Isn’t it amazing how quickly the years go by? We’ve grown together over the years and are enjoying each other’s company just as much now as when we first met. Probably more, actually. It’s certainly true that you get wiser as you age (well, one would hope that we learn as we grow). How thankful I am to have such a patient, good-natured and loving man to spend my days with. Life is good!
The caption under the photo in the local newspaper read:
U.S. MARINE'S AUSSIE BRIDE
We met at the wedding of friends of mine, as I mentioned in an earlier post. Ross was on R&R (rest and recreation) leave from Vietnam, where he was serving as a US Marine. I was bridesmaid for my school friend, Pat, and her English husband, Alan. Ross had met a girl named Glenda during a cruise on Sydney's picturesque harbor (one of the many activities set up for visiting G.I.’s). She had introduced Pat and Alan to each other and she needed a date for their wedding, so she invited Ross to accompany her.
When we were first introduced I thought he looked about 15 and must be Glenda’s younger brother. His hair was white blond and his eyes a very clear blue. Glenda was explaining about how they met and we began discussing the planned events for the G.I.’s (member of the US armed forces). She was telling me how much fun they were and said she’d give me a call to let me know when the next one was scheduled. I wrote my phone number on the place card at my table and she gave it to Ross to hold for her, as our pocketbooks (handbags for you Aussies and others out there) were stored in another room. This may sound too detailed, but that’s an important part of the story, which I can’t leave out!
The wedding was at a wonderful restaurant called ‘The Rocklily’ and the dinner consisted of seven courses, with wine and finally champagne (for the toasts) served with each course. Then there was dancing! Ross and I ended up dancing one dance together. How this came about is a funny little story of it’s own, but I’m trying not to add too many details (this is hard for me, as you can probably tell).
On the way home Glenda asked Ross to give her my phone number so she could call me as promised, and that wicked young man told a fib….he said he’d lost it! Now, remember, he and I only danced one dance, and not much conversation took place between us, but somehow, there was an instant attraction. Just a spark, you know?
I received a phone call from this young man the next day asking me out on a date :) My mum and I had planned to have dinner at the local surf club so we invited him to accompany us. Those of you who have read some of my previous posts will know that we lived at beautiful Whale Beach (near Palm Beach, just north of Sydney, part of the ‘north shore’ chain of beaches in NSW). So Ross caught the bus out from Sydney, where he was staying, and went to Moby Dick’s surf club for dinner with us. We had a lovely night and he and my mum fell in love with each other :)
There were two more dates after that first night before he had to return to Vietnam. After that we began writing a series of letters that just didn’t stop! Ross extended his tour of duty in Vietnam and was given 30 days leave. He spent that 30 days in Australia and that’s when we really got to know each other, spending all of those 30 days together, seeing some lovely sights and talking endlessly. By the end of his leave we were talking about marriage :)
He was scheduled for another R&R in February and we planned to be married at that time. We set the date and sent out the invitations, but the Marine Corps wasn’t cooperating. They seriously discouraged this kind of thing. Ross did finally make it back to Australia, but not until April 16th, and this was only because he told his commanding officer that he was going, with or without his orders, and headed for the airport. The CO was a compassionate man and a good friend. He followed Ross to the airport and handed him the necessary papers.
I was working in Sydney at the time and talking to my friend, Susie on the phone (yes, I did work, but I just happened to be on the phone at that particular moment) when Ross walked into my office. Imagine my surprise…(you’ll have to, I can’t find words to describe it!)…I had just been telling Susie that Ross had said he might not be able to let me know when he was coming…that he might just ‘show up’. And suddenly, there he was!!
That was a Friday. My mother’s birthday is April 17th, and she had remarked earlier in the week that it would be funny if Ross showed up this weekend and we could be married on her birthday.
Well, we were…and the rest is history ! Happy birthday Mum! Had she still been living, Mum would be 89 today. She died in 1996 and I still miss her.
We had a lovely, albiet, brief honeymoon at a beach further north before Ross had to return to Vietnam. It was just a few all-too-short days together, but we had the time of our lives! And we are still enjoying each other's company! Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs, but here we are 35 years, and 3 kids later, and we’re still blissfully happy. I can honestly say I’ve been truly blessed. When our grandchildren are old enough to appreciate it, I’ll tell them this story :)