39 Years and Counting

A little Flashback Friday for the Memorial Day weekend. We got married on one of the warmest Memorial Day weekends ever! A young 20 years old and one of the first in our immediate group of friends to marry. Many of our friends didn’t tie knots until we had already had our second child and owned a home. Our early marriage did alter some of those friendships as different life events were not in sync – but the true ones that last the years are still in place as well as now being older and having things like Facebook – old friendships while not in person active have come back to being connected and sharing. It’s nice to still have some threads back to 1978.

We wanted a May or September wedding and settled on Memorial Day Weekend figuring we would always have an extended time for celebration. Our other thought was that because so many people go up North EVERY weekend, they could still come to the wedding and get a full weekend up North. (up North is a Wisconsin thing – look it up).

We had a 12:30 ceremony and reception from 1-4pm so people could be on their way for their weekend. We were married in the chapel at Alverno College. I was a student there and the chapel was beautiful and yet not huge so it gave it a closer feeling. It was also a way to have neutral ground. In 1978 it was still a time when two people from different religious backgrounds was not a well accepted norm. Usually one person switched. Bill’s family was active in their church – Mt. Carmel (Lutheran)  and my family was traditional Roman Catholic. The chapel allowed a place that we could have both the pastor and the priest perform the ceremony. Another twist of the time having both marry us at the same time. We thought we were being a little different too in that we both walked down the aisle and we were walked down by both our parents.

We had a “grazing” food bar set up instead of a meal – which was ahead of its time. The caterer thought people would just nibble – but it is Wisconsin – so they had to bring in more food because it was going so quickly. We had a live band – another savings because they could leave and still do another wedding on the same day. We had the Italian tradition of candied almonds in netting as a favor for the guests. AND the shot of a cordial liquor when arriving with the parents of the bride.

My parents went along with our ideas, but still felt like there needed to be more and wanted to celebrate longer so they invited their side of the guest list, our friends and Bill’s immediate family to their home to continue the celebration. My mom had worked all week making Italian food – She had Lasagna, salad, bread, cheese platters, desserts and more – and of course a well stocked bar and her famous Gin Punch. One of her friends from work got a few others together and acted as the serving staff making sure food was out ready and did the basic clean up so she could enjoy the evening.

Bill and I, our wedding party and close friends came to the house as well. We both worked at Bowlero (the bowling center) and the showing of the Championship round of Bowling with the Champs was on prime time TV that night. We gathered in the family room and watched the finals. And of course all chimed in with the final line of the show “258-9000 – Thank You Hank!” from Leo Pack.

The other guests were in the Rec Room – another 70s-80s thing where one’s basement was converted into a Rec Room for parties. My Dad had built the rec room complete with a secret door that looked like a wall to the laundry and workshop area. He did it in Bavarian style with wood and stucco. The carpet actually came from Bowlero. When the carpeting was replaced at the center, my dad and I went and picked up the old stuff and he was able to piece together the best parts and carpet the basement. He also built the bar – it was gorgeous! He used an old mantle that had been taken out of an old home for the back bar. Created the actual bar from other salvaged pieces . The other thing he added was a brass foot rail -another thing we salvaged from the Bowlero remodel. It came from the old Hideway Bar in the bowling center and was just thrown in the dumpster. Some other things were the stainless steel dry sink and bar rail that he incorporated into the bar. The rec room also had a fully functioning Juke Box with 45 rpms, Pinball machine (eventually 2), and of course the beer can collection. It was the party place! Bill and I had a few parties there for friends before we bought a home. A Halloween party I remember well. We did it Dixie and Jerry style – booze and food!. Always ham and rolls or sloppy joes plus chips, beans, and desserts to help soak up the booze before people left. This rec room was a pride and joy for my Dad. His vision was to recreate but better in their last home they built in Watertown. He had gotten the pool table, had the plans and before he passed away was a step closer to starting that project because his dream workroom had been set up, but unfortunately never got to create it.

Today we don’t have parties like they used too. Busy lives and changes. It was a great time and sometimes I wish we could recreate the social situations they had during their lifetime. I sometimes feel like Facebook and other social media is a thread back to those times in a similar way.



I am not sure anymore how long everyone stayed. Bill and I left around 9:30.

While we thought we were being a little less traditional – the wedding was very traditional it seems. It was a great day and our parents were very much a part of making that happen. They respected our wishes and that it was our wedding day, but made sure it was one to always be remembered without seeming like they were telling us what to do.

Well I seem to be rambling. Jamie and Jenny – aren’t you glad you only have to read this if you want instead of listen to me. 🙂

Back to 39 years! Bill and I have had a great 39 years. Lots of memories. Certainly some challenges and some times we would not want to repeat. But the biggest thing is during those 39 years (44 since we met) we would not have wanted to spend them with anyone else.

Looking forward to the next 39 years.

One of our first Christmas’s as husband and wife.


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