Judy on our Wedding Day
“Baseball and marriage have much in common. Both are a team effort. You can’t play baseball by yourself. You need others and have to get along with them. Marriage needs a partner. If marriage reaches a point where getting along is not possible, the marriage is over.” Peter Griffiths in the Daily Herald 1982
Today is our wedding anniversary eve, in fact our 26th anniversary. It was cool that we got to spend it together; this has not always been the case. Tonight the Deity Herself smiled upon us as on a beautiful night we watched our Norfolk Tides defeat the Pawtucket Red Socks 4-2. Tomorrow we start a 4 day road trip to Washington DC to celebrate our anniversary which will be topped off by a behind the scenes tour of the White House on Saturday Night arranged by a friend who I baptized on the way to Iraq, who is now on the National Security Council. His staff has bent over backward to make this happen and we are blessed. We will also see my old Commanding Officer from Marine Security Force Battalion, or now as it is called the Security force Regiment and his wife who are coming down from Annapolis to meet us Friday night.
So 26 years, as Jerry Garcia would say it has been a long strange trip. We met almost five years before we were married at San Joaquin Delta College. We got to know each other by hanging out between classes with mutual friends. In fact the things we did were almost like Seinfeld before Seinfeld came on. It was a relationship initially based on nothing, except that I had a Dorothy Hamill fetish and Judy had short brown hair. We started dating about 7 months after we met. We were co-conspirators at the Delta College German club where our German candy and bake sales were legendary, racking up huge profits for the club which enabled us to fund our own field trips to San Francisco and Monterrey. Our political prowess was also unmatched, as a small club we had few votes in student government which at the time was dominated by a rather large and active ethnic club. This club was a bit pushy the way it handled itself, so we cobbled together a coalition of the language, science and other kind of “nerdy” clubs, funded our candidate with our sales receipts, even passing our free candy on his campaign materials. He had an ethnic name and we used it to our advantage, we convinced a lot of people that our friend Tory was one of the other ethnic club’s candidates. We used his first name “Salvatore” in our advertising. This caused a split in the voting allowing our stealth candidate from an Asian club to become student body President. I guess had we had the wherewithal to pursue politics as a couple we might have been quite good, as both of us have pretty good instincts and I happen to be rather analytical and calculating at times. As it were this was the high point of our political career but our relationship was solidified as we shared in taking German club from a poor club of nerds to a campus economic and political powerhouse of nerds.
Us in 1980 at Cal State Northridge
We grew together over the years of our courtship playing off of our mutual twisted sense of humor and our faith. I followed Judy down to Cal State Northridge and a week after I was commissioned we got married at our home Church, East Side Presbyterian Church in Stockton. The eve of the wedding my ROTC friends took me out and tried to get me drunk, but I survived. The wedding itself was on a shoestring as Judy’s dad was out of work and her mom not working and playing well with others. Everything came together and our wedding looked like it cost a lot more than it did. We spent the next two weeks together before I went on active duty and Judy finished her last semester of college. We finally settled in Eckelhausen Germany, a tiny little town in the Saarland in April 1984 and lived in Germany for most of the first three years of our marriage.
Now as to anniversaries that we have spent together and apart; this is what makes 26 pretty special.
Wedding Day 25 June 1983 East Side Presbyterian Church
In 1984 I was in Landstuhl Army Medical Center dehydrated from a 2 week bout of gastroenteritis where I was so sick I was vomiting my anti-nausea medicine. I had lost almost 20 pounds and my company commander wouldn’t believe that I was sick until I threw up on his desk. It was his fault, I told him I was going to throw up and he told me that I had to stay. Oh well, that got me a ride in a Mercedes-Benz Ambulance to Landstuhl. In 1985 and 1986 I was in the field with my company. We were together in 1987 and 1988 in San Antonio, but from 1989-1997 we did not spend a single anniversary together due to military duties. We spent 1998 together but missed 1999 and 2000 after I came in the Navy. We got 2001 one together, but just barely as I returned from deployment a week before it. We missed 2002 as I was deployed to the Middle East and finally got 2003 together when we renewed our vows in Jacksonville Florida. 2004-2007 we celebrated on the road doing trips to minor league baseball games out of our area in either Pennsylvania or North Carolina. Last year we were together but I was not doing well having hit bottom with my PTSD about 100 or so days after returning from Iraq. So with this history in mind you can understand why this is special. We are 10 for 26 counting tomorrow. If we were a baseball team our record would be somewhere between the Indians and Nationals on a winning percentage at .386. However, if we were a hitter we would have a 386 batting average and that is not too shabby.
We have survived poverty and war, separation and tremendously difficult circumstances and we are still hanging on, and doing pretty good as a couple. We were never able to have children but we have had three really fun dogs, the latest of which, Molly, is looking over my shoulder as I write this now. We are different in the way that we are wired differently and have some different interests. We are both introverts with often strong opinions. But we love each other. I only came close to having her divorce me once, though murder may have played into her mind a time or two.
So here we are…26 years with a 10 and 16, .386 record. Even so Judy is the love of my life and we are together.
Take care and blessings,