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When I read his blog I immediately thought of Mary Agnes, my wife of fifty seven years come this November and our beginning. I also thought of her and our fifth great grandchild Alana, soon to be six months old. As a side note, grandchild Rachael is due to bring into this world Great # 6 later this month.
In the beginning, that would be late spring of 1964, our first date took place in New Jersey, just across the Tacony/Palmyra bridge from N/E Philadelphia. That bridge would cross the famous Delaware river George Washington once crossed. After attending a movie with another couple, we stopped at a diner for a bite to eat and headed north on Rt. 130 towards Willingboro where the other couple’s parents resided. As we headed north we came upon a cemetary in Cinniminson New Jersey. The entryway was well lit and beutiful aeration fountain was spraying water in the air. I can still to this day shut my eyes and visualize that entryway.
We would pull in, park, and begin a leisurely walk about the grounds. I can still hear ducks quacking and the spray of the aerated water hitting the pond. At some point we found ourselves behind a hedge and with her permission, yes I asked permission, we kissed. “Botta Bing, Botta Boom,” bells, whistles, fireworks. We were a match! Eighteen months later the four of us would elope and marry in Fall River, Massachusetts. (That’s a story for another day.) A young Marine, a Sailor, and two recent grads from Nursing school would take one Giant Step in our young lives. Just as a side note, we played Pinochle on our wedding night.
Cemeteries have always held a special meaning to us over the years. Several years back on a trip to the Canadian Mari tines we must have stopped in a least a dozen and commemorated each with a kiss, “EH.”
When weather permits and the wife is doing child care for Alana she pushes the stroller into a close-by cemetery and tells Alana, this is where it all began. It was also fitting that the first date was on a weekend’s liberty from Marine Barracks, 8’th & I, Washington, DC. During my three years in D.C. I would quite often find myself at funerals in Arlington National Cemetery, including that of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
To so many, a cemetery signifies closure. To me and mine, it was a beginning. To Dan, the Sailor who began that journey with us, “May you rest in peace.”
Much thanks to Stewart Perkins for allowing me to share his Chicken Soup for the soul.