Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eleven Eleven

In England it's called Armistice Day. When you see Brits of all kinds wearing a poppy in their lapel, it's a reminder of the poppy fields of Flanders, where so many young men died in the First World War. That dreadful conflict was concluded with the signing of the armistice at Compiegne, France at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

The date has a more private significance for myself and Ellie. We signed our own private armistice in front of a downtown judge on this day in 1972 and, with our good neighbors who were witness to the deed, drank our marriage toast at the eleventh hour precisely in a lounge at the Biltmore Hotel. It is, then, thirty-seven years of marriage that we celebrate today.

This evening, we will sit down for dinner with those same neighbors, and with our daughter, Sarah, who was eight months on the way at the time, and arrived safely in this world almost exactly one month later. Ellie's father, ever the romantic, had been boasting among his friends that he was to be an illegitimate grandfather, and was much chagrined when he received my telegram that evening: "Illegitimate grandfatherhood forestalled by downtown judge."

A telegram! That speedy mode of communication in 1972 seems quaint, in these days of texts and emails. Unfathomable, how much time has passed, how much has changed in the world, how much has happened in our lives since then! And here we are, together still, looking around in wonder and considering ourselves fortunate indeed to have survived so long. There have been times when we have had to work hard to keep it all together in the face of life's vicissitudes; but ultimately we have every reason to be grateful for it all, and we look forward to as many years as we are given yet to spend together.


3 comments:

mandt said...

Delightful story...Congrats, happy anniversary!

robin andrea said...

Congratulations to you and ellie. Thirty-seven years is quite a feat, and wonderful testimony to the endurance of love.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, MandT and Robin!