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Friday, June 29, 2012

I WAS A CHILD BRIDE


No, I wasn’t married in a Third World country.
No, I wasn’t pregnant.
No, we didn’t elope.

At seventeen, I was a college freshman because I’d skipped sixth grade. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, but I knew I loved my extremely smart, funny, compassionate, family-oriented guy. 

My groom wasn’t much older than me—although Uncle Sam insisted my beloved man-child was old enough to go to war. When his birth date had come up number eight in the draft lottery, we knew it was only a matter of time before he’d be drafted into the army, learn how to kill people and get sent to Vietnam to do so.

 We’d met and gotten to know each other while still in high school as volunteers raising money for the American Freedom from Hunger Foundation. Now a firefighter for the Forestry Department, he opted to join the Coast Guard. He wanted to save lives, not to end them, my hero. To serve his country in a different, but still dangerous, way.

 A month after we started dating (nearly a year after we met), we had begun to plan a future together. For Valentine’s Day, he gave me a cedar hope chest. (Ask your grandmother what that meant.) When I graduated from high school, he gave me an engagement ring. Six months later, just a month before he was to report to Coast Guard Aviation Electronics Tech School on the other side of the continent, we married.

My parents liked my beloved. I know they must have had reservations about the marriage, but they showed us unflagging support, which meant the world to us. They married during WWII at nineteen and twenty, and they were still happily married and successful. As my own children reached the age of seventeen, I came to appreciate how hard it must have been for them to have me marry so young.

We were blessed to find each other and recognize the significance of that discovery at an early age. We were blessed with the support of our families. We were blessed with an adventurous life that helped us grow even closer over the years. Forty years, two college degrees, eight states, three children and ten grandchildren later, we’re still married. 

I’m even more in love with my hero than I was at seventeen.

There are many roads to Happily Ever After.


9 comments:

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sarah,
What a romantic time you had of it, meeting your hero so early in your life. It was a lovely, lovely story. Wonderful that things are still going so well for you both.

Regards

Margaret

Paty Jager said...

Sarah, What wonderful account of your romance with your husband. I love it when marriages that most thing won't work out do. My brother and his wife were sweethearts all through high school and married shortly after they graduated and they are still going strong.

Diana Mcc. said...

Here's to your happiness and the wonderful success of your marriage!! :)) Wonderful true life story, and I've enjoyed watching it unfold. Love to the two "Love Birds". Your Sister

Sarah Raplee said...

Magaret, Paty, and diana,

I'm glad you enjoyed our story.

Thanks for stopping by,

Sarah

Sarah Raplee said...

I've edited this post for accuracy. My mother read it and told me I had some facts wrong about her wedding. Her mother and my dad's mother DID attend Mom and Dad's wedding. The cost of a train ticket from Pennsylvania to South Carolina (where my dad was stationed) was too much for Mom's sisters to attend, and her father couldn't afford to take time off from work. Her family did support them. I'm glad.

Judith Ashley said...

I think both of you were wise souls in young bodies. What's especially wonderful is that you can write from personal experiences rather than imagination or observation what it takes to create a marriage that lasts!

Unknown said...

Hi Sarah.

I loved reading this post -- it really made me smile! What a wonderful example you both are.

-Melia Alexander

Sarah Raplee said...

But Judith, there are many roads to Happily Ever After! LOL Although I have learned a thing or two over the years.

I'm so glad you enjoyed our story, Melia! If I can make someone smile, my job is done.

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Sarah,

I'm late in chiming in but I just had to comment on your beautiful post. Your husband is absolutely romantic--to give you a hope chest for your future with him. What a unique spin on a centuries old tradition.

What a legacy you two have created--10 grandchildren. How proud you must be of your many offspring. No wonder you're so busy. You have a very fulfilling life!