Niagara Gazette

Columns

August 10, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: A trip down matrimony lane

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Match-Makers — When Doug touched down in Bloomsburg, Pa., in September of ‘56, It Looked Like For Ever (the title of one of his favorite novels). It was, and it wasn’t. Within a year, he had lifted off again, to Jamestown. He would never again live more than 90 miles from Buffalo.

But he had left his heart in Bloomsburg and 54 years this week, we walked through the airlock to the Planet Matrimony. A few said it should never happen and a few more foresaw a brief voyage, even in those times when “death to us part” was alive and well and a whole lot cheaper. We’ve still got the receipts. The whole shebang cost less than $100. Today, that wouldn’t even tip the DJ.

We got our money’s worth, for sure, even though totally mismatched in so many ways.

Doug came to this realization while imagining a log of memorable moments.

All the multi-venued adventures, from the trains, planes and automobiles nationwide tour when the children were 8 and 12, through the month-long venture down Route 62, to the six-day rail roundtrip to Vancouver just before “The October Surprise,” these were largely of his design.

The more intense, stationary gatherings — the week-long whole-family rental of a do-it-yourself hotel on Oneida Lake, the big band at his 60th birthday, the 45th anniversary party at Italian Village in Cheektowaga, these were mostly the Polly’s design. (Why 45th rather than 50th? She instinctively felt people would be healthier. Of those attending the 45th, nearly a third were gone by the golden year.)

It figures. A “railroad brat,” Doug had eight addresses in seven locales before high school. Polly, abandoned by her father as a child, had seldom passed Bloomsburg’s borders. “She was 24 before she realized she was free to leave,” he would say.

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