#38 Happy Valentine’s Day: The First 35 Years

This week’s blog posting will have a bit more personal indulgence than past posts.  Valentine’s Day is not just another holiday on the calendar for me. It is my wedding anniversary. And February 14, 2011 is particularly special as it marks our 35th year.  Thirty five years!  Amazing to think of that number. It seems like it belongs to someone else—someone much, much, much older! Where did the time go?  My wife and I agree that it has gone by in a blink. 

My wife Laurie (Hoppi) and I met on a blind date (Wednesday, January 21, 1975; we went to a Jacksonville University Dolphin basketball game at the old Jacksonville Coliseum) during my senior year in college.  Three months after our introduction, I graduated and started a career.  One month after that, Laurie moved to Jacksonville.  Nine months after that we were married. The year was 1976. The nation was celebrating its bicentennial; Pittsburg beat Dallas in Super Bowl X; a new figure on the national political scene won the Democratic Caucus in Iowa—and eventually the presidency; the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team came into existence; Apple Computer Company was created by Steve Jobs; the Ramones released their first album; my New York Yankees were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.

But obviously for this 22-year old couple, the big news was our wedding—and the beginning of a life adventure.

A few of my remembrances of that day 35 years ago:

    • We got married at Christ the King Church in Arlington (suburb of Jacksonville, FL).
    • It was near 80 degrees that day.
    • Laurie’s flowers were tulips.
    • Her bride’s maids were all high school friends. That amazed (in a good way) me then. Still does today.
    • I got a little weepy at the ceremony. My mother told me to buck up!
    • The wedding reception was at the old Hilton Hotel on the Southbank of the St. John’s River. There was no Jacksonville Landing. There was no Riverwalk. In fact, there was not much on the riverfront.
    • The band performed “our song” at the wedding –which had been written and recorded by a relative newcomer: Billy Joel. The song:“You’re My Home.”


  • My brother-n-law was in charge of my bride’s car that day. I think he lost it.
  • One of the guys in the wedding party (affectionately known as Worthless) had just purchased a new car. Brand spanking new. One of the bride’s maids burned a hole in the new interior with a cigarette. He handled it very well.
  • The wedding reception was like a fraternity party. Really!  Most of the people there were of the Phi Delta Theta persuasion.
  • One of our friends, decades later, swore that he was not at our wedding. We have a photo below to prove he was. Guess he REALLY enjoyed the open bar that day!
  • The big dance of the day was—the BUMP!  My Aunt Philomena, who made the trip with my mother and grandmother, did the bump with a fraternity brother.
  • I got sick as a dog…not from what you think.  By the second night of our new life together we were on our way to the Keys for our honeymoon—and I had a 104 degree fever and a terrible flu or whatever.  I think Laurie was seriously thinking about an early trade in on this model.

Someone recently asked me about the “secret” to 35 years of marriage.  I never like those types of questions. The answers usually sound so freakin’ pompous and self-serving.  For us, there is no secret; no formula. We have had our difficulties like all others. Heck, truth be told, we didn’t know what we were getting into.  We didn’t have a checklist of what we wanted or were looking for.  But, if you held me down to provide a secret, I’d say it is simply giving each other space.  We have encouraged each other, supported each other, and challenged each other along these 35 years.  We have NEVER “kept score.” You know, the kind of relationship you might hear something like, “Well, I did such and such last week…so you have to do such and such this week.” 

But mostly the reason for our success and longevity is that I “married up”!  Yep, I hit the jackpot.  I know, I know. Cliché!  But if there is such a thing, I married an old soul.  Laurie lets so many things roll off her back—while I fuss and fume.  One card I got her this year pretty much summed it up: “Of course I love you. Who else would put up with all my crap?”  She is pretty amazing.

Video recommendation for the week:

In “Remember When,” Alan Jackson sings:

Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now looking back, it’s just a stepping stone
To where we are to where we’ve been
Said we’d do it all again…Remember when….

One of the songs on my latest CD was my first stab at a love song. While it is not Alan Jackson quality, “Coffee and Candles” does have a turn on words that I am proud of:

When young turns to old
And fast becomes slow
No matter the pace
Together we’ll go…..

Here’s to the next 35! Together, we will definitely go.  I love you, Hop!



(c) 2011. Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s blog.

About stevepiscitelli

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16 Responses to #38 Happy Valentine’s Day: The First 35 Years

  1. Marilyn says:

    Very sweet – thanks for sharing from the heart.


  2. M.E. says:

    How wonderful to know that love with longevity does exist! What a tribute to your wife and to the sacrices you made to each other all these years. Thanks for letting all of us share in your love story 🙂


  3. BEANIE says:

    Now this is what a marriage is going through the bad happy or sad i dont think people listening when ho TILL DEATH US APART. Thank you for sharing may u have many more.


  4. Judy H says:

    This was really mushy. I like the idea of a man ( for a chance) remembering special events or anniversaries. Usually its the woman paying homage to anniversaries, not the man. Its refreshing and reassuring to know that men do have hearts and can be sensitive.


  5. Barbara M says:

    Happy Valentine Anniversary 35th year! Ain’t love wonderful!!? There is no one secret or formula to true love. It is the day by day, moment by moment growing in love that makes the recipe that a married couple ends up with. We don’t get the love that we read about or thought was exactly what we felt was perfect, instead we get what was meant to be,something beyond dreams and fairy tales but far more substantial.


  6. Chelsea b says:

    This blog has helped me relise that true love does realy exist. For years i’ve been in so many bad relationships that I lost hope. This blog also lets me know that my theory on faith is fictonal and also wrong. The part in this blog where it is stated “the key to our relationship was just giving eachother space” was a big help for me I belive that may be the reason for so many of my failed relationships I thought that you had to smother someone with love and time that way they new you love them. Which I was wrong again. Happy 35 year Valentines


  7. L.Fleming says:

    WOW! That’s really a blessing from God to have had a happy marriage for so many years. Im currently in a great relatonship with a great guy and I believe he may be “the one” so reading this has really encouraged me. The divorce rate is steadily skyrocketing and in other cases some people stay married but arent happily married.You stated “We have NEVER “kept score.” You know, the kind of relationship you might hear something like, “Well, I did such and such last week…so you have to do such and such this week.” I love that! Great advice. Thanx so much for sharing.


  8. Jasmine V. says:

    Wow! I really enjoyed reading this.It shows me that true love really does exist. Although I never gave up or lost my faith on finding it (love). This blog has really open my eyes to see that all I need to have is patience. Only because I dream of being married for 35+. This shows me that you don’t have to be together for years to get married. In my perfect world I meet my prince charming and falls right in love and gets married not long after we meet. Thanks for sharing this with me. This shows me that not only is my dream realistic for someone else but also gives me more hope and faith that it will become more realistic for me too.

    I just love this blog. Very cute awl.


  9. Tia Womack says:

    WOW!!! I am amazed at how much you remember “little” details of your wedding day that happened 35 years ago! Most men can’t remember what day their anniversary is lol. I know its a little late but….Happy Anniversary and I wish you and your wife many more to come. I pray that my husband and I are as blessed as you and wife are to make it to 35 years of marriage. Nowadays people don’t stay married 3 months. It takes commitment, hard work and lots of love and forgiveness to make it work.


  10. Pingback: A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2011 in Review « Steve Piscitelli's Blog

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