Sixty-two years ago today, I said “I do” and Patti said “I do.” And with that, we were married.
But three months earlier, on November 11, 1959, I said something different, and so did she. We were just out of college, Patti a teacher of the deaf and I an aspiring advertising executive. The apartment she shared with several other young teachers was a magnet for us young guys looking for a place to hang out and snag a date now and again.
One late afternoon, Patti and I found ourselves there alone, sitting on the floor listening to music—Percy Faith’s album “Bouquet”, Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream”, Mantovani’s “La Mer”. They were the soundtrack for a casual conversation that then somehow eased into an ineffably deep sharing of our tenderest dreams, fears, hopes. This pas de deux of two souls entwining floated us along for unnoticed hours until, to our sudden realization, it was light outside—dawn!—and we were both expected at work in a few minutes.
We resumed that engagement the following evening, for nearly as long. And the next evening. And the next. For eight nights, until I said what I said.
“You know we’re going to get married, don’t you?”
And Patti said, “Of course.”
For sixty-two years, I have revered those two words. Of course.
How different from my having proposed, and her having said “Yes.”
In our day, it was the man’s expected prerogative to make a proposal, and (if he hadn’t miscalculated) the woman’s expected response of assent to it.
But somehow for a couple of people who’d been immersed in nonstop exploration of each other’s mind and spirit for eight consecutive days, what transpired—“You know, don’t you” and “Of course”—was more a mutual acknowledgement of a simple but profound reality that had come into being. We were meant to be coupled, husband and wife, mother and father, grandparents for our lifetime together.
It seems to be working.