Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Celebrating Our Marriage

On November 22nd my hubby Keith and I celebrated our marriage of 45 years. WOW! (And they said it wouldn’t last. HA!) So, what does it feel like being married to each other all these years? Honestly, I don’t know. I mean, how should it feel? Marriage consists of both physical feelings and mental perception. And feelings are not tangible. Marriage is a place, a dwelling wherein two hearts are devoted to one another and live & love each other unconditionally which consists of what I call the 3-Cs of marriage: Communication, Compromise & Caring.  
Marriage is a process of steps & experiences a couple travels before they say "I Do" and I have previously posted about these. Please revisit the posts dated June 18th "Here Comes the Bride" and June 20th "First Date, the Proposal & Engagement Ring," and June 26th "Wedding Plans."    
So on this 45th year of our marriage, here are pictures & mementos that reside in our Family Museum that gently remind us of our days & years together. What is particularly interesting is that these things are from our honeymoon, which I recently discovered in one of those many boxes. I can't believe I saved all this stuff!

Before we got married, I worked at the Board of Trade Building for an insurance company. In the building was a travel agency and because it was so convenient, I booked our honeymoon through them. Here is the itinerary for the whole trip. Both of us were new to travel beyond our home towns, so all of this was exciting. The invoice shows the air travel cost a total of $263.28 for two tickets and the cruise $310. Can you believe how cheap it was then compared to how much it costs now to fly and take a cruise?   
Our first night was spent at the O'Hare Inn near the O'Hare Airport in Chicago. It was a very cold night with snow and temperatures falling near zero. We couldn't wait to get on that plane and fly down to warm weather and sunshine. Next morning, we flew down to Miami and boarded our ship, The Flavia.

In 1963 the Flavia commenced her around the world service. In 1968 she was withdrawn from that service. The same year as our honeymoon, 1969, the Flavia was owned by the Costa Line and began a new successful career, operating year round 3-4 day cruises from Miami to the Bahamas until July 1977.
Neither one of us had ever been on a cruise ship before. We did not know what to expect, so holding hands and walking up the gang plank, we enter a new world of not only being married but sailing away on a large body of water to a distant land we only read about. Once onboard, we showed our boarding pass and were given the ships deck plan and told to go and find our cabin. Located on the second to the bottom deck of the ship, our cabin was #P-84 on the Portofino Deck. Two twin beds separated by a night stand, we knew immediately that this simply will not do. So before we went to bed, we took the mattresses off the bed frames and laid them on the floor together. Now that is more like it. After all, this was our honeymoon! And we had a porthole, allowing a tiny view of what was out there. The one clear memory I have of the pothole was how the water level was at times higher than the window. Kind of scary, it was. Some what settle in, we ventured forth, investigating our surroundings. Then the whistle blew long and deep, letting us know that we were about to leave the Port of Miami. Climbing six levels of stairs, we reached the Sun Deck where many of the passengers stood watching the ship pull away from the dock. How exciting that was. Then we all mustered to the dining room to meet the crew and get instructions on lifeboat procedures. We all sat at our designated table with our life vests on. After that, they passed out the daily program and brochures about Nassau. When we were there, Nassau was still governed by British rule. The island was clean and orderly, and the traffic police wore white shorts and shirts, their appearance very commanding and reassuring to the two of us novice travelers. We couldn't wait to explore, but first, dinner. And what a dinner it was!
Escorted into the one and only dining room, we were seated at table #9, which is where we sat for every meal. Every menu was a work of art. This cover was by Pablo Picasso. The food choices were outstanding. For example, we had a choice of Spaghetti all'amatriciana, slices of stone-bass, chicken, hunter style, roast prime ribs of beef, potatoes, sauces, salads, dressings, assorted cheeses and of course, dessert.  And if that wasn't enough, there was always a midnight buffet. We both gain weight on this trip and there were no gyms, spas, or rock climbing to help you lose it. But we walked it off as we explored Nassau, its downtown and markets. I was not good at bargaining like you are suppose to do, but I got a basket and still have it to this day.

Mostly we loved the beaches and going to the Bahamian Club and the Paradise Island Casino. Here was the very first place both of us ever set our eyes on topless dancers. We couldn't believe the uninhibitedness of this performers and the elan in which they carried themselves. Most of all, their costumes were gorgeous! Can't remember much more but I did save my cocktail napkin. There is so much more to tell but I think Nassau today is well known and visited often by the plethora of cruise ships that dock there every day. We had the opportunity to return to Nassau about 12 years later, but by then many changes occurred because on July 10, 1973, Nassau became a free and sovereign country ending 325 years of peaceful British rule. We recall noticing the changes and were somewhat disappointed, but Nassau will always be a fond memory for us. Check its history and offerings at
A last word on the Flavia. In 1982 Costa sold her and changed her name to Flavian. Sold again in 1986 to another Hong Kong shipping company. Tragically, this once proud Liner languished for 3 years. Then the inevitable occurred. On Jan 7, 1989, she caught fire. For ship lovers, it was indeed a tragic end for such a remarkable ship.

Many years have gone by and during that time we went on a couple more cruises, travel to many US States and several European cities. Forty-Five years later, here we are older and wiser and still having fun!                        
On our 45th Wedding Anniversary, our kids gave us a surprise party. Tiffeni had taken a picture of our wedding cake to the local baker and she duplicated it and placed our now rusticated original wedding cake top on the new cake. Charlie got the champagne and flowers and paid for all of our meals. What a guy and gal! Now we have new memories to put into our Family Museum.

And as today is Thanksgiving Day, my family and I wish you and yours a very festive holiday.





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