Saturday, June 20, 2009


Yesterday, June 20th was our 44th anniversary. Wow! Where did the time go? I cannot even believe it has been so long. DH and I have had a wonderful life together. We have had our sad times; deaths, miscarriages, etc, but mostly it has been wonderful and we have always been so happy together. DH is a great man. He is always kind, generous, loving, supportive, and even tempered. Because life is life, we have had some disagreements, but we have never really had "a fight". We really love each other and I am blessed to have him for my eternal companion.
The meeting:
Back in January of 1961, when I was 16 and a senior in high school, there was a Russian Ball coming up. The Russian community in San Francisco had very fancy balls throughout the fall and winter season. These balls were family events and once a youth was old enough to attend(about 16 years old), it was an affair that was looked forward to with great anticipation. The young people were always well chaperoned. This particular day my Mother became ill, one of the few times I even remember her ever being sick, and was unable to attend. My Dad told her not to worry that he would take me and my friends to the ball and would watch over us very carefully. That evening, when the time arrived, he took me, my BFF, Helen and the 2 Natalie's and took us to the Russian Center. He got a table for us, bought all of us 7-ups and settled us in. Then he went downstairs to play billiards. We, the girls, were having a great time, chatting, visiting with friends, dancing, etc. Meanwhile DH, who was already 21, was at his best friend's bachelor party. They had gone out to dinner and then they decided to go dancing. DH wanted to go to the Irish Center (he was kind of planning to meet someone there), but one of the other friends wanted to go to the Russian Center. They just couldn't decide, so they decided to flip a coin. Guess what? DH lost. So, they all went to the Russian Center. When the boys got there, they were looking over the crowd and deciding which girl they wanted to ask to dance. DH picked me.:) He invited me to dance and just like Cinderella and Prince Charming, we danced the night away. My family was very strict and I was not allowed to ever give my phone number out, but at the end of that evening when DH asked for my number, I immediately gave it to him. I even asked him if he wasn't going to write it down, but he replied that he would just memorize it. During the evening, I did take DH downstairs to the billiard room to introduce him to my Dad.
I remember the following monday, my friend Natalie and I were passing notes in french class. She wrote that DH was so cute and that maybe I would go to Senior Prom with him. It ended up that I did go with him.
Our courtship began and lasted for 5 years. During this time I finished high school and graduated from San Francisco State U with my BA and a teaching credential. I also was just a few units short of getting my MA, but never quite finished because we got married and I began my first teaching job. This was all taking place during the Viet Nam War era and DH was drafted into the USArmy, even though he was a Frenchman and not a citizen. He served 3 years for Uncle Sam. He did became a US citizen while he was serving. During this time we wrote letters and whenever he was on leave, we would date. I dated other people while he was gone and he did too.
The engagement:
I graduated a half year early and before I began teaching I had a job as an underwriters assistant for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. for 6 months. By this time DH had been discharged from the army and was attending S.F.City College. He would pick me up from work in the financial district each day. This particular day he picked me up and drove to the beach, where he parked. Well, that made me nervous right away. Then he reached into the back seat and pulled out a huge box, the size that you would put a jacket into, and gave it to me. "What is it? Why are you giving me a present? It's not my birthday or anything?" I said. He said,"Just open it." But, I would not. The box was so light and I just couldn't imagine what it could be. I was worried that it might be something embarassing and then what would I do? Finally, I opened it and there amid tons of tissue paper was an engagement ring tied to a little ribbon. DH proposed and I very excitedly said yes. We then went to his sister, Marie Jeanne's house and told her. She was so excited for us and never even let on that it was actually she that wrapped the box up. HaHa Then we went and told my parents who were also so excited and who also knew because DH had spoken to my Dad. I was the only one who didn't know. After that we went to El Portal for dinner and dancing. I remember being so excited that I didn't even touch the food for a long time. Finally, DH said, "Let's eat now, everthing is getting cold." We had such a fun evening talking, dancing, making plans, having the staff congratulate us over the mic., having songs dedicated to us, etc.
The Wedding:
We had a lovely, large wedding. Because I was Russian Orthodox and DH was Catholic, we actually had 3 ceremonies. The french do not recognize a marriage unless it is done civily, so we went to the city hall and had a civil ceremony first. The day of the wedding the entire wedding company went to Notre Dame de Victoire for the Catholic ceremony. Then we all went to the Russian Holy Trinity Cathedral for the Russian Orthodox ceremony. Finally everyone went to the Coronation Hall where we had our reception. We had a sit down dinner with lots of yummy food (russian style) and lots of fun dancing to a live band. The wedding was a great event that many people talked about for many years to come. DH and I stayed at the reception until after 1:00am and then we left. However, many of the guests stayed until early morning. My parent got home around 6:00a.m. or so.
The honeymoon:
The day after the wedding we went to my parents house for a family luncheon. My family and DH's family were all there. After a very nice luncheon they all drove us to the airport and we were lucky enough to be able to go to Hawaii for 2 weeks for an awesome honeymoon.
Years later we joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were able to be sealed at the Los Angeles Temple for time and all eternity.
We have been so blessed in our life together. We have had the same goals and have been able to achieve many of them. We have lived in love and friendship. We have an awesome family that we adore. Our children are awesome and we have terrific grandchildren. We are expecting our first grandchild. Although some times have been tough and sad, all in all, we have had a blessed life for which we are very grateful.


txmommy said...

Happy Anniversary!!
I love you, and I love to hear that fun story :)

nikko said...

I love your story. How fun that you had three (four!) weddings!

Happy Anniversary!

The Wendler Family said...

Happy Anniversary! I loved reading your love story. It was so romantic! Not may people get to have four "weddings" to the same person. :)
I didn't know your DH served it Vietnam. CRAZY! I don't know how you handled being so far away from him and knowing that he was over there in such a dangerous place. I am so glad he came home safe and well and that you got to continue your life together.
I love how the Lord makes everything work out for us, to bless us. :)

Yvonne said...

What a beautiful story. (I bet he's sure glad he "lost" ; )

Wow--4 "weddings" is pretty incredible.

Happy Anniversary.

One For All said...

Happy Anniversary! What a cute touching story! Thanks for sharing!I love you guys and feel blesses to have your marriage as an example.