40 YEARS AND COUNTING
HIGH SCHOOL ROMANCE TURNS 50 I If it hadn’t been for the assistance of a meddling friend, the last 50 years of my life might have played out completely differently. Growing up in a small town, I knew pretty much everyone who attended my high school, including my future wife, Jan. However, we didn’t actually become acquainted until a mutual friend called me in 1968 and told me that Jan knew I was going to call her. (These were not plans I made until this phone call, by the way.) He said Jan would say yes if I asked her on a date, but I would have to call and ask first.
Celebrating Our 50th Year of Marriage
one year after we took the advice of our meddling friend. Because I was only 17 when we applied for a marriage license, I actually had to have my mom accompany me to the local courthouse. We married on Thanksgiving weekend a few days after my 18th birthday.
Jan and I, then and now.
There’s no way I could have known when I picked up the phone to make that fateful call that I’d be
I was shy in high school, so this gentle prodding was actually the best way for me to land a date. Little did I know this same friend called Jan, telling her that I was going to ask her out and she should say yes. Thankfully, this friend was right, and soon we were going steady. This was a big deal for shy, 16-year-old me, because Jan is a year older than I am. The fact that an older girl agreed to go on a date with me was astonishing, and I was terrified of what her expectations might be. I soon discovered that Jan is worth every anxiety-inducing moment leading up to our relationship. Nearly three months later, Valentine’s Day was looming. But this holiday is even more special to Jan because it’s also her birthday. That first Valentine’s Day and birthday we spent together had to be special, so I gave her an emerald bracelet. Jan still has it to this day, and we make it a point to celebrate both of these occasions separately each year.
married a year later to the woman I had been petrified to date. Marrying so young was a whirlwind for Jan and me. After all, I was still in high school, and she supported our
home on her own. In hindsight, it might not have been the smartest move finanacially, but we always knew we had a reliable relationship. The strength of our bond has been firmly built on faith. Throughout all our highs and lows, we’ve always had God to fall back on. This has been a constant in our relationship, and we could not have thrived the way we did without His hand.
“There’s no way I could have known
when I picked up the phone to make that fateful call that I’d be married a year later to the woman I had been petrified to date.”
Eleven years ago, I took the ultimate leap of mortal faith and bought Digital Print Ink. I’d been working in corporate America for years prior to this, and I was ready to take on a new challenge. In the early years of my career, Jan was a tremendous partner when it came to managing our family and raising our daughters, Cortney, born in 1975, and Piper, born in 1984. In addition to supporting my endeavors for the past 11 years, Jan has also been successfully running her own real estate staging business. I could not be prouder to call her my wife. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to celebrate the past 51 Valentine’s Days and birthdays with my high school sweetheart. I’ll forever be grateful for that friend and for Jan, who said yes to a shy 16-year-old on the other end of the phone.
As 1969 progressed, so did our infatuation with each other. We decided to get married in November — just
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