On February 22,Note 1 my beloved wife Margie will celebrate her 70th birthday (and she isn't happy about it). The photo to the left shows her during our last European vacation, in a botanical garden in Palermo, Sicily. She's always been a sucker for large flowers.
We met 45 years ago, on February 7, 1969 to be exact, introduced by the early computerized dating service DataMate. Within a few weeks we were seeing each other exclusively, and we've been together ever since.
It turned out that we each had close relatives in Roslyn Heights, New York who lived next door to each other, and were good friends. We only found this out some time after we started dating. They had never gotten us together. Actually, had they done so much earlier in our lives, we might not have been ready for each other.
I proposed marriage on February 7, 1970, the first anniversary of the day we met, and we were married in June of that year. You can see some pictures of our wedding in my anniversary blog entry Forty-two years (of course, it also includes some of my usual techie statistics).
We honeymooned in Provincetown, Massachusetts for a week, and then at the Club Med in Martinique for two weeks, a trip that was a gift from my parents. Martinique is a French "département", and that stay included the 14th of July, the French independence day (Allons enfants de la patrie ...). We then returned to my Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment, where Margie looked around, and said, "Oh no, he's a slob".
Margie's very perceptive about people, a trait I described in my entry Listening (it's something I'm not as good at). It may be something she inherited from her guidance counselor mother, but in addition, Margie trained as an independent clinical social worker. She listens attentively, and asks questions others might be afraid to ask. Attending graduate school in biology at Boston University had originally brought her to the Boston area, and she has a Master's Degree in biology (ask her about antibody production in the mouse spleen). But by the time we met, she had left biology, and had become a social worker, working with children. After we married, she went on to get a second Master's Degree in Social Work, from Simmons College.
I'm particularly impressed with Margie as a mother. This started early: on a late Summer day in 1975, when Margie was eight or nine months pregnant with our daughter Elissa, she tripped off the back steps of our house, perhaps because pregnancy changes your center of gravity, which messes up your balance. I was nearby, but not close enough to catch her. I watched her double over, wrap both arms around her protruding belly, and roll onto her right shoulder across the gravel. It seemed to be an instinctive protection of the baby not yet born. I was stunned, because I'd never seen her do anything like that before, and neither she nor I are particularly athletic, or trained in how to fall safely. It was the first sign of Margie's maternal instincts kicking in.
Being a young parent was harder for Margie than I realized at the time. She's been talking about it recently because we've been watching Elissa raise a child of her own (see Darwin). Working for a startup company, I spent a lot of hours on the job.
I recall coming home from work one day, and finding Margie at her wits' end. Elissa had spent that day in a lot of pain from colic, sometimes screaming for hours on end. Margie said to me, "She did seem to know enough to stop just before I was about to throw her out the window."
Having a granddaughter is a lot easier - we play with her for a while and then give her back.
Margie often stated that the job of parents is to give their children Roots and Wings. I noted earlier that Margie has always been a nervous flier, but she didn't think it fair to pass her fears on to her children. She was apparently mostly successful at hiding them, because even at relatively young ages, both our daughters traveled extensively, often to third-world countries. I've lost track of how many countries my two daughters have visited between them, but the sum of their country counts is probably sixty or so.
Margie kept working part-time after Elissa was born, and for a while after Sara's birth, too. But eventually she found herself thinking of our children while at work, and about her work while at home. Thus she eventually left her job to spend full time raising our kids.
Shortly afterward, she started studying art, eventually with Wayland artist George Dergalis, until his death in 2012. To the left: a watercolor she painted from a photo she took in a vineyard in Provence. Note 2
She now teaches a studio art class through the Town of Wayland, and at MargretKrakauer.com, you can see a web page showing a sampling of her work, in various media.
We've now been married for over 43 years. Margie hates to fly, but she's the one who initiates most of our travel, and gets us out into the world. Left to my own devices, I tend towards being a couch potato.
Since our honeymoon, and particularly as the kids got older and then eventually left the nest, we've traveled 13 times to Europe (mostly France, Italy, and Spain), five times to Mexico, and to Jamaica, Belize, and Costa Rica. I wonder if the airlines know how important the existence of Xanax is for the aviation industry.
I'd be a different person if I hadn't married Margie. I'm still rather nerdy and analytical, but under Margie's influence, I've become more emotive, and better able to experience and share my feelings. She's a giving and loving person, puts up with my faults (I'm still a slob), and has enriched my life enormously. Here's hoping we can share many more years.
Happy birthday, Margie. I love you.
Note 1: We've always been a bit amused that my birthday is on 1/11, and Margie's is on 2/22. Perhaps we should have had a child born on 3/33. Wait, March 33rd? All this is using the American MONTH/DAY date notation, of course. [return to text]
Coming across another artist in the vineyard, painting in the open air, Margie chatted with her in French. She didn't get much of a response, however. When I joined the pair and started chatting myself, I somehow uncovered the fact that the other artist was German, didn't speak French, and hadn't understood anything Margie had said. Her English wasn't bad, though. [return to text]