Still married: Twenty years and counting

I wrote this column in September of 2007 on what was then our 10th wedding anniversary. Today we mark 20 years. Today both of us are out of the newspaper business (and who would have believed that in 1997?) and I’m always home on time after work. Now I’m the one waiting for her to get home. And marrying Roselee was still the best decision I’ve ever made. Happy anniversary to us.

wed

It was a newspaper marriage right down to the homemade invitations, which were unusual to say the least. What do I mean by unusual? Well, let’s just say they didn’t meet any standard set by most reputable endorsed-by-Miss-Manners stationers. To go one step further, the wedding invitations were so downright cute that they completely confounded my mother.

She didn’t say that out loud of course. She chose not to say much of anything at all about the one-sided cards we mailed to family and friends. When she found out lots of folks kind of liked them, well, she sort of did, too.

At least that was her story for public consumption.

Like I said, the invitations very much announced a newspaper wedding. It was designed on an oversized card, which had information printed on just one side. It was created on a Macintosh computer at my old newspaper, The Jacksonville Daily News. I wrote the text and we set up its appearance — basically a miniature version of the newspaper’s front page template. A friend made it happen on the computer.

“Big Nuptials” the main headline blared underneath the undersized Daily News mast. It was, as headlines usually are, followed by a story. The lead paragraph announced that Madison Taylor would marry Roselee Papandrea on Sept. 27, 1997, in Swansboro, N.C., “according to a source close to the wedding.”

The story went on to identify this “source” as the father of the bride Joseph Papandrea. Hey, I wasn’t about to allow some anonymous random gossip to raise questions about my wedding.

The rest of the invitation followed in the same vein. The text was accompanied by mug photos of me and the bride to be. At the bottom of the card there was a little place where people could fill out RSVP information, clip it off and send it back to us — kind of like a newspaper circulation promotion.

We knew the invitations didn’t offend anybody’s delicate social sensibilities when friends started to call and ask if they absolutely had to clip the bottom part off. They wanted to keep the invitation and not ruin it.

As most might have already noted, that was 10 years ago Thursday. We got married on one of the rainiest non-hurricane days at Emerald Isle that I can remember. Some folks take that to be a bad omen. We didn’t, even though my arrival at the church in Swansboro was a little strange. I lost my car keys that morning and walked through the town’s historic district to the church in a blinding rainstorm wearing a tux and carrying a red and white Wilson golf umbrella.

It must have been a sight. Anyway, perhaps nothing could be more emblematic of our marriage than that invitation. A newspaper, after all, was where we met and it’s still where we share the most common ground. That’s still true after 10 years and a major move this year. And only a newspaper person could understand another newspaper person’s hours. So when I’m running an hour or so late, she knows what dozen things might have caused it. So when I reminded her Thursday morning that I’d be late coming home on our anniversary night it wasn’t a problem at all. “Oh yeah,” she said. “Doesn’t that happen every year?”

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