By Sally Torbey
Twenty-five years of wedded blissUploaded: Sep 2, 2014
My husband and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this month. We met in Palo Alto 30 years ago last week. I had recently moved from the East Coast to Southern California and was in Palo Alto visiting a friend with whom I had worked in Europe. All summer she had talked about her long-time Lebanese boy friend. At the time I had only a vague idea of where Lebanon was, and that the country was plagued by civil war and car bombs, but by the end of the summer, after hearing all about her wonderful boyfriend and his amazing country of origin, I was primed to fall in love with someone Lebanese. Conveniently, her boyfriend invited his roommate along when we went out to dinner. My future husband and I hit it off immediately, and we were married five years later.
Since we were initially long distance, our relationship benefitted by the PSA/Air Cal price wars of the mid-1980s which resulted in $19 airfares between the Bay Area and Southern California airports. I also have to give credit to my parents. They had recently relocated from the Midwest to California, and I was living with them while I attended graduate school. My husband's preconceived ideas of American family life had been shaped by the television shows Dallas and Dynasty, which he watched growing up in Lebanon. He was amazed to meet an actual functioning family in the US, and he was surprised at how generous, kind, and welcoming my parents were, which unquestionably raised my desirability!
Although we hit it off right away, it took somewhat longer to seal the deal. We had been together about three and a half years when I mentioned that maybe we might consider the possibility of getting married. He looked shocked at the suggestion, but then after a pause of a second or so, seemed genuinely overjoyed at the prospect. "That's a great idea!" he exclaimed. "We really should do that in four or five years!" I gave him a month to consider a shorter timeline.
The location of the actual marriage proposal is in dispute. We were living in Chicago, and I recall it taking place in his white VW Jetta while driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway. He insists we were sitting in traffic on the Eisenhower Expressway in my maroon VW Rabbit. What is not in dispute is that the proposal took place in a car exactly 30 days after the initial discussion. He took the full allotment of time to come to a decision. While I have since come to value his lack of impulsivity, at the time it was maddening. You would also think that with a full month to plan he could have come up with a more romantic location!
Despite the inauspicious beginning, I am eternally grateful for my husband's love, companionship and support through the decades. Happy anniversary, honey!