By Jacqueline Galdenzi
On Sunday, my husband and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. In recent days, I have been looking back on meeting, dating and eventually marrying this amazing man.
As a teen, I had always dated jocks. My two brothers were athletic. They played football and baseball, skied, took karate, worked construction during the summer break and rode motorcycles. Dad was a natural athlete who could turn his hand to any sport – a real man’s man.
I didn’t really enjoy or understand football or hockey. However, like a lot of young women of my generation, I pretended in order to please my fella. I memorized names of teams and players and sat for hours watching and cheering appropriately. But secretly I was bored out of my mind!
Then along came my husband-to-be. He attended the same high school as my then boyfriend and was fairly well known. I had seen him from afar many times and thought he was pretty darn cute.
And unlike previous beaus, Perry was not a jock. He was on the school’s social committee, responsible for booking what in those days were monthly school dances with live local bands.
Perry loved music. He was in the school band, belonged to a small band with some buddies, and, gulp, he performed in school plays. None of his friends were athletes either, but rather sweet, slightly nerdy guys who have all gone on to great successes in life.
The first time I kissed my future husband my then boyfriend was standing right beside me. We were attending a formal dance and going through the receiving line where Perry stood with other committee members welcoming us. I don’t know what possessed me, but I reached up and kissed him on the cheek. My then boyfriend was not amused.
The following September, we met again in the first week of college. Kismet. He asked me out.
Perry had spent that summer in Italy visiting family and came home with a wardrobe right out of Milan. He showed up for our date wearing orange – yes, orange – shoes, a skin-tight shirt, high-waisted, baggy trousers and a midi-length suede coat. Think John Travolta. I thought Dad would faint. Mum took one look at him and labeled him a womanizer.
But Perry was not to be discouraged. He endured endless ribbing from my father, and for quite some time my mother was sure he would break my heart.
But man, we were having a ball. Finally I had a boyfriend who enjoyed some of the things I liked!
In time he won over my parents and we married. Dad spent hours teaching him about home repair when we bought our first fixer-upper and didn’t know where to start.
Perry learned to golf and he and Dad became great golf buddies. Perry still says he enjoyed golfing with Dad more than anyone since. They share a very funny story about not knowing early on how to put the golf cart in reverse and having to pick it up and turn it around.
My mother grew to love him like one of her own. My brothers and sisters all adored him and still do.
They often say a girl looks to marry a man just like her Dad. Well the two most important men in my life may have appeared to be very different from one another. But they shared the most important qualities that a woman looks for: a loving heart, kindness, honesty, loyalty, a sense of humor and being an amazing father.
My man has been lovingly by my side through cancer, the loss of loved ones and all of the wonderful things in between. I think I’ll keep him for another 40.