Today Ernie and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary! We met in college at the University of Central Florida (formerly known as Florida Technological University), back in the days when Ernie was known as "the guy in the orange gym shorts" and I was "the girl in the pink bikini"...wow, was THAT a long time ago! Ernie was majoring in Electrical Engineering, and I was the polar opposite...a Psychology major! Somehow we met one another (the racquetball courts that Ernie frequented were right next to the pool that I frequented) and began dating.
We were engaged for a year, then married in 1975 in an Episcopal church in Orlando at 2:00 on a chilly December afternoon in Central Florida. Ernie was 24 and I was 21.
We lived in Orlando for a year, then headed south to Boca Raton where Ernie began working for IBM. I went to Florida Atlantic University to earn my Master's Degree in Educational Psychology, then worked for 2 years before becoming a stay at home Mom. It was there that all three of our children were born in 1980 (Tara), 1983 (Leah) and 1986 (Nick)...yes, we were on the three year plan!
Ernie's work with IBM gave us the amazing opportunity to live in Southern England for 3 months in 1989, just prior to moving to North Carolina. We home schooled, took amazing "field trips", loved the culture and less harried pace of life in a small village, traveled to Scotland, and took in all we could in those 3 months. What wonderful family times we had walking about in our "wellies", staying on a working sheep farm, feeding swans bigger than Nick, exploring country roads, enjoying "tea time", and trying to stay warm in a 200 year old house!
Ernie's frequent flyer miles gave us opportunities to travel as a family and we visited western Canada (twice!), Aruba, Hawaii (twice!) and the Baja Peninsula. Consequently, all our kids (and spouses) love to travel...especially Nick! We are so grateful to have made so many fond memories of new far away places with our children.
|Cabo San Lucas|
Ernie left IBM in 1995 and became CEO of a few different start up companies in Research Triangle Park through the years. He enjoyed executive management, but 9/11 hurt small start ups and eventually he started his own handyman business and enjoyed building things for people, like decks, porches, new bathrooms, finished basements, tile backsplashes and the like. He had returned to management as a Vice President when he was diagnosed with cancer, bringing the loss of his job, and a life unlike anything we had known before in our almost "fairytale" marriage and family.
In spite of the difficulties this past year has brought, we still feel abundantly blessed! Our three children have all graduated from college, our daughters are married to wonderful men, we are grandparents to Natalie, Nathan, Samantha, Samuel and (soon to be) Emery.
|Top: Nathan and Natalie, Bottom: Samuel and Samantha|
We also have brothers and sisters and parents who we love spending time with, our friends, neighbors and church families bring us great joy, love and support, and Ernie's cancer is in remission! Our marriage is stronger and our love deeper, as a result of what we have, and are, going through. Our vows were for a lifetime, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. We refuse to let cancer rob us of our joy, and pray for many more anniversaries to come, side by side, come what may. I will always love Ernie and am so very thankful to be his wife. Happy Anniversary Dear!