So here we are 46 years later and Rosemarie and I may have second thoughts on many of the directions we’ve taken, but there has never been a doubt—nor will there ever be—that “till death do us part” is the way this relationship will end.
There was no rhyme or reason why we picked September 9th. It was more out of convenience than anything else. The date simply “fit” in our schedule. We had very little money when we got married. We had even less vacation time earned so we could not go on any kind of extended honeymoon. Our plans were quite simple. We would be married with only immediate family and closest of friends present. This totaled a guest list of eleven people. The reception would be at Rosemarie’s home and her mother, as usual, put out a spread fit for Buckingham Palace. Now, I am sure this sounds like a nightmare wedding to most everyone, but not to us. It was practical, realistic, and stressed the purity of our no-frills love for each other.
We had four days off. We planned to take a leisurely drive through upstate New York which was quite beautiful in the fall. There were no special events going on or sites to see…just a lot of nice tree-lined roadways and quaint towns and inns. We would travel carefree and simply enjoy the incredible new freedom of not being expected home by a certain time and tucked away in separate beds. Today, this concept is just about meaningless. Back then, it meant the world.
By late afternoon, we were heading north on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. There was a monsoon most of the trip which added to the romance and excitement. We both love good storms. Our honeymoon night would be spent in a chain hotel in Binghamton, a town just over the New York State border. Why the magical city of Binghamton? We had figured that was about as far as we wanted to drive this first day so Binghamton fit the requirement.
It is at this point that I must take us on a slight detour. Years ago, usually on the second or third Saturday evening in the month of September, the nation stood still. The Miss America Contest was always televised this night and every female citizen of the country was duty bound to tune in, swoon in and wish that someday the Miss America tiara would rest on their head. Rosemarie was no different. She never, never, never missed watching the Miss America Contest.
Okay, now back to our wedding day. Rosemarie and I are navigating our new baby blue VW up the Pennsylvania Turnpike through a deluge worthy of a Navy Destroyer. The windshield wipers are at a frantic rate, though barely keeping pace with my heart as I eagerly anticipate the great prize that awaits all grooms in the honeymoon suite. We are still awhile from Binghamton. Suddenly there is a look of panic on Rosemarie’s face!
“Oh my God, Oh my God,” she screams.
“What? What?” I scream back.
“The Miss America Pageant is on and we’re missing it!” Rosemarie proclaims in a panicky tone.
Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought, but back then we didn’t use the expression “wtf? I simply muttered something like, “oh.”
It took a little while to calm things down, but I explained that, while we would miss a portion of the pageant, we should arrive in Binghamton in plenty of time to see the last hour. That was good news and Rosemarie showed signs of relief. I don’t know what signs I was showing.
We arrive at the hotel. We check in and rush up the elevator to “the room”…the first room in which Rosemarie and I will spend an entire night together…alone! How was the room? I have no idea. It did have a television and Rosemarie had it fired up faster than I could say, “honeymoon anyone?” I told her to make herself comfy; I would go back down to the car and bring up our things.
And so, 46 years ago, on the night of my honeymoon in a room in a small hotel in Binghamton, just across the New York State border, Rosemarie and sat up next to each other in bed…watching the Miss America Pageant.
A great story, huh! It’s always good for lots of laughs. But I purposely always delay the “big reveal” waiting at the end of this story…and it goes like this: On our honeymoon night, 46 years ago, Rosemarie and I were as much in love then as we are now. Consequently, we would have to wait until the next morning to find out who actually won the Miss American Pageant!