October 7, 1978 was a life changing day for two kids from the Chicago area. We were only 24 and 23 when we got married and we thought we had all the answers to life. We were almost the last of our friends to get married. Imagine that today as so many wait until they are in their thirties to walk down the aisle.
I remember being nervous, and scared, but ready for what lies ahead. Well, I thought I was ready anyway. There is no way I could have imagined the crazy road we have travelled these past 43 years.
I figured out early on that she was going to be more than a handful, when she wouldn't even share the wedding cake without letting me know who was in charge. It looks like I'm smiling, but the truth is that I was unsure if she would go through with it or not. From that moment on, I have been day to day. And really, aren't most husbands?
Oh, sure, there were plenty of women that wanted me, you can see for yourself what a catch I was. These lovely ladies were only the tip of the iceberg of the harem that surround me at all times. Or not.
Our road started out with Bekins on retainer. We moved six times in our first ten years together, including moving from Chicago to New Jersey to California all in a twelve month period. Good grief it was like we were gypsies. After moving back to Chicago, and renting a house for a few months, we eventually settled down for twenty five years in one place.
During that span I worked for every company in America, at one time or another, as I climbed my way up the corporate ladder to senior middle management. The good news was that I was making good money and we had nice things. The bad news was that I was away from home, on business, for almost 150 nights a year, for almost twenty years. Many of those night were weekends.
There are very few women who would have put up with that kind of lifestyle without running away. Because Linda is self sufficient, and unafraid of taking charge, our house ran smooth, safe, and secure. More than a few times she had to handle sump pump issues, massive snow storms, power outages, and assorted other major, and minor, events that every home owner has to deal with on her own.
To say she was, and is, remarkable, would be an understatement. There is no way I could have done what I did professionally without her. It was one less thing for me to have to worry about, so that I could focus all my attention on my mediocre career.
There is no doubt we had some tough sledding over those years. You are not going to get along every minute of every day over the course of 43 years, even if you like each other. Hell, I can barely stand me some days, imagine having to deal with me like she does.
When I left corporate world, and went out on my own, because I was desperate to have a job where I could be my own boss, and take a 73% pay cut, she stood by my side as we struggled to regain our footing. I'll never forget waking up one morning, after being home, and not on the road, for almost two months, to find my suitcase in the hallway and Linda standing there. She smiled at me and quietly said, "I don't care where you go but you have to go someplace for at least three days." That my friends is love.
Many of my friends have told me that the reason for our marriage lasting so long is because I was gone the equivalent of eight years. Possibly. I prefer to think it was because she couldn't imagine her life with anyone else, but I am a dreamer. I mean I thought the Cubs were going to win the world series, every year, for the first 62 years of my life too.
We are now hunkered down out in the California desert where our biggest issue has been avoiding the Covid virus for the past two years. The fun thing is that we rediscovered that we like each other, and like being around each other, again.
Forty-three years is a long time for anything. We've been married for nearly two thirds of our life. Together. Consecutively. It seems impossible when you try to think about it.
When someone asks me what the secret to a long marriage is I tell them the truth. Who the hell knows? If anybody actually knew that they would be rich. What I do know is that if you don't have the right partner, you have no chance of making it last.
Happy anniversary Linda Lee Vasumpaur. I hope we can share many more.