Category: Marriage

Married in September (1)

The sun shines brightly. The air is soft and warm. My heart sings. September is my favorite month.   

Yesterday it dawned on me it was the 64th anniversary of the day that my mother and I went shopping for the reception stuff – plates, cups, napkins. (I assume they were paper. I don't recall.) Les met us downtown and we went to a jewelers to pick out my wedding ring. 

Really? Five days before the wedding? Were we eloping or what? Actually, no. We had invited 150 guests to a wedding and reception on September 12.

Let me go back in time. We had planned to get married on October 3, the first Sunday after my 18th birthday. So I had made some preliminary phone calls and we had talked a bit about whom we would invite and how our wedding might be.

But Les' mother and two youngest brothers, who had spent the summer with him, needed to hurry back to North Dakota in time for the start of high school. She had seven married children and had never been to any of the weddings.

So mid-August, my parents agreed we could move up the date so that Les' family could attend the wedding before they left. Barely enough time to get the invitations mailed. Barely enough time for Mother to make my wedding dress and two candlelighter dresses. Barely enough time to get blood tests and contemplate marriage.

And today is the 64th anniversary of  "Oh, no, Les can't find a place for us to stay on our wedding night!" Four days before the wedding. He had wanted to stay at The Oxford Hotel in Denver, but it was booked for a dairymen's convention. Dairymen?

Good grief. What will tomorrow bring?

(Adapted and augmented from This Path We Share. (c) 2010 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)
 

Father’s Day – Celebrate

I have spent this week remembering my father. Now I turn my focus to the beloved father of my children. This poem both mourns Dad and celebrates Les:  

But I Have You

Endless schedules
reduced to a small mound
of fragile bones and cold flesh
all the sound and fury
flamed into an urn of ash

Impossible to believe
that Dad is gone

Orphaned beyond all comprehension– 
I have no father

But I have you, my love—

father of our children
keeper of our safety
guardian of our gates
sanctuary for my soul

We will go on

(Excerpted from This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage © 2010 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

The First Time I Saw You

I am really excited this morning. Today it is 65 years since my first "date" with Les.

I had met him over six months earlier at a Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Les, recently discharged from the US Navy, home from WWII, was staying with them, looking for work.

After dinner, Les–blue eyes sparkling, crisp white dress shirt open at the collar, unusually tan for November–pushed away from the table and leaned back in his chair. He clasped his heads behind his head and stretched his long legs. 

"That was a great dinner," he said. They were the first and only words he spoke.

A long drawn-out-ooh feeling took hold somewhere in my gut.

I wonder how it would feel to have those strong arms wrapped around me. Whoa, girl. We just met.

When I was eleven, my mother had sat on the edge of my bed one evening, uncomfortable and embarrassed. Even veiled in the birds and bees jargon of the early 1940s, she was dispensing some pretty amazing information. I do not recall most of what she said, but I plainly remembered, "Never let a man touch you." Why in the world would I want a man to touch me?

Well, now I knew. But Les was twenty-four and I was just sixteen, so I tried to forget about those arms.

Then almost seven months later, on June 12, 1947, Les took me home from a party at church. We had never had a conversation and even then I don't remember anything we said that first time we were alone. When I turned to thank him for the ride and get out of the car, he smiled his beautiful smile, pulled me close, and quietly rested his head on my bosom. We sat in silence a long time before I finally ran into the house. Somehow I felt safe. Did I sense his strength, his steadfastness?

(Excerpted from This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage, ©) 2010 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

Now, here it is, 65 years later. I was right: He has been steadfast and strong all these years. Did I actually know that when I was 16 or have I just been incredibly lucky? No matter which, I am exceedingly grateful. Now, we must go to McDonald's for lunch and celebrate!

 

 

Read more ...

Sweet story about marriage

The other evening when I dropped off the file for the cover of This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage, the clerk and her manager at FedEX were excited when Les and I told them that we have been married over 63 years. They complimented us profusely and we basked in the glow of their warm words, as though we had actually done something more extraordinary than live to be old.

When we picked up the laminated poster the next morning, the clerk repeated how thrilled she was to know someone who had been married so long. She told us that her manager, a young man married just a few years, had continued to exclaim until it was time to lock up and go home last night.

The clerk then told me that she had married just about a year ago. She had known her new husband since childhood, but their lives had gone different directions. When they reconnected at a high school reunion, they knew immediately that they were meant to spend the rest of their lives together.

I was touched by the love that shone in her eyes. How wonderful to have a second chance for happiness! How amazing to have such a long first chance! How lucky she–and I–have been!

 

Listen to This Path We Share FREE

In case you have not had a chance to listen to my audio book about marriage Exciting news to share!

This Path We Share - book by Lois Hjelmstad

On September 12, my 63rd wedding anniversary, the audio book of This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage was released.

You can listen at

http://www.podiobooks.com/title/this-path-we-share