Nineteen Years: A Mere Moment In Time


My husband Shane and I just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe, I even had to do the math to prove it to myself. 

September 21, 1996 – A day that will live in infamy! 

I remember it like it was yesterday, I remember Shane taking me out to dinner way out in or near Wisconsin to a nice restaurant, and then afterwards in the car, in the restaurant parking lot, he asked me to marry him.  

I remember he gave a silver wedding band, and engraved inside it said “Love is the law”. Neither of us really knew what to do or expect, and we had little concern for tradition, so there was no engagement ring, just these silver bands, which we wore for about a month until we decided we should wait to wear a wedding band until we were actually married. I knew the protocol was wrong, but I didn’t care. Shane on the other hand had no clue one came before the other. Ladies at my work were kind of freaked out about it, and kept looking at my finger strangely….

I remember a few years later having a fight on the enclosed back porch of our apartment and throwing the ring at Shane, never saw it again. 

I remember we decided to get married in Charleston South Carolina, I had to call down to the county and find out how the whole thing worked. They said there was a forced 24 hour wait between getting the marriage license and the wedding. I asked who could perform weddings, and the woman on the phone said, we have a notary public right here in our office that does it…

I remember sitting at the battery where some great war – Civil or Revolutionary – began in the rain waiting for the ceremony, when a woman with thick black hair pulled up and makeup on like Tammy Faye Baker, and we knew that she was the notary we were waiting for. A photographer she recommended snapped pictures of our 4.5 minute ceremony. Shane’s favorite part was the fact the notary had asked if we wanted her favorite prayer at the end to bless the marriage, and we said no both on the phone and in person and she did it anyway.

I remember painting our first place, a single roomed storefront on Archer avenue, we painted it bright purple!

I remember a few fights where the police came, and I really thought it was over between us, but it never was.

I remember desperate times when we could not pay our bills, and Shane would say, we have a hundred bucks, let’s go out for dinner. And somehow, that splurge always led to us figuring a way to get money, or money would drop out of the sky the next day from someone who wanted to buy art, or consulting, or something.

I remember buying our first place, a giant building in Chicago’s now renamed and gentrified Canaryville neighborhood. It was an old printer’s shop with working printing presses, and a dark room, and a great apartment upstairs, and how hard we worked to make it go, and how we stood on the roof and cried one rainy night when it became apparent we couldn’t make it go anymore. We sold it two days before foreclosure would have begun.

I remember way before our wedding, when we took a road trip to California to participate in Foundation’s Forum (some industry music dealie), and we got to see a bunch of great bands, and we made love on the side of the highway twice…

I remember coming home from that trip and crashing exhausted into my bed at my mom’s house with  my beautiful dog Roxanne, and waking up from that sleep and telling Shane I loved him for the very first time….

I remember Roxanne getting really sick and finally taking her all the way to Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana, and they took the largest hematoma they’d ever seen out of her belly, and she was fine, and Shane used all of his savings and bill money to pay for it, and that was long before any marriage proposal.

I remember when Shane came home one night with a side ache and it got worse and worse and we went to the nearest hospital, and after hours of waiting, and x-rays and an emergency room doctor who wanted to cut off his testicle, we finally found out it was appendicitis and they operated. I felt so helpless seeing him in so much pain and being able to do nothing about it.

I remember we decided to move to New York City after we sold our little house in Hammond Indiana, and then getting a call that my father had had a stroke, and I had to leave and go up to Minnesota where he lived, and when it was made clear my father needed help or to move to a nursing home, Shane said to forget NY and we moved to Minnesota and gave up everything that we were…

I remember leaving Minnesota two years later under the worst of circumstances and being so uncertain and terrified about the future, and we moved to LA and tried to start over but we just couldn’t do it, and we struggled, and finally Shane said that we would spend a year traveling the country…

I remember nearly every moment of that trip and how hard it was, and how we argued and fought, and held each other so tight, and we came out of it closer than we had ever been before.

I remember and I forget so many moments of our life together, but I love it, and I love him, and sometimes it’s so hard, and sometimes it’s so perfect, and I know that we are so very, very lucky!