I photographed the pictures in my wedding book and there is a glare on each one.
June 14 is Flag Day in America.
Barry and I were married June 14, fifty-one years ago, in the First Methodist Church in Albany, Georgia. I could not possibly forget my anniversary because flags are always flying on that day.
I remember being so nervous and anxious that I cried all morning. I could not quit crying no matter what. The more I cried the more I feared that I would be bawling my eyes out as I walked down the aisle.
Finally someone gave me a tranquilizer that calmed my jitters so I could go on with the wedding. I loved my wedding dress with the layers of lace and the mantilla over my hair. Mother and I found it in Moultrie, Georgia. On a school teacher’s salary, I had little money to spend and wondered if I would find a pretty dress, but the perfect dress was waiting for me and it had a very reasonable price tag.
My sister, Gay, was my maid of honor and Barry’s brother, Richard, was his best man. The day is still a blur to me. But once we were in the car and on our way to Gatlinburg, TN where we spent the most marvelous week, I was the happiest bride on earth.
Isn't my sister beautiful? She is helping put on the blue garter I wore. Every bride had a picture posed this way in the sixties.
When I remember how young we were and how unprepared for marriage, the ups and downs we would face, the stresses of making ends meet on two small salaries, learning to live with someone who had habits different from mine, and getting to know the families we were now a part of, I am so grateful that my parents never interfered or tried to give us advice. We worked out our problems on our own. His parents seemed to be very happy for us, and my family had fallen for Barry early on. Why not? No one could resist him.
|My sister, Gay, me, Barry and Richard Beall. Were we really that young?|
To me marriage was a commitment for life. “For better or for worse, till death do we part.” No matter how upset I became, I knew we could compromise and work things out. I never let the thought of divorce enter our conversations or enter my thoughts.
Communication is the key to solving most disagreements, I believe. When two people love each other and want their marriage to work, if they can speak in rational terms, an agreement can be found. Each one must be willing to give 100 percent.
Barry has been gone from me for six years, but his spirit is here all the time, in this house. Someone asked me if having his pictures around me didn’t make me sad. No, they bring me pleasure. They bring back wonderful memories. Making memories that live on when loved ones are gone is part of being human. If a photo brings tears to my eyes, that is Okay. To cry is to show the love we have for one who is gone. We can’t be afraid to feel love, to feel grief and pain. To live is to know joy and sorrow.
In the picture above, we are dressed to leave the wedding reception at the church and start our new life together. What a life we had! If only that young girl had known what I know now, but she had to learn on her own that life will not always be as perfect as it was that day. She survived losses she thought she couldn't endure and difficulties of various kinds, but in surviving she grew stronger. She knew happiness she had never imagined she would experience.