GratiTuesday: Mom and Dad

By most standards, the beginning of my parents’ marriage did not bode well for its longevity. After meeting at a dance and dating for all of three months, they hopped on a bus to Las Vegas and got married. Because my father was in the army, they lived apart at first, only getting together for the short periods of time his leaves allowed. Then he shipped off to Europe with his outfit and was away for over a year.

My mother on her wedding day.
Two crazy kids in love.

Although they are both gone now, Valentine’s Day still means more to me than a Hallmark holiday; it is an annual reminder of the strength of their union, brought together in a time of war and fortified over the years as a relationship built on love, commitment, and shared values.

My brothers and I were lucky to be able to celebrate our parents’ 50th wedding anniversary with them. My mother passed away in 2000, a few years shy of their 60th.  Tomorrow, on their Valentine’s Day anniversary, I will say a heartfelt “thank you.” Thank you for giving us a happy, secure childhood. Thank you for emphasizing the importance of an education and continued learning. Thank you for instilling in us a passion for travel. Thank you for showing us what love looks like.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking a chance and hopping on that bus. We are grateful.

Author: RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

73 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Mom and Dad”

      1. interesting question. From what I understand about those times, what your folks did was not at all uncommon. Meet, fall in love, get married, go to war. Sometimes it worked out well, sometimes not.

  1. I am deeply touched by your message of gratitude to your parents. Although they are no longer with you, your post speaks of the love and sense of family that your parents were able to provide in a time that was not always easy for them. A heart-warming post so fitting for Valentine’s Day!

  2. I love writing about my parents and loved your piece. Coincidentally, I blogged about mine and Valentines Day this past weekend. I’m always so impressed with the stories of their generation.

  3. Such a lovely tribute to your parents, Janis. My parents also have a beautiful love story. Now, watching my father care for my mother, who has dementia, has been one of the most loving expressions of love that I’ve ever witnessed.

    1. Dementia is such a terrible disease (my father had it too) and, unfortunately, there appears to be no hope for a cure at this point. Your mother is fortunate to have such a loving husband (and, I suspect your father feels fortunate to be able to take care of her).

  4. What a lovely tribute to your parents. It’s funny how people rushed to get married before going off to war. My parents married shortly after the war ended and they were very happy for over 30 years before my father died, way too young, at age 64 (the age I am now). I met the “one” after a failed first marriage, and I treasure every day with him. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  5. Their story is very similar to my parents with a marriage followed by my father quickly being shipped off by the military. But the love endured all of that. A really nice Valentine’s Day reminder, Janis. Thanks for sharing. – Marty

    1. Times were different and splitting up was less of an option. People stayed together and worked things out. When there is a good foundation to a marriage, I think love can endure most bumps in the road. Nice to know that your parents had a similar story.

  6. Hi Janis…..I’m a new follower of your blog, and I couldn’t have come in to a nicer blog! Your parents sound like such a happy, loving couple, and what a romantic way to start their life together. Not sure how much ‘romance’ they encountered during that first year, but clearly they were committed to each other for the duration . They were definitely products of the Greatest Generation!!

    Wonderful tribute to your parents. Wonderful memories and life lessons from your parents. Happy Valentines Day!
    •••Ginger•••

    1. Hi Ginger… welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting! It amazes me to think how easily they could have passed in the night and never met. But, luckily for my brothers and me they did and then took a big chance and got married after just a few months. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day too!

  7. Some fairytales do last! What a beautiful tribute to your parents. Almost 60 years of marriage is quite the feat. And, so “funny” they were married on Valentine’s Day. Was this a thing back in the forties? My parents have been married for about 40 years, but we did celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my in-laws over ten years ago (in 2007), which indirectly led to Mark and I getting married a month later. 🙂 Their 60th anniversary was just a small family gathering.

    1. I am grateful that we were able to have a lovely celebration of my parents’ 50th with many of their life-long friends in attendance. I have friends who were married on Valentine’s Day too… it’s probably helpful for remembering anniversaries, but I wouldn’t want to compete for restaurant reservations 🙂 I noticed that there were a number of greeting cards with a “Happy Valentine’s Day/Anniversary” message, so I guess it’s still a “thing.”

  8. What a wonderful story! I absolutely love the photo of your mother on her wedding day. She just looks so young, eager and poised! My parents married young and had 65 years before my dad passed away. He wasn’t quite old enough for WWII so they were never separated after marrying in 1951. I have had many friends tell the story of their parents, newly married, and then separated by time served overseas! I think those couples, including your parents, are to be truly admired. I’m glad you shared about your mom and dad. A truly lovely story!

    1. I love that picture too! It must have been hard to be separated right after getting married (and in my parents’ case, while just getting to know each other) and to have to rely on a very iffy postal system to stay in touch. Fortunately, they kept it together and then created a wonderful life for themselves… and then for us kids too. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  9. What a touching tribute to your parents! They may have had an unusual beginning (although in those days, it was more common than now), but clearly they were meant for each other and provided you and your siblings with a loving family and home. What more can you ask for? Thanks for this affirming post!

  10. I cannot imagine being married close to 60 years. It’s fun to think about it, and certainly your parents proved that it can be done. And done well, at that. What a fun Valentine’s Day memory to share.

  11. A perfect topic for a Valentines Day gratitude post, Janis. I love seeing the photos of your parents, imagining how they felt as they started their lives together.

    1. I am so grateful that I have these old pictures of my parents. Growing up, it was hard to imagine they had a life before kids. Now that I’m older (and, unfortunately, they are gone) I wish I had asked more questions about that period of their lives.

  12. Beautiful tribute to your parents and their commitment to each other, Janis. I am always so impressed with the war time romances and marriages that lasted a lifetime.

    1. I’m in a situation similar to Dr. Sock’s, which is why I was fortunate to dig up my parent’s old photos while one of them is still with us and has a memory like an elephant (mostly) though mainly re events that happened a long time ago vs. in the prior 5 minutes. We found stuff that Dad had kept that even Mom doesn’t know about, unfortunately.
      We lost Dad in 2005, just before he and Mom would have celebrated their 50th anniversary.

      1. Those pictures are so precious! Many of the old family pictures we have are of people who are strangers to me. Fortunately, my mother had a large extended family in St. Louis who can fill in many of the gaps (at least on her side). You are so lucky to still have your mom.

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