As Ludek and I celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary on Oct. 7th, I think about all those years spent with one man. We were both born in former Czechoslovakia.
In 1978, that seemed unimaginable to an 18-year-old girl still in the Zlin Gymnasium Prep School with university years of studying ahead of me.
“You’re going to spend the rest of your life with one man?” classmate Zdenek asked me. “I can’t even fathom that.”
Yes, indeed. I spent all those years with one man.
“Boring,” said an acquaintance jokingly some time ago. She herself had been married to one man for a long time.
Just like in everything, there were some great times and some rough times over the four decades. Some of them, I consider historical moments.
Following are some highlights that really stand out:
The birth of our daughter Emma in April of 1979, my graduation from the University of Brno in 1986, the birth of our son Jake in 1987 and the move to the United States of America in 1989. My book Shifting Sands Short Stories came out in 2017. I became an American citizen in 1999. Ludek will have his naturalization ceremony this year.
In between were big, medium and little things; all those elements that make up marriage.
“For better or for worse,” as we said our wows.
Among the big things were: Weddings of our kids. Emma got married in Montrachet, Burgundy, France and Jake in Parnell, MI.
Another big shebang , I consider our celebration of the millennium at Stafford’s Perry Hotel, where Hemingway once stayed. Since, I love history, I love to stay on historical properties.
To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we will be staying in the historical Murray Hotel on Mackinac Island. I find inspiration in history, because it has a tendency to repeat itself. You can predict things based on the past.
We were surfing rough waters when the recession hit in 2007 through 2009, and Ludek lost his job. Ludek had to leave the state of Michigan to work in Prarie-du-Chien, Wisconsin. I stayed in Lowell because we didn’t want to lose the house. Our friends have lost theirs.
He commuted 500 miles to work and he came home for the weekends. When I wrote about it back at the peak of the depression in 2008, I got a response from a publication:
“That’s normal, that’s not a story.”
Yes, maybe for them it wasn’t. But for us it was a big story, as well as for millions of other Americans. I compensated the horror of separation and living by myself with a dog in the country by writing a screenplay. I bought Final Draft software and wrote about the assassination on liberal candidates.
We got through it with scars and hurts. Sometimes, it still hurts.
We still adhere to Czech traditions and customs, but we also have taken on new American traditions. It makes life interesting sharing two different cultures.
People ask me what do I miss the most about the old country?
“Definitely friends, since most of the family members have passed,” I answer.
But, always having a positive outlook, writing and innovation helped us through the good and the bad. Of course there was more good than the bad. It depends on the perspective and interpretation.
The good prevailed in love, passion and belief in each other.
And like talk show host Ripa said on TV, “It always boils down to respect of each other.”
The values we have established have carried us through; first comes our family, then passion for our work and innovation. This philosophy has always worked well throughout the years.
With well wishes for many more years.
Love always, Emma.
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