Over 100 people gathered on August 25 in the Fellowship Hall of
the Culver Palms Church of Christ to help Frank and me celebrate
our 50th Wedding Anniversary. My friends from the church mingled
with Frank’s friends from Mansfield Chamber Singers and a few
neighbors, old friends from the area and surprise guests we’d
known in Texas.
It had been 50 years to the day since Frank and I married in my
parents' house in Happy, Texas. Only our parents and siblings had
been there, together with Robert Barrett, Frank’s best man from
college (my sister Barbara was my maid of honor), and a cousin
who helped arrange things. We were married by the man who
happened to be preaching in Happy at the time. Since I’d been
away at college, I didn’t really know him.
Our wedding was a sad, skimpy affair (My grandfather had died
not long before), so I was thrilled that our anniversary could be a
real celebration—thanks to our children Kathy and Robert who did
months of organizing.
A crew from the church—Robert Kohne, Art Sims, Kevin Harper
and Logan Davis—helped set up the room the night before. And a
second crew—Julie Levier, Jazmin Harper, Chris Kohne, Rosa
Spivey, Carla Williams, Linda Ramirez, and Lois Ward—worked
the day of the event to prepare salads and drinks. Ron Cox and
Troy Pearson captured it all in video and stills. We were so grateful
to our children and friends who made the celebration possible.
After a lunch of salads, rolls and two large cakes, the program
began, with Kathy emceeing.
Ken Wells introduced and directed the Mansfield Chamber Singers,
with their program of folk music from our era, the early 60s. Paul
Butler and Michael Harshberger accompanied on guitars. Before
long, everyone had joined the chorus, singing and clapping along
with the songs. I had wanted it to be an occasion everyone could
enjoy, not just us, and I was grateful to see that it was happening.
Kathy had decorated the room with bunches of silk daffodils—
seven to a bunch—together with pictures of the two of us over the
decades and publications from the period--some with our articles in
them. The daffodils were a reference to a song Frank sang to me
often in the early years of our marriage, “Seven Daffodils.” He sang
it again at our anniversary, and a new generation appreciated its
sentiments about the importance of love, not money.
The musical program concluded with our granddaughter Katyana,
Kathy, Robert, Frank and I joining the chorus for “Sloop John B.”
Katyana started it with the line, “We came on the sloop John B, my
grandfather and me. . . .”
Keith Brisco, one of our elders, spoke, comparing our marriage to
a movie, with a soundtrack and a plot, which he found appropriate
because Frank is a singer and I am a writer.
Our son Robert talked about the "good rules" that make our
marriage work—mutual support, communication (including
listening), respect and love.
I was grateful to Frank for our years together, to the kids for
honoring us in such a wonderful way, to friends from many contexts
who celebrated with us and helped make it one of the best times of
my life and to God for keeping us safe and together.
Special guests included Bonnie Leitch, a friend from school in
Happy, TX; Kay Nagel, a friend from Abilene Christian College;
Betty and Joe Bridges from the Vermont Avenue Church; and Len
Nguyen, a deputy for our city councilman who presented us a
plaque from the City of Los Angeles signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti
and our local councilmember Mike Bonin.
What a spectacular conclusion to a summer of thanksgiving!
Julie Levier (in sea green) and her
Ken Wells (in plaid shirt) directs
the Mansfield Chamber Singers.
Frank and I appreciate son Robert
and daughter Kathy, who hosted.
Bonnie Leitch, a friend from second
grade through high school in
Happy, Texas, was a surprise guest.
Kay Burton Nagel was a friend at
Abilene Christian College.
Joe and Betty Bridges have been
friends since we reared our children
together at the Vermont Avenue
Ken Wells introduced the
Keith Brisco compared
our marriage to a movie.
Robert discussed the rules that
made our relationship work.
Len Nguyen brought greetings
from the City of Los Angeles.