three coasts before returning to the place that we always considered home. We lived in a trailer park as well as an upscale home. Once, we thought we would not have anywhere to live at all. We owned brand new cars, and vehicles that were falling apart. We even drove one automobile that had its underpinnings held together with a coat hanger.  When we lost the coat hanger and much of what it secured somewhere in the Nevada desert, we chugged and sputtered all the way home, laughing through a cloud of exhaust fumes.

Along our journey, we created a son who inherited our nomadic genes and traveled around the world to explore different cultures. Sometimes, I wish he would embrace the mainstream suburban life a bit more and settle down in a well-manicured neighborhood. But then, he is one of us, so why would he do that? We three seem to dance to the beat of our hearts—which is not always practical—or financially wise.

Now, on our 39th solar revolution, I look back at where we have been, ponder who we have become and get dizzy from how fast time has passed. We live a modest life surrounded by love and soft ocean breezes where each peaceful day melts into another dreamy night.

I’m always asked how we did it. How did we manage to stay together for 39 years in an era when some folks don’t stay together much more than 39 months, and in a state where many marriages don’t last 39 weeks?

I don’t know the answer to that. I only know that if I had one wish, it would be that we could have 39 more crazy trips around the sun together.


About bohemianopus

I live a gypsy’s life. I dance to the music in my head when no one else is looking. I can hear the stars sing, taste the sky, and see music in living color. I talk to animals. And the homeless. I believe that open fields are for flowers, critters, running, and making love – not war. I love to feel the sand between my toes, the wind in my hair, and the rain on my face. I often contradict myself. No I don’t. I hate to drive and sometimes hit the curb when I park. When I am bored, I fantasize about being a famous Broadway star. I do not know how to merge, speak Lithuanian or cook. I am West Coast in a Jersey sort of way. I can not tell a lie with a straight face. I think there should be an “off” switch for obnoxious, loud or boring people. I keep a sleeping bag in my truck in case I simply don’t want to leave. I once owned a heavyweight belt signed by Mohammad Ali. I am loved. Most importantly, I cherish each day as if it were my last.
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8 Responses to Thirty-nine Trips Around the Sun

  1. What a lovely story, Pat.

  2. Uma says:

    Congratulations.. Now that is called true love. I’m glad you found yours : )

  3. Rupert says:

    That’s a lovely story. I have met lots of travellers who dance to the beat of their hearts on my own journeys and you all inspire me to do the same.

  4. Emily-Jane says:

    It’s so nice to read (in a nutshell) your marriage story. How happy it seemed and still is! I loved seeing the retro photos of your hippy wedding and your ‘now’ photo together still. It’s so lovely! I’m happy to read about how you enjoy each other still after all these years. I have been married 28 and although I’m probably going to stay married, all isn’t as lovely or rosey as yours seems. I suppose I need to focus on the positive instead of letting the negative always bump its way up to the forefront.

    Either way, I’m so happy you shared this story with us all. I hope you have many, many more trips around the sun with your hubby. A toast to you two!


    • bohemianopus says:

      Emily, Thank you for your kind words!

      I must admit, I left out some of the not-so-rosey parts out because they fade into oblivion when I look at the big picture. It also helps that my husband lets me do whatever I please and supports every “hair-brained” idea I propose. I think two people have to put their relationship above everything else for it to work. And we have.

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