As baby boomers we’re certainly old enough and if we’re lucky, we have some fine family celebrations to fondly remember. Diann Logan of Arvada, Colorado, author of a story about her journey into maturity called The Navel Diaries: How I Lost My Belly Button and Found Myself, reflects on the celebrations of several generations of family.
Shoes that last fifty years are impressive. Marriages that endure for fifty years are even more impressive and worthy of celebrations. My family has had both the shoes and the celebrations.
My Southern grandparents had their celebration at home. Their small house brimmed with their children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbors. The beribboned cake, with a Golden 50 topper, was in the kitchen where their portrait was taken. The lace-up boots that Grandma wore as a bride were gilded and became table décor. After the party, the shoes sat for years on a shelf of the buffet.
My German grandparents’ formal portrait was taken at a studio and appeared in the newspaper. Their celebration was in the church basement, the afternoon of the Sunday when they were honored during the Matins service. The table décor was complemented with vases of the altar flowers from that service. My mother and her sisters made and decorated the tiered cake, topped with another Golden 50 ornament. Scores of elderly family members and friends of the honorees traveled quite a distance to be there.
My parents were married nearly 60 years but no portrait or party marked their 50th anniversary. Chemotherapy had taken my mother’s hair and, although she had a very nice wig, she flatly refused to have her picture taken. They had eloped, so there was never any big party to celebrate or commemorate their commitment to each other. I lived my life inside that loving relationship and I have keen memories of all their years together.
Now look at us, the Boomers. We live in a different world than our parents and grandparents. We are marrying at later ages. First marriages may give us a chance to hit the 50 year milestone, but first marriages can end. Second or sequential marriages at mid-life or later mean we may not live long enough to celebrate half a century together. Odds are stacked against a plethora of Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations for us.
My husband and I celebrate each anniversary. Every year we dress in our wedding regalia and my daughter takes our photo in our backyard. I have no trouble fitting into my wedding dress and my husband is always hopeful that he can get in his tuxedo. I tell him he is as handsome as the day we married. Every year I carry orange and hot pink flowers. He tells me I am as beautiful as the day we married. We always leave our glasses off.
The dog resents wearing a hot pink bow, but sometimes he’s the only one of us that takes a good picture. We delete the awful shots of the bride and groom and print one of the good pictures to hang on the refrigerator until next year.
We celebrate our love and our union with every anniversary. Perhaps we shall tell stories to our children and grandchildren about the Golden Anniversary celebrations we remember.