Life is full of celebrations.
Especially this time of the year.
On May 6th, Denis and I will be celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Fifty Years!! WOW! I can hardly believe it! I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful sunny spring day. We had been planning it for years. As High School sweethearts, we knew that we were going to get married from the beginning of our courtship until the day we said, "I Do!" Looking back, we were just two kids trying to make a life for ourselves. We began our married journey together in a two room small apartment upstairs in a house in Baldwin, New York. The rent was $150.00 a month. We had purchased our "Colonial" style bedroom furniture two years before paying "on time" and it could hardly fit in the bedroom. It was big and bulky and I think we had 24 inches from one piece of furniture to another. Quite honestly, I don't know how we lugged it up the long flight of stairs to our apartment. But we did! We were determined to make it all work. There were two great assets about the place. The first was that it had an awesome stove with an oven that baked the highest and most beautiful cakes and cupcakes I've ever made. The second was that there was a heater in the bathroom that kept us warm as we got ready for work and college. There were the downfalls too. In the summer, it got mighty hot up there with no air conditioning. We ended up getting a small window air conditioner for the living room/kitchen/dining room area. When we sat at our small kitchen table I had to ask Denis to move to the right because he was blocking the cool air from getting to where I sat. It was ours, though. Our first place after we got married. We were so grateful for it.
Then when I got pregnant with our first child it got harder and harder for me to make it up that long flight of stairs. The months flew by as I continued to work full time while Denis was working and finishing up getting his degree in Education at CW Post. My OBGYN Doctor was in my home town so after work and on my days off I would go for my check-ups and then visit my parents. I remember my last appointment with him when he told me that it would be only days away from giving birth to my baby (in those days you didn't learn the gender of your baby until you gave birth) and that it would be wise for me not to climb the long flight of stairs to our apartment. So, I stayed at my parents' house until I gave birth. Denis would come over after school and work, to be with me. Then the day came. It was early in the morning. Everyone was still sleeping. I'll never forget knocking on my parents bedroom door and whispering, "I think it's time." Calls went out to my doctor who instructed us to start to time my contractions. When they were 15 minutes apart we were to go to the hospital which was about 20 minutes away. My paternal grandfather (who lived with my parents at the time) kissed me and told me in Italian "Buona fortuna!" (Translated to English means: Good luck!, God speed!) as Mom and I left for the hospital. By the time Denis had arrived at my parents house we were already on our way to the hospital. What I was not aware of was that Denis was traveling from place to place all day long! He was driving from Baldwin to Massapequa then to Bethpage where the hospital was and back to Massapequa in what I later learned was a very rainy day. He traveled in our MG Midget Triumph Spitfire I used to call our puddle jumper and that day it did a lot of puddle jumping. Cell phones were not invented yet so people just relied on pay phones or land lines. Denis was trying to find out where I was..."Was I still at home? or Were we at the hospital already? He kept driving and finally ended up meeting my mom at the hospital. At the time, husbands were not allowed in the delivery room, so by the time Denis arrived to the hospital, he just paced and waited to hear the "Good news." I was in labor for hours before giving birth to a beautiful boy weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces and 21 inches long. We named him Denis Jr. I recall my mom saying before I gave birth, "just count the baby's fingers and toes and make sure he or she has ten of each!" I did just that! And he did!! Yay! He's perfect, I thought. And he was.
We ended up living with my parents for about 6 months after I gave birth to Denis Jr. because it was too hot up in our tiny apartment in Baldwin. So, we explained to our landlord that we were moving on and bid our good byes to our first little home.
From there we moved into my grandpa's apartment upstairs in his house in our home town of Massapequa. We lived there for five years until the house next door went up for sale.
Moving into our new home was so exciting. I then became pregnant with our second child. Unfortunately, I sadly lost that baby. It was such a trying time for Denis Sr. and I. But, shortly after that, I became pregnant again! How wonderful, we thought. However, although the baby looked healthy and fine, I was having issues with the pregnancy. So, I was ordered to have complete bedrest for 6 months. My family, friends and believe it or not, my doctor, helped me during those months in bed. Denis Jr. was a BIG help too. At only 5 years old, he would tell me what was in refrigerator and I would instruct him what to bring to my bed and we would make lunch together. We ate many tomato and mayo sandwiches during that time. Nine months later, I gave birth to a beautiful girl weighing in at 8 pounds and 2 ounces and 21 inches long. We named her Andrea. Remembering what my mom had said 5 years earlier, I counted her fingers and toes. Perfect! There were ten of each!! Yay! She's perfect, I thought. And she was.
A few years after the birth of our daughter, we moved from that house to the house we now live in and have lived in for 41 years.
Both of our children are hard working, compassionate adults that we couldn't be prouder of. Denis is an award winning Math Teacher and basketball Coach in the Bellmore/Merrick School District and Andrea is an award winning Managing Director at a Medical PR firm in NYC.
As the years have past, I've learned that in order to feel good about life you have to cherish the celebrations. And we have!!
We've had celebrations of Baptisms, First Holy Communions, School Awards. Chairing Home School Parent events, Confirmations, High School Graduations, College Graduations and marriages just to name some. But, the greatest were the births of our three grandchildren and welcoming our Stepson. After 50 years, we can now spoil and dote over them without one bit of guilty indulgence. This coming Saturday our grandson will be making his First Holy Communion. Just another Hallmark in the lives of two High School Sweethearts that trusted in God for His guidance and protection.
The story and celebrations continue...
Yippee and Yay!!
Remember to celebrate life even minute of every day!
It's all we have and all we can hope for...
Happy tales to you.
A Place where I can Bark, Blog and Woof a Little
written by Yvonne Dagger