The 70273 Project

with a side of Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

Tag: anniversary

If


If the Hong Kong flu hadn’t taken hold in the US,
If I hadn’t already spent my week in sick bay, wrestling the virus into the ground,
If they hadn’t closed the college because there was no more room to quarantine,
If I hadn’t been bored enough to go to the high school basketball game,
if my high school friend hadn’t been bored enough to go to the basketball game,
If we hadn’t gotten bored at the basketball game and decided to take our leave and head to  Underground Atlanta,
If a would-be boyfriend hadn’t passed out gone to sleep early and rendering him unable to follow through on his promise to call my daddy if I wasn’t back by midnight,
If we’d had enough money between us for one drink and two straws,
If she hadn’t remembered this guy she met the weekend before who was wearing a brown, floppy-brimmed leather hat and worked in Muhlenbrink’s Saloon,
If I hadn’t been thirsty enough to shove aside my intense crowd anxiety and join her to push our way to the bar through the throngs of drunk people listening to Rosebud,
If the guy drawing beers hadn’t borrowed the brown, floppy-brimmed leather hat from the guy mixing drinks at the other end of the bar,
If she hadn’t argued with the cute-as-all-get-out beer-drawing guy when he said he’d never seen her before in his life,
If she had listened to me and we had left right then,
If he hadn’t asked us to go to a party at the bouncer’s apartment when the bar closed,
If she hadn’t said “Yes” so quickly and enthusiastically,
If we hadn’t taken her car, leaving me no choice but to go along,
If the Sweet Spirit of Surprise hadn’t put the roommate in the car with her and me in the car with the beer guy,
If he hadn’t been so cute and charming and caused all kinds of climate conditions to change with the kaleidoscope of butterfly wings he set to flapping wildly when he kissed me . . .
I never would’ve met the guy who has never – not even once – had to call on his engineer training to turn my life’s lights on.

44 year ago today, my life changed forever when I met and instantly fell head-over-heels in deep, unwavering love with The Engineer.  Look at my long list called The Best Day Ever, and you’ll find January 27, 1973 at the very top.

the night that changed everything

JeanneAndyFormal

a girl walks into a bar
and when the bartender asks
“what’ll you have?”
she says
“you.”
43 years ago tonight.

no joke.

it was luck that brought us together
and love that keeps us together
the kind of love laced
with gratitude and respect
with patience and kindness
the kind of love that deepens
with age.

he continues to bring out the best in me.

i love to make him laugh
to hear him lay out the future
and ask my input
to watch him load the dishwasher
(because he does it right, you know).

i don’t tell him
(and more importantly i’m not sure
i show him – because words can’t touch it)
often enough
how much i adore him.
that needs to – and will – change.

i don’t ever want us
to grow stale
or feel taken for granted
and that takes effort,
you know,
conscious, dedicated effort.

Pennsylvania27jan16c

my daughter and i went to a thrift shop
here in pennsylvania today
and it occurs to me only now
what i brought home:

Stretchnsewbook

his mother and i
had the most fun
taking these classes together.
we made t-shirts,
skirts, even swimsuits.
give us some of that dotted paper,
some thread and a length of double-knit fabric,
and there was nothing we couldn’t make
and nobody we couldn’t dress.
i miss those days
and i miss her.

Delftthimble

and this
ceramic delft blue thimble.
we visited the delft factory
– the engineer and i –
on our honeymoon
(our second honeymoon)
in september
43 years ago.

we met on january 27, 1973
became engaged on april 1, 1973
and said “i do” on july 31, 1973.
there was no need to wait cause
i knew a good guy when i met him
oh yes i certainly did.

What Love Looks Like With 42 Years on the Odometer

ARCJHCLondon2014

Then
being heard meant being able to repeat back to me what I just said.
Now
being heard means that without prompting, you remember that I need to take photos of my Hymns of Cloth and you talk to the neighbor about using his barn, rig up a system, gather the tools, and make it happen.

