I'd graduated from HS at 17. I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do with my life. I spent the next 18 months job hopping. I roughnecked on oil rigs, worked in a steel mill, an army ammunition plant, a glass factory, a furniture factory, for an engineering firm...then I turned 19.
WAKE UP CALL! I got an invitation I couldn't refuse.... a US government paid train ticket to Chicago .....a voucher for 1 night all expenses paid in the YMCA in Chi-town. The next day I passed my draft physical.
I listened to my father a former Chief Bosun' and quickly enlisted in the Navy with 51 days of delayed entry.
12 days before leaving for bootcamp, out with my drinking buddies...I said I'd like a date with a blonde who had a good personality. In the dark...sitting in the back seat of a '66 Chevy I could see their heads turn towards each other. "We know the girl!" The next night she pulled up beside my '64 Chevy SS Impala convertible in her little green '64 Merc.....She was so shy in those days, I am surprised she had the courage...she got out.....walked over to my car "Are you Ken? " When I answered "Yes!" She said " I'm Sharon and I"m your date."...
3 days later....3 dates later I asked her to marry me. She was couple years older....a divorcee with two kids from her past marriage. She was working in an electronics factory and living with her parents. I had finally found someone who really needed me....one of the most basic of human needs.
8 days later I signed over my checking and savings accounts and I left for bootcamp. 2 days after I got home from bootcamp, we were married on Christmas Eve. My father had to co-sign the license application.....He listened to me lie to clerk of the circuit court so they would waive the 3 day waiting period.
3 years later I adopted those 2 kids.....a year later we had one more.....
I nearly lost her to a rare form of cancer 16 years ago......
Last year our youngest son and spouse generously gifted us with a 12 day trip to New Zealand. That trip will remain in our hearts and minds for all of our lives.....
Today we celebrate our 41st anniversary 1900 miles apart. I gave her airline tickets to spend Christmas with her 87 year old Mom in Illinois.
Here's the only two photos of the "happy event"? In the one photo my face says "What are you doing? Are you sure sucker?"
41 years later I can answer those questions.. It's the best decision I've ever made. We were meant to be together. I hope others are so lucky!