On April 6, Bob and I celebrated 44 years of marriage. We were just kids -19 and 20 years old; two high school sweethearts who met at a burger joint where we both worked. There was a snow squall the morning of our wedding day. Huge snowflakes that seemed to be the size of baseballs fell from the sky then quickly disappeared as they hit the ground. Some say that snow on a wedding day is considered good luck. Maybe. In retrospect, those baseball-sized snowflakes were probably more of a foreshadowing of what our life together would become. I should have known.
Before we got married, I knew Bob enjoyed baseball. He played in high school and on the Legion team. We talked about baseball sometimes – how as a little boy he wore clunky corrective shoes instead of sneakers to play ball because he had been born with a club foot; how he played 12U ball as a 7-year old; how he played ball every day, all summer long as a kid, stopping only for lunch and dinner. I should have known how deeply the baseball waters flowed within him.
On April 8, two days after we were married, we drove to Williamsburg VA to spend a few days. Our honeymoon was modest – even by 1974 standards. We checked into a nice but unpretentious motel with a lake view. We toured the Colonial city. We ate fast food. Whatever the day lacked in frills was more than made up for in the fun we were having simply spending our very first vacation day as a married couple.
If I had missed the telltale signs beforehand of the life I was destined to live as Bob’s wife, the first evening of our honeymoon should have been my wakeup call. Back in our motel room, in the romantic, blue glow of a TV screen, we watched Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, shattering Babe Ruth’s longstanding record. It was a memorable night!
Looking back, I can now see how much baseball has always been a big part of Bob’s life. I can’t say that I ever cared much about baseball all those years ago. But slowly and without notice it seeped into the available spaces of our life together until it became what it is today - a part of “us.” Two had become one. I should have known.