Hi I’m Brenda.
It was 1977, back when we were still wearing cut off jeans. Guy’s hair had started to get shorter and Rock-n-Roll was really rock-n-roll. The Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac was the largest selling pop album so far. We watched Three’s Company, Donny and Marie, Eight is Enough and Roots was the big mini-series of the year. Movies like Annie Hall, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the all time favorite, Star Wars, were the rage.
I know that Star Wars was a big hit because I was a teacher at a pre-school back then and all the kids had their little toy characters from the movie to play with. I had been teaching for 2 years at this point. Back when I was in college, I had a summer job at the Kings Island amusement park. That’s where I met and made a very good friend named Doug.
On July 2, 1977 I was over at Doug’s house just hanging out with him and a few of his friends. We were all in the family room when, all of a sudden, everyone left except this one guy. His name was Paul and I’d only seen him around but didn’t really know him.
Well, we started to play the card game Gin Rummy but we didn’t play it on the coffee table, Paul thought it would be a good idea to use my knee instead. Hmmmm ,who does this guy think he is? Not too subtle but, as Paul said later on, “Hey, it worked!” We have been together ever since then, 32 years as of now.
Our first date was the next day, July 3rd, where I was immediately thrown into a friends and family situation because our date was a bridal shower for a couple of Paul’s friends. They said it was a bridal shower but it was for both the bride and groom and was at a local park.
I want to say that it was a lot of fun except I didn’t know anyone but Paul. You see, Paul is a very out going person and will talk to anyone. I am a quiet and shy person who, at that time wanted to hide under the picnic tables. Everyone was very nice to me, though.
We spent everyday together from then on. We became very good friends. In fact, two weeks into our relationship, Paul told me that he “Loved” me. Wow, that was something I didn’t really expect. I knew I had strong feelings but I wasn’t sure what it was. I also knew that Paul was one of the most sincere guys I had met. He came from a caring family with good values. He had so much love to give and he also wanted to be loved back. Within the next couple of weeks I knew that we were in it for the long run.
Three years later, on July 12th, 1980 we got married. It was the hottest day of the year in Cincinnati, which can be really hot and humid, and the church had no air conditioning. Ask anyone who attended the wedding and they’ll tell you the heat is all they can remember.
I remember more. I remember the way Paul looked into my eyes. The love was so deep. As I type this now, tears of joy come to my eyes. Even though I had seen that look before during our courtship, I think that might have been the first Rose that Paul gave me because the look was so meaningful.
We went to Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for our honeymoon. That’s where we saw three lighthouses, one of them being the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. At that time we were like most sightseers who took it all in and moved on to different things. They were pretty cool but, hey, we were on our honeymoon after all.
We were very blessed to have our two daughters enter our lives. Kirsten was born in 1985 and Shannon in 1988. They have been so much joy to us and we have learned so much through them such as their unconditional love, their patience in us and their constant giving of themselves. They have always been “good” girls in the big scope of things.
Paul was very fortunate to be able to work at his brother-n-law’s travel agency, Prestige Travel, for many years. One of our passions is to travel and we’ve taken some fantastic vacations. We loved going to national parks such as Yellowstone, Olympia, Arcadia, The Smokey Mountains, the Canadian Rockies and Glacier.
The other type of vacation we enjoy is to find lighthouses. You see a lighthouse gives us hope, it shows us the strength to stand up straight and strong. We look for it to guide us when it shines into our future as we sail into a harbor of new blessings.
Paul and I do not feel that we are really any different than any other happy couple. We have our arguments and our fights. We have had our times when we ignore each other and we have to go to another room to be apart. But what we have had is the knowledge and the understanding that we want to make this work and last.
You see, the bottom line is that we still love each other and we respect each other. Patience is something that we have worked on. We are lucky, though, because we have always trusted each other. That has never, ever been something to worry about. To us it is much easier to be happy, to feel happy than it is to be angry. Life is too short to feel mad all the time.
We have had some really good times and some really bad times. We are both selfish and we are both giving. Finding the balance is what makes our relationship grow stronger each day.
Two years ago, we took our daughters on vacation back to the Outer Banks. We wanted to show them were we spent our honeymoon. I think they had fun. It was the beach after all. When we took them to see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, there was another meaningful moment for me. You see, Paul took me in his arms and hugged me. He looked into my eyes the way he did on our wedding day. The love was so deep, again. He had tears in his eyes of joy. At that point, we had been married for 27 years and we were still together and still so much in love. Again, Paul gave me another Rose on my Windshield. Thank you, Paul.
I Love You, Baby!