Cruise2014a

Then
being seen meant you noticed the scar on my nose (a visible reminder of when I ran into the bridge) and thought it adorable.
Now
being seen means you secretly find the address for the fabric store in London and walk me there, bringing along a book so I can take all the time I like to delight in (and decide on) the gorgeous fabrics.

ARCJHCCruise2014b

Then
being held meant holding hands or resting your arm around the back of my chair or letting me snuggle up close when we watched scary or sad movies.
Now
being held means that when we get separated at parties, you keep an eye on me from afar, knowing how much this introvert you married longs to be in the corner watching the stories unfold.

ARCJHCCruise2014

Then
I felt butterflies when you walked into the room.
Now
I feel butterflies when we’re apart . . . when you’re working on the roof . . . when you don’t answer your phone.

LeavingIceland

Then
“till death do us part” meant nothing, not even a page on a calendar we would buy One Day.
Now
we know that “till death do us part” might mean tomorrow morning, this afternoon, or tonight
which
is precisely why we keep filling our togetherness with adventures, discoveries, and always, always, always . . . laughter.

Like Mama Helen said this past weekend: I sure knew which ones to kick to the curb and which one to keep. Forty-two years later, and you’re still The One, My Engineer. Oh my goodness gracious yes – you are most definitely still The One.

~~~~~~~

Starting tomorrow, I’m gonna’ pen 100 stories in 100 days (#100Days100Stories). Why? Because I’ve been longing for a challenge, that’s why. Join in or read along, I’ll be tickled to have your company either way.

14,600 Days or 350,400 Hours or The Blink of an Eye – It’s All the Same to Me

JeanneAndyFormal1974

Forty years ago today, I walked into a bar in Underground Atlanta with a girlfriend and walked out several hours later with the man who would, in a mere six months, become my husband. Our forty years of togetherness have been marked by much change. We’ve birthed two amazing people, and we’ve buried too many to count. We’ve laughed and cried . . . and eventually laughed again. We’ve pursued our own interests and always come back home to tell each other all about it. We’ve shared interests, cheered each other on in individual pursuits, and worked side-by-side on all sorts of things.

An engineer by training, he views, interprets, and goes through the world in a more linear way than this quirky Aquarian. He is patient, I lean towards impulsive. He is literal, I see and hear metaphors everywhere. He is formulaic, I live like like a pot of soup, pulling sparklies in from every whichaway. He is quite thorough, I want immediate results and have a tendency to get bored and move on. We are good for each other.

It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been the two of us together, and that sure helps. I am not the same woman I was forty years ago, and he is not the same man who mixed me that Tom Collins. But laughter, space in our togetherness, listening, and holding hands continue to define our way of loving each other.

As he says, I’m the best he could do with the car he was driving at the time. And as I say, he’s the best I could do with the boobs I had at the time. Here’s to at least another forty, Andy.

Clink.

Cheers.

JeanneAndy1980sRes

What 39 Years of Togetherness Looks Like

Out1

Our togetherness is the same.
Our togetherness is different.

We’ve done things that were unbelievably fun. We’ve done things that were unbelievably sad . . . and we’ve held hands through it all.

We’ve done things together, we’ve done things solo, and we make it a point to never run off and outgrown one another.

See how he swooped me off my feet and carried me out of the church? That’s because I’d been hit by a car while crossing the street about six weeks before the wedding. The cast came off less than a week before we said “I will. I surely will,” and I was still on crutches. I didn’t know he was going to do that, but I’m sure glad he did cause if he hadn’t, we’d still be making our way out.

He still crunches ice (something that drives me up the wall), but I just put a finger in the ear closest to him and wonder to myself how one little ole bitty piece of ice can possibly pack that much crunch time. And what do I do that drives him crazy? Not a damn thing. I can’t believe you asked.

I help him clean up when he drops or spills something (even though I sometimes roll my eyes on the inside). He cheers when I get another diploma (even though he thinks the money could’ve been better invested) cause we have this unspoken agreement that each one of us is about as perfect as we can stand and not a drop more, so we cut each other some slack and call it endearing quirkiness.

I ride with him to Lowe’s, he drives me to the fabric store just so we can be together.

Now that I’m seriously writing my book and he’s home 24/7, he’s taken over most of the cooking and grocery shopping, something I’ve always despised doing and he has never really minded.

We recently bought a boat that takes us around the lake twice in less than half the time we used to spend making one lap around in the pontoon boat. We wanted sport and speed this time because we’re much younger now.

I may be a bit more vocal and he may take a few more meds, but we still laugh and hug and hold hands and kiss. We still ask each other questions and listen to the answers. We tell each other what intrigues us, what tickles us, what puzzles us. We overlook the bad and point out the good. We ask each other for help, though sometimes we don’t wait for the asking to step in and assist.

Mostly, though, we laugh. We laugh a lot. We laugh at each other (eventually), and we laugh at ourselves. We laugh when things take a funny bounce, we laugh when things are easy peasy. Life is funny, and we feast on that.

By now, we’ve known each other 39 years instead of the scant 62 days we knew each other before we became engaged, and the feelings that first connected us remain intact – wizened and weathered, perhaps, but enduring despite it all.

He continues to say that I was the best he could do with the car he was driving at the time. And I still say he was the best I could do with the boobs I had at the time.

to be continued . . .

marking time

JeanneAndy07319173

we have been married 38 years today.
13,870 days.

and though love
doesn’t look the same
or taste the same
or smell
or sound
or feel
the same as it did
38 years ago,
it has kissed
every single
one of those days.

and that’s the important thing.

It Was A Dark and Stupendous Night

TheHat.jpg

38 years ago today, I walked into the bar in search of a drink and out of the bar with the bartender . . . my future husband. I went there with a friend from high school, and we’d pooled and spent our money on gas to get us there. Having not thought things through all that much, my friend came to the rescue assuring me that she knew a bartender in a bar called Muhlenbrink’s. He’d be wearing a brown leather floppy-brimmed hat, she said. We made our way through the hugely crowded bar, and low and behold, there was, in fact, a bartender in a brown leather floppy-brimmed hat.

And he was adorable. Absolutely, undeniably adorable.

She shoved and I flirted to make the seas part so we could land ourselves directly in front of Him. She thumped her fist down on the bar and proclaimed, “I know you.”

He looked up. “No you don’t,” he said and went immediately back to drawing beer.

I was mortified. Mortified, I tell you.

As I silently begged the floor to open up and swallow me whole, she persisted with her insistence. It seems she knew the HAT, not the MAN. You see, for reasons he can’t remember, Andy was wearing Billy’s hat that night.

At this point, I don’t suppose he’ll get fired if I tell you that he did eventually slip us one (note the singular) tom collins, and when the bar closed (we stayed to listen to the band – wink, wink), we were invited to a part at the bouncer’s apartment.

We accepted.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

And herstory.

We met on January 27; became engaged on April 1; and married on July 31.

Of that same year.

He says I’m the most expensive date he ever had.

I say he’s the best date I could get with the boobs I had at the time.

Ah, love.

36 years . . . and counting

we met quite by accident on january 27 of that year, became engaged on april 1 of that same year, then married on july 31 – you guessed it – of that same year.

on a tuesday night so we wouldn’t mess up the weekend.

we were so young and so trusting. we knew the world would accommodate us. we were bulletproof as long as we had each other. we would never grow old or bored or infirmed. we expected the best from the world and each other, and we have not been disappointed.

we finished undergraduate school (and i, graduate school), birthed and raised 2 fantastic children, buried parents, developed individual careers and hobbies, and laughed at every opportunity. we have known fun; we have known sorrow. there have been spaces in our togetherness . . . and we have remained in love.

somehow.

(i think it has a lot to do with laughing more than complaining and having the same taste in wallpaper.)

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