Celebrating five. Or 42. Or just celebrating.

July 15, 2014

A scene straight out of The Godfather

Forty-two years ago today I walked down the aisle of St. Ambrose Church in Rochester, NY and married my adorable 24-year-old college sweetheart, who, coincidentally enough, happened to be from my hometown. If you believe in coincidences.

We made it through law school for him and grad school for me. Eight years.

After years of recovery from our divorce, I called those eight years my “practice marriage.” I went on to do more practice, too, never quite getting it right.

Whenever someone asked me, “is there anyone you think you should have worked it out with?” I’d always say, “My first husband. We had a lot going for us, but we were way too young.”

So when my still-adorable first husband (and first ex-husband) knocked on my door 27 years after our divorce–pounded is more like it–no one was as surprised as I was. This was Hallmark Movie Channel fare, the stuff of fairy tales, I thought.

I thought wrong. It was real life coming to call, unexpected for sure, but real. Oh so real.

That young life-of-the-party frat boy and law student had kept his boyish charm (and his baby-blue eyes) and set out to convince me that we belonged together.

And he was right.

I’d lived an independent life, worked hard and made my own way through the world. I’d had husbands and boyfriends, just never had  “partner” in the truest sense of the word.

My once-young, now mature husband invited me to join him on a grand adventure of love and life.  It took him roughly a month to convince me, and here’s what did it:

“We haven’t even seen each other in 27 years!” I said.

To which he responded, “What, you don’t think I know who you are?”

I am known. I am loved. And–for the very first time in my adult life–I am taken care of in all the important ways.

And I hope he feels the same way.

Happy fifth and 42nd, Michael. You always rocked my world and you still do.

56 comments on “Celebrating five. Or 42. Or just celebrating.
  1. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    Such a good story. Love to you both for hanging it. When you know, you know.

  2. I love your story, Carol…it would make a great movie and i would be first in line for ticket! Thank you for sharing on the blog and congratulations on this day that you have persevered, forgiven, and loved.

  3. Katie Paul says:

    Congratulations, Carol, yours is a truly amazing story of life coming full circle. I hope all the rest of your days together are filled with love and joy xx

  4. Such a special journey you two have taken! Happy anniversary!

  5. Nina Gaby says:

    Wow. St. Ambrose. I used to go to teen dances there and looked just like I could have been in your wedding party. I love East Irondeqouit but had to pretend that I was Italian and not Jewish. And I love your story and yeah, cool movie potential.

  6. Nina Gaby says:

    “288-3015” Allow me one more wave of nostalgia- and coincidence. Somehow I came upon this essay from SKIRT magazine after you submitted your fabulous essay to my anthology, saw the 288, and emailed you, only to find that yes, it WAS BUTLER 8, my old exchange from childhood, and that we knew each other in Junior High. And “Keeping Secrets” will be included in DUMPED: Women Unfriending Women, out i March 2015. You are a synchronicity magnet.

    • I can’t wait to tell everyone about DUMPED. Yes, it was BUTLER 8, of course it was! We really did come together in a synchronicity (synchronous?) kind of way, Nina!

  7. Barbara says:

    Cheers for love from here! Congratulations on the first and the second, the fifth and the 42nd! Love is embraceable and worth it no matter when or how it arrives.

  8. kim tackett says:

    I really, really love this. I love that you we’re pining for him, but still, it was him all along.

  9. karla says:

    i love your story, carol. i’ve always considered myself delusional that my soul mate, and i, who i’ve been apart from for 31 years, will someday reunite. i was far too young and cocky to understand then what i had. unfortunately, he’s turned into a raving, lunatic asshole (he’s the CEO of a semiconductor company), but i will consider to envision our reunion. your story give me a glimmer of hope.

    • He isn’t TJ, is he? LOL Because he fits the description…. 😉 Here’s the thing: I never envisioned it. I never imagined it. It was just in the plan. I didn’t know it.

  10. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!! I am so happy for you, this story just makes me smile. Love always conquers even if it takes a long, long time!

  11. That is such a life-affirming story Carol! So much happens over 27 years that’s astounding that you two picked up and just started again.

    My parents also divorced and then remarried, although they were only apart for a few years (which actually were some of the happiest of my childhood, but that’s a way longer story…do I hear a blog post calling??).

    Happy Anniversary, happy second chance together!

  12. Congratulations, Carol, on your wonderful second adventure with your first love!

  13. This is definitely a Hallmark story.
    Happy Anniversary to both of you and best wishes for a very blessed life.

  14. Tammy says:

    Such a truly wonderful love story. Happy anniversary.

  15. Ruth Curran says:

    Not sure I would have been brave enough to open that door but good for you! What a great story.

    I wonder how many people reading this post can picture themselves in this wedding with those hairstyles? I know I can.

    • I must admit to a certain amount of … disbelief…when I heard the knock. This couldn’t be real! and of course, the timing was really really bad–I was getting ready to marry someone else. I mean, really bad. I think it’s kind of hilarious that people who don’t know me (as in those who knew him or thought they did) assumed that I knocked. They’re always surprised to hear that not only did he knock, he did so with full knowledge that I was planning to marry in a few months’ time. And that does crack me up. And kind of piss me off, too, if you know what I mean.

  16. Wow Carol. I LOVE this post. Hats off to your husband for getting it and wooing you back.
    Happy Anniversary!!!

  17. Lana says:

    Happy Anniversaries! Such a great love story – and I’m a sucker for those 🙂

  18. Janie Emaus says:

    What a beautiful love story. I got cheated out of ever seeing my first husband again. Ten years after our brief marriage (six weeks..short time, long story) he was murdered. I guess that’s another story!

  19. Carol Graham says:

    So interesting what ‘line’ he used to gt you back. Great answer from him. And so happy for you that you took the second plunge. Here’s to the next 5 or 42!

  20. I love a story about love. Happy Anniversary!

  21. I love this! Happy day!1111

  22. Sheryl says:

    What a wonderful, romantic story! You both deserve loads of happiness together.

  23. Diane says:

    What an amazing story. Would make a great novel!!! 🙂

  24. It is a Hallmark story! Happy Anniversary!

  25. I am in awe of this story. Somehow I think of a variation on an old saying, “You can go home again.” To have the comfort of love and an old friend rolled into one is a gift!

  26. Lisa Froman says:

    Such a sweet sweet story. Obviously, he was a soul mate who didn’t want to wait another lifetime to be with you. Congrats to you!!!

  27. Kathy says:

    Such a great love story! Congratulations and Happy Anniversary.

  28. What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it and happy anniversary!

  29. Liv says:

    Beautiful. Almost a fairy tale! Congratulations to you both.

  30. pia says:

    So beautiful!
    Now I know how fairy tales end.
    and perfect song!

  31. Frances D says:

    What a story! I would like to be to link to it from She Who Blogs – with your
    Permission of course. Congratulations.

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