THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE
The first time I remember seeing Janet was when we were 9 years old (1953). She came to our farm with her Dad to see about buying some beef or produce or eggs, I really don’t remember. I wasn’t impressed. Girls were dumb and I didn’t see anything special about that one. I was pretty rude to her because I knew you couldn’t be nice to those girls or they’d want to talk to you or something. I found my dog, Tony, much more interesting and I let Janet know in no uncertain terms. Over the years, I delivered eggs and tomatoes to her home but I always hated it because I was sure some of those dumb girls (she had two sisters during that period) would be running around partially clothed and they would embarrass me. I even asked my Father if he would deliver to that particular house but he declined, so there I was, once a week, staring at my feet and handing farm produce to whomever answered the door.
The next time I specifically remember Janet was the summer that we turned fourteen. I saw her at the Bowladrome in Owensboro, Kentucky, and I was amazed at how interesting she had become in five short years. I loved to watch her bowl. In fact, I loved to watch her bowl so much that I rode my bicycle six miles each Saturday, rain or shine. I always pretended it was a coincidence that we were there at the same time. I hoped she didn’t remember the farm incident. She was a Goddess in my mind and I only dreamed that she would look my way, let alone speak to me. One Saturday I was bowling in a tournament and I noticed she was in the seats behind me watching. Was she watching me or my partner, Lloyd? I couldn’t be sure, but I really hoped it was me. I finally got up enough nerve to say hello and with her first words she let me know she remembered that day on the farm. She’s continued to remind me for the last 50 years. That was a great summer.
Our freshman year in high school was magical. We were inseparable. We shared a locker, walked to class together (Yes, I carried her books), ate lunch together and waited for our bus together. More than a few times we were called down for HOLDING HANDS (shocking!) in the hallway. We ran with a great bunch of kids who would remain our close friends throughout high school. We were officially “going steady” and I knew in the ninth grade that I wanted to marry Janet. When we weren’t together, we talked on the phone for hours at a time.
During our sophomore year I got a job at Gateway supermarket. I knew I needed a car so we could be together even more. As soon as I saved $100 (no small task making 60 cents per hour), I bought a 1950 Ford. Then I could pick her up each morning, take her to school and bring her home each afternoon, detouring by the Dairy Drivein of course. Life was good. Our high school years were wonderful but when we graduated I got a scholarship to the University of Kentucky and our parents felt very strongly that we should spend some time apart. Janet went to Murray State, 400 miles away from me.
Our freshman year in college was worse than having Hodgkin’s. We were both miserable and we resolved that we would marry during summer break even if we had to run away.
On June 21, 1963 we tied the knot and we’ve had 45 wonderful years of marriage (update 6/2013: We just celebrated our 50th anniversary). We have four amazing children and eight incredible grandchildren. For the past fourteen years we’ve been self employed, working together every day. Janet is very, very special; the light of my life. I need to beat this Hodgkin’s thing so I can spend more time with her, our children and grandchildren. Whatever happens, I believe we’ll eventually be together for eternity.
Isn't she beautiful?