Wedding rings intertwined

Celebrating 40 Years of Marriage: Part I

I’m writing this article on July 12, 2021, six days before my wife and I celebrate our 40th anniversary on July 18th. We’ll be staying at a nice hotel in Bishop, California, for three nights, day hiking for two days to high altitudes in the Eastern Sierra, one of our favorite places on the planet.

Beating the odds

In a lot of ways we’ve beaten the odds. Given the statistics about divorce, staying married for forty years is more the exception than the rule. And, at seventy-two and sixty-five, we’re still physically capable of starting at a trailhead at 8500’ and ending up five miles later at over 11000’, with sweeping, majestic views of granite peaks high above the tree line – what we call our outdoor cathedral.

I owe more to my wife, Melinda, than I can possibly detail in this short article. The three things that are most meaningful to me are her skills and dedication as a mother, her support of me while I worked my way through my dream career as an educator, and the way she has cared for me through a variety of health challenges.

Moving mountains for Melinda

Raising three sons is also a challenge, and no one does it perfectly. There were some rough times, but what emerged are three strong, capable, polite, caring men and fathers who would move mountains for Melinda. As a father and a husband, almost nothing is more gratifying than witnessing how much our boys love and respect their mother.

I dreamed of being a teacher when I was in high school. Achieving that dream was delayed for a variety of reasons until I was in my 30s. One day when I was thirty-five, I came home from my not-so-inspiring job as a restaurant manager and said, "I’m going back to school to get a teaching credential and become a high school English teacher. It’s always been my dream, and I can’t delay it any longer."

Never wavering in her support

My decision meant some financial hardship and uncertainty about whether I’d even be able to get a job, but Melinda never wavered in her support. The dream came true. I completed the program, taught middle school English for three years, and then moved to the high school.

Twelve years later, after much more schooling while teaching full-time and leaning on Melinda for support, I became principal of that high school and remained in that capacity until I retired in 2011.

There to care for me

From 2007 until 2018 I experienced a variety of health challenges: a nasty kidney stone experience that resulted in a potentially deadly infection; a coronary artery disease diagnosis that led to a heart attack and two stents; severe degenerative cervical disc disease that compromised my spine and required surgery; and prostate cancer that led to surgery.

Through all of those challenges, Melinda, while working full-time herself, was there to support me and care for me. Right now I’m healthier than I’ve been in over ten years, and life couldn’t be better.

Read Part 2 of our story.

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