Category Archives: About Marriage and our Book

Success! Book Publication

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            It has finally happened! We have a publisher for our book “150 Years of Marriage”. Torch Flame, a hybrid publisher of Light Messages Publishing, has agreed to publish our story. They called it a meaningful work, definitely worthy of publication. We just received a preliminary proof copy…and it looks very nice. We are in the process of a final edit, and will soon submit it for the publisher’s final proof. We currently expect publication sometime this fall or January at the latest.

            I have to give Crystal credit. She has done an amazing job researching the publishing industry. I had no idea how complicated it is and how much it has changed. Light Messages is a Christian publisher, who believes in our book as much as we do. While I never expected “150Years of Marriage” to be a national best seller, or ever make a dime, I always believed we were led by God to write it. It definitely can be a blessing to a lot of people. It is also a great tribute to our parents, and an excellent historical record of our times.

            When completed the book will be distributed in both hard copy and digital form on all of the major distribution networks. So…Yeah!!!

            The next question is, where do we go from here? Of course, we will do whatever book promotion we can. But both Crystal and I agree that, this is not an ending, but a new beginning. My second project, a cook book, written mainly for primary family cooks, is complete in its rough form. We are not certain about its future. However, we believe it can be helpful not only to preserve some of our better family recipes, but as a guide for young married couples striking out on their own.

            We have also given some thought about where all of this will lead. We clearly have some distinct and needed platforms in marriage and family issues, memoir writing, and cooking, to name a few. Once things return a little closer to normal (post Covid), we plan to pursue speaking opportunities to support those issues. Combined[RM1] [RM2] [RM3]  with our ongoing travel plans, this should allow us to, not only educate on selected topics, but share our Christian view of what all of our lives and families should be. I think, God willing, that’s not a bad way to spend our retirement years.

            In addition, Crystal is working a novel, along with a number of other projects, as time and her health permit. We will, of course, continue to add to our web site marriagememoir.com. We hope that you faithful readers will continue to enjoy its content. Thank you for your continued patronage.

Stay safe and enjoy this season.

Crystal’s Corner

            I am very glad and excited that our book 150 Years of Marriage is going to be published and distributed this soon.  I am currently taking an online course called P2P through DIY MFA to help us to build up our platform, and promote our book, and the books to come.  My essay about the Coshocton area in the 1700’s called “Coshocton a Confluence of Rivers, a Confluence of Cultures” will be published this year in the Coshocton Review Magazine, also coming out in the fall.  I won an Honorable Mention in the Mary Harris Essay contest. 

            I am looking for places to publish my short stories, poetry, children’s books, etc. online and in print.  Even though we are all dealing with this awful virus, which is hurting so many people here in the U.S. and all over the world, I am thankful we have some blessings this year.  We hope you are all keeping safe and doing well.  We keep praying for the breakthrough to come soon.  God gave us the patience and the perseverance to keep looking for a publisher for our book; and He can help us survive this difficult time.

April 1st (yes April Fools) 1978. The day which united our families.

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Fun With Chemistry

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I think this blog has been a little too serious lately. I was going to share the last in our series about long marriages, but it can wait. As you know, if you have been keeping up, we are in the editing process with our memoir. Sadly, a few of my favorite stories have been lost in this process, and will not make it to the final draft. That’s bad for the book, but good for the blog. I will share one of my favorites with you now. My junior year at Bradley University was easier than the first two years but not without challenges.  

One Thursday afternoon I took a quick nap with my friend Dianne after lunch. We were just nap buddies.  We both had the time between classes and I wouldn’t have to go all the way back to my apartment. I very rarely actually fell asleep during the day but just rested. Unfortunately, this day was the exception. I was late. When I rushed into the lab, my partner George was there and set to start. He had not given up on me, but had started some homework on one of the lab benches. I apologized and explained my dilemma. He was fascinated and asked me to share some of my worldly wisdom on women. While a good example of the blind leading the blind, unfortunately, this became the predominate topic of conversation that afternoon. We probably should have paid a little more attention to properly interpreting our instructions.

            We had an idea about the identity of the unknown compound. In order to prove it, we needed to make a derivative. As we began, one of the professors brought a group of freshmen students into our lab, to take a test. Sitting at the benches, they could be spread apart properly to eliminate temptation.

We were still quietly discussing our topic of the day when we reached the part of the procedure which, was marked in quotes, “A vigorous reaction will occur.” If we had been focusing, we probably could have anticipated what happened next. As we added one compound to the other, the mixture started boiling rapidly. We stopped the addition, and turned off the flame. This only seemed to make it mad. A fume of white smoke was now filling the hood. That particular hood never seemed to work very well. Soon the beaker was sputtering and then began jumping up and down. The smoke was now pouring into the lab. We were still trying to control the reaction when one of the professors came in and rescued the freshmen, who had started to cough and wheeze from the smoke. The dense white smoke had now covered the entire ceiling of the lab. When I say cover, I mean, you could not see the ceiling.

             Another professor came in and yelled, “Who is pumping hydrochloric acid into my instruments?” He stopped only long enough to give us a dirty look and disappeared again. We finally threw a couple of handfuls of ice on the mess and left the room coughing and gagging. To this day, it still bothers me a little, that, while the precious Freshmen were quickly saved, us poor Jr. Chemists were left by two professors to die. By the time we re-entered the lab, George had explained, in great detail, the reaction which had occurred and all the noxious gasses generated. George was even higher on the geek scale than I. Think Sheldon Cooper with more personality. The lab experiment that should have taken about three hours, wound up taking about six. It was at that point that I realized, even the topic of girls, can cause problems.

Dad’s Eulogy

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Yesterday was my father’s memorial service. He died about a week earlier on May 31st., 2019, at the age of 98 years old. He was the last of our parents to depart from us. I was asked to say a few words. I am a better writer than public speaker so I read the following as a final tribute:

I never knew dad when he was in the army during WW2, or after the war when he stood up in his jeep to yell at a young German woman, who had lost track of time, and was out after the military curfew. I was there, however, to see her yell back on numerous occasions during their 64 years of marriage.

Mom and dad had, let’s call it, an exciting relationship. But beneath occasional friction they had a bond of love never to be broken. Dad never missed a day visiting her at the rehab center those last months. When she passed in January of 2012 he felt totally lost. At 91 he owned a nice three bedroom house, the house I grew up in, with a yard that was the envy of the neighborhood. But, it was increasingly difficult for him to take care of it. He had friends in the neighborhood but no best friends and no family.

That fall we sold his house and moved him to his new apartment in New Albany, Ohio. While life would never again be the same, he at least could construct a new life and be near family. Every day, weather permitting, he would go on a 2 mile walk through the beautiful nearby metro park, Blendon Woods. He did his own shopping, cooking, laundry, etc. Our whole family visited him frequently. He at least had a life again.

Dad was a very proud man and self-sufficiency was very important. The expression pride cometh before the fall was written with him in mind. That included the fall he took, when, at just short of 94 years old, late in the summer of 2014, he broke his hip getting out of the swimming pool in. He refused, as we had warned him numerous times, to use his cane.

Throughout his rehab, and subsequent move to assisted living, we continued to offer him all of the support we could. We visited multiple times each week, took him for walks, rides and out for meals. We included him in all of our family events. But, as is inevitable, he continued to decline. If nothing else, in the end, I could tell that I had made an impact in his life. I was his guy. Even in those last days, and in his delirium, he would be seated in his chair, stare at the ceiling, shaking, and say ‘Ron, you are going too fast’. Another time he reached out and said ‘Here Ron, take my coat’.

But that is over now, and me greatest feeling is relief. It is like a nightmare ending. Oh don’t get me wrong, it was a privilege to help him. I learned much more about my dad, and therein myself, in those last years than I ever thought possible. But the stress of watching a man I respected decline was undeniable. It’s only through the continued support and encouragement of Crystal and my family that I could continue. His suffering is now over and I am glad. We did everything we could to give him the best life and care possible. Of that I am convinced. I want to give my special thanks to the caring staff members of Sunrise and Bickford Assisted Living Facilities and Capitol City Hospice. Finally, I am also convinced that, he is finally at peace, and glad to be back with mom. Somehow, Papa without Mimi never seemed quite right.

For most of his life dad called Chicago home.

Secrets to Marriage: Part One: Dating: Crystal’s Corner

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As usual, Crystal had something to add on this month’s post. Enjoy!

Crystal’s Corner

Ron’s right; never stop dating. When we were first dating at Bradley University in Peoria, Il., we walked and talked a lot in Bradley Park, attended APO parties and dances, and went to coffee shops at night to listen to guitar playing folk singers.  Even when we had very little money to spend, we found ways to enjoy our time together.  At Bradley University which is on a hill, couples would go to tall buildings and up to the top floor or roof to watch the beautiful sunsets. 

While we were engaged and early in our marriage, we played tennis, miniature golf, bowled sometimes and participated in church activities.  We noticed sometimes that other couples, especially after becoming parents, were not having couples time together. 

Fortunately, both sets of our parents had set the example of continuing to date during their marriages. My mom would dress up to go out with my dad; and he would wear nice clothes too.  My Dad would tell us,   “I’m taking your mom out to dinner or a movie or some event; and I expect you kids to be good for the babysitter.”  The next day we would get a report usually from Mom about what happened.  As a child and teenager I always thought about the future of having a husband like my Dad who would be taking me out on dates.  My Dad also would buy my Mom a gardenia corsage for special occasions. Sometimes he would buy her candy or a present.

Ron and I have continued our dating relationship during our marriage.  Just like at school, whenever possible we still love watching a nice sunset together while holding hands or cuddling. Both of us also enjoy photography and we go to many parks, gardens, etc. to take pictures.  On our recent trip to the Alpaca Farm bed and breakfast, we first went to a garden in Zanesville to see the spring flowers.  We didn’t take photos there, but we did at the Alpaca farm.  I know about Alpacas and their wool because I am a knitter and crocheter. We always look for Alpacas and llamas while driving. There seem to be a lot of them in Ohio.

We encourage both of our married daughters and their husbands to go on dates with each other and even have getaway weekends together.  Sometimes we give them gift cards for restaurants. Sometimes they return the favor.  We are glad they are following our example.  Life can be difficult, really busy and exhausting.  You get worn out with work, housework, child care, etc., so it is important to plan time together to just concentrate on each other.  I always have told the girls,  “Your Dad is my husband, but he is also my boyfriend.”  And they say something like,  “Oh, Mom.”

I’ll never forget Michelle and Elizabeth, when they were little girls, watching me get ready for a date with their Dad.  They were fascinated with my makeup, jewelry and dresses.  Sometimes they would ask me,  “Are you going to wear the red shoes?”  These were my red high heels which were very uncomfortable that I only wore for special occasions like Valentine’s Day.  If I said yes they would have big smiles, and tell Ron that this was a special date because, Mom is wearing her red shoes.

I can say after 41 years of marriage to Ron that he is still worth wearing the uncomfortable red shoes.  He’s the best boyfriend I’ve ever had.

Three daughters and three granddaughters

I know the picture has nothing to do with the article, but isn’t it nice that, earlier this month, Lisa and Liz dropped everything in their lives to support their sister Michelle for the birth of new baby girl Ripley. Great kids!

His Eye is on the Sparrow

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            A lot went through my mind as I watched Ella’s intense gaze. Periodically, she would open her mouth and make a soft guttural sound. It reminded me of when my car didn’t want to start on a cold day last winter. Her sound was usually accompanied by a quick head bob. Her unblinking stare was on Crystal’s Christmas present, the bird feeder on the front porch. More specifically, she was watching as a small flock of sparrows darting to and fro, apparently taking turns at the seed. Our cat’s vigilance reminded me of something I’d just watched on the nature channel. She was just missing some tall grass, a gazelle, and maybe a few pounds.

            As I peered over her tabby gray shoulder, she looked up quickly to acknowledge me, then went back to her vigil. My thoughts went to the old gospel song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. It’s a tribute to the way God watches over us. Sometimes His presence is difficult to discern.

            We watch as our adult children go through many of the same struggles we did when we were younger. We help when we can, encourage whenever possible, and pray for them unceasingly. One truly positive factor is that they are all well trained. They generally know what to do to survive. I guess we did some things right to get them to this point. Still, it’s kind of like we are watching them through a pane of glass.

            Crystal isn’t the healthiest person in the world dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome and sinus problems, and frequently  is stuck at home. I bought the feeder, at her request, so she could watch the various species of birds, cardinals, blue jays, wood peckers, wrens, etc. from the comfort of her couch as she lies down, reads, writes, or sews. Maybe this was just God’s way of tricking me into feeding his birds.

The Bible says that God cares about every sparrow, but much more about each one of us (Psalm 32:8, Mathew 6:26, 10:29-31). It never says He will always keep you safe or from having difficulties. However, if you honor Him with your choices, maybe He’ll trick your spouse into loving you, your kids into respecting you, and you into finding some of His peace (Philippians 4:7) in a world which seems so greatly lacking.

Ella Watching Birds
Sparrows Being Watched

A Recipe for Success

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            I am currently working on a cookbook focused on cooking for family. In addition to preserving our favorite family recipes, it will have family stories along with a number of ‘common sense’ short cuts, money saving principles, and tips for the main family meal preparer. This is a role which I have fulfilled for a number of years for our family.

            As explained in the book, my primary inspiration came from my mom. For years she, as most housewives of the fifties through seventies, was among her many roles, the family cook. Sadly, I never showed her the proper appreciation she so richly deserved. It wasn’t until I left for college that I realized many things which should have been obvious. First, and I really feel stupid about this, mom had a German accent. It was fairly strong, but I had never really noticed until I left and returned some four or five weeks later. Second, mom was an unusually good cook. Beyond that, she was our family chef. As I explained to Lisa (youngest daughter) recently, the difference between a good cook and a chef is that a good cook can flawlessly follow a recipe; a chef can take whatever they are given and create a recipe. Mom could do either. I remember actually being embarrassed when she was disappointed at what a restaurant passed as salad dressing, she requested vinegar and oil. With just those two ingredients, along with sugar, salt, and pepper, she made a better dressing than the chef. It occasionally took dad and me to restrain her from actually going into a restaurant kitchen when she was given subpar food. She had to settle for just embarrassing a waiter or two.

            As with her accent, going away to college helped me appreciate her skills in the kitchen. Cafeteria food will do that. Occasionally, I would bring friends home or neighbors would visit, and mom would cook. They would talk about their meal for weeks. When I finally realized that mom wouldn’t always be there to cook for me, I knew I needed to learn. She not only helped me begin my learning process, but inspired me with her story.

            Born in Germany in 1924, she received her initial cooking instructions just before WW2 began. In those days, it was part of the standard curriculum for young German girls. I’m sure her lessons began with lighting the wood stove. The war years proved almost too stressful for impoverished families, such as hers. Making meals from scraps, government handouts, and the occasional rabbit or cheaper cuts of meat made chefs (by my definition) of many. Little did Mimi (mom) know that, those rough skills would someday lead to her post war job, cooking for American Counter Intelligence officers stationed in the nearby village. The man in charge asked whether she could cook a traditional German duck dinner. Her mom came over to help with that first meal. The man in charge, Siegfried Meinstein, was very impressed with the dinner, as he was with its young preparer. Several years later, mom and dad were married. Dad gained a lot of weight those first few years. I can’t blame him.

            Now that I am well on my way to recreating and preserving many favorite dishes, I often think of mom. I never appreciated the skill or effort it took to make some of those meals. I never understood the physical and mental effort needed to feed a family day after day. I also never knew the enjoyment of watching those you love gathered together at a meal of your creation.

            While I do regret not being more grateful for all mom did when I was young, I think she got the message. Over the years, I cooked many meals for her and dad. She always acted like those meals were something special. In reality, they were just a reflection of her love.

            Similarly, with this book, I am passing something on to our girls. Their excitement about this project hasn’t been lost on me. Every now and then one of them will ask to make sure I haven’t forgotten any of their favorites. Occasionally, they will suggest dishes I don’t even remember making. I will just do my best to recreate those. After all, that’s what family is about, passing on the love.

Crystal’s Corner

            I am glad that Ron wrote this blog about cooking and his cookbook.  My mom taught me how to cook when I was very young.  It was wise of her to do this because when she became very ill, I could make many dishes.  My mom was a wonderful baker and some of her recipes will be included in the cookbook.  It was very interesting when Ron and I met at Bradley University and he told me he could cook.  I was thinking hot dogs, toasted cheese sandwiches, and maybe some canned soup, items my brother could make.  He made a beautiful delicious dinner for me in his apartment, and I was stunned.  He made beef scaloppini, a broccoli casserole, and a real salad.  Grandma Carlson had always told me to marry a man who can cook.  She didn’t like cooking and knew how much work went into the day to day meal preparations.  What was also great about Ron being able and interested in cooking, was that we could share recipes and techniques.  My mom loved Ron’s cooking and he taught her some of his recipes and techniques also.  Mom would get recipes from neighbors, friends, magazines and her homemaker group and try them out on us.  Some of them were pretty good. She also encouraged me to be creative with my cooking and baking.  Ron also attended some classes at a French Restaurant while we lived in Chicago. He can make some delicious onion soup that we all love.

            As a stay at home mom, I was the main cook at our house for a long time. Ron worked long hours and went to school at night, early in our marriage.  He did cook on weekends and sometimes during the week.  The girls don’t remember those years very well, but I do.  After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my cooking slowed way down.  Fortunately, Ron stepped up and also Elizabeth at 13, could do some cooking.  Michelle and Elizabeth both learned to bake when they were young.  I had them helping me when they were 3 and 4 years old.  As they got older the girls got use to Ron’s dishes and weren’t as thrilled with my spinach casserole or baked chicken with rice dinners.  Many times, I would start dinner before Ron came home and he would finish making it adding the spices to the main dish, and a salad dressing or sauce to a salad or vegetables.  It was almost like a dance with Ron and me in the kitchen, and sometimes Elizabeth or Michelle helping too.

            I was glad I listened to Grandma Carlson.  Not only did I end up with an Eagle Scout, experienced traveler and handyman, but also a wonderful chef.  Before life with Ron, I got lost a lot, fought with the vacuum cleaner, and cooked many meals for our family.  Together, we are more creative, stronger and have a lot more fun.

Christmas Dinner 2010: It looks like everyone, especially mom was having a good time.

German Thanksgiving and Dad’s 98th Birthday party

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Dad turned 98 years old on November 15th. He is having more problems. But we got together as a family and celebrated a combined celebration which we call German Thanksgiving. We didn’t make a turkey dinner. Instead using mom’s recipes, I made all of dad’s favorite German foods featuring Sauerbraten, dumplings and red cabbage.  Crystal and I, our girls, and grandkids definitely share the excitement dad and I once had when mom made them for us. It was a wonderful thanksgiving combined birthday celebration, commemorating dad’s nearly one century of life.

 

For me, it was also a time of reflection. Until recently I hadn’t realized that dad was born exactly two years and four days after the Armistice was signed ending WWI. His life and my mom’s began in Germany under the shadow of that ‘war to end all wars’. Even though I don’t remember much history, a subject I hated studying when I was young, I do remember learning about the horrors of trench warfare and the extremely punitive nature of the Treaty of Versailles which followed.

 

My parents have both witnessed to me about the prolonged years of oppression and poverty suffered by the German people. This led directly to the call to nationalism which led to a second ‘war to end all wars’. Of course, according to Hitler, the demise of the homeland was largely the fault of a minority group of which dad was a part. It didn’t help that dad’s family had been in Germany for over 300 years or that many had died fighting for Germany. Two of dad’s uncles died in WWI. None of that mattered.

 

Fortunately, after dad and his family escaped to America, they were safe for a couple of years. Many of dad’s relatives weren’t so fortunate, killed outright or dying in the concentration camps.

 

Of course, dad joined the American army and returned to Germany where, after the war, he met mom. That eventually led to me. So….happy ending?

 

The point I wish to make is that, in a long and full life, my father has seen so much change. As we recently celebrated Veteran’s Day, I wonder if any of today’s youth in this world of Amazon and smart phones can really picture that time.

 

I was recently reminded of an old poem which might help.

 

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

I want to take this occasion to thank my dad, Crystal’s dