Friday, August 28, 2009


Dear George,

Today is Katja's and my 49th wedding anniversary. What happened? Where did all that time go? It seems just a while ago that we were getting things together for our small wedding at the Quaker Chapel on Antioch’s campus. The minister’s name was Howard Johnson. Our families drove in from Philadelphia and Menominee, respectively. Ami (age 18) was the maid of honor, and Steven (19) was the best man. Katja’s parents were uneasy about the whole thing, and my dad took Katja aside and told her very sternly that members of our family never divorce. It made us both very nervous, which may be one of the reasons why we’re celebrating our 49th. Katja looked radiant in her white wedding gown. Her favorite French teacher, Herman Schnurer, was there, as was Erling Eng, my favorite Psychology professor. We honeymooned for one night at a downtown hotel in Dayton, left for Ann Arbor the next week. Six years later I took a job in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Cincinnati, and J was born three years after that in 1969. I got tenure in 1973, and we bought our first and only house. For years we were a tennis family as J competed on the regional junior circuit. Just as he was going off to Columbia in 1987, Katja, who had taught French at UC for many years, got her MSW and took a job at her social work agency. J and K went off to med school in New Orleans and got married at the Elvis Presley chapel in Las Vegas. We got the sheepdogs in 2002. Baby V was born in September 2008. I retired in January, Katja’s still working away, and now I am writing this blog.

All this was on my mind when I went off to the fitness center this morning. As I was working on one of the upper body strength machines, I noticed an older couple, probably somewhere in their mid-eighties, at the nearby leg curl machine. The man was tall, balding, and very thin, and the woman was petite, silver-haired, and stooped over. They both looked very fragile. They were talking about the machine, pointing to its different parts, and looking at it from this vantage point and that. I thought they probably were new members and didn’t know how to adjust the settings. When I finished what I was doing, I asked them if I could help in any way. The man smiled and said, “No, we’re fine.” The woman added, “We’re just trying to figure out if he can get out of it once he gets in.” I said that I’d be glad to help if they needed any assistance and went on to another machine. I did keep my eye on them though. They took a long time, and finally the man did slowly and painfully work his way onto the seat. His wife helped lift his legs up on the bar he would be pressing. I did two or three other exercises while the elderly man was doing the leg curl, and his wife, by that time, had completed an adjacent machine. When they were done they slowly made their way across the room to the physical therapy unit. The man had a walker and moved at a snail’s pace. The woman held his arm and helped to steady him. They seemed like such a devoted couple; it was very touching. I guessed that they might be celebrating their 60th or 65th anniversary this year. I don’t know just how Katja and I have managed to carry it off, but it seemed to me that these strangers had the secret.



Gmail Comments:

-Donna D (8-28): very touching, david, very touching.... when you write for your 50th, you'll have more positive and fun things to say!

-Ami G (8-28): What about Winnie? Anyway, happy, happy anniversary and congratulations on a splendid life, so far! Much love. Ami and Bruce

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