I have done so many things wrong in my life. I have made so many mistakes. I’ve had my share of luck though, and I’ve made some good choices.
Fifty years ago, I had the best luck of my life when as an 18 year old boy I got married to a young girl named Paula Kay Neurauter. We were kids. Two naive people who had met scarcely six months earlier in college and fell in love. Two people who needed each other…much more than we ever knew at the time. Two people who didn’t know what marriage really meant but who went boldly into it full speed ahead.
Two people who didn’t know that we’d be parents who knew very little about parenting, with kids who practically grew up with us.
Two people who didn’t know we’d be grandparents very early in life, that we’d be fellow employees at the same company for a decade.
Two people who are friends.
Two people who didn’t know fifty years would pass by like a blur That time would relentlessly carry us past the wonderful, happy times, and the sad mournful times at the same speed. Time which makes long days, and short years From 18 to 68 in a hurry!
I want my wife to know there’s never been anyone for me but her. Through all she’s had to put up with, through everything we’ve shared both good and bad, she’s always stood by me.
I was thinking back just the other day about 1969….
A lot of things happened that year. The country was still in turmoil from what was probably one of the most historic years in its History in 1968. MLK and Robert Kennedy had died from assassins bullets that year. The war in Vietnam continued to escalate….1969 was much the same.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married on May 31, and then a few weeks later recorded “Give Peace a Chance” Teddy Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island…and his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died.
Charles Manson and his gang went on their “Helter-Skelter” killing spree. Manson’s followers thought him to be Jesus Christ.
Nixon was sworn in as President of the Unites States back in January…and continued to carpet bomb the Vietnamese. The Berkely riots took place in California….and in November a quarter of a million people staged a peaceful protest of the war in Washington D.C.
There was that little concert in New York that grew and grew, and became an iconic symbol of a generation. I think they called it Woodstock.
Mankind landed on the moon, and Neal Armstrong became the first human to set foot there…quite an accomplishment.
It was quite a year for me personally too. I continued to attend West Georgia College and just before the holiday break for Christmas I met a girl.
We dated the rest of the year. Went to the student center and played a lot cards together. Went to see some movies. We rode around with our friends Don Hunter and Karen Seay in Don’s old Dodge. We walked, we talked…and we fell in love.
When Paula told me sometime that spring that her parents were going to move to California, we decided that Paula would stay here in Georgia with me….permanently.
My little Yankee girl became my wife on June 14 of that year and 50 years later…she’s still here, putting up with me! (which takes an enormous amount of patience) She’s become a Southerner now after all those years. We’ve had four children and a passle of grandchildren. We’ve lived through a lot of things. Good things and some bad things. Ups and downs. We were kid’s back then in 1969. We really probably had no business getting married. We sure didn’t know anything! We’ve learned a lot in the last 50 years. I hope we have many more in which to learn.
I love you Sweetie! Happy Anniversary tomorrow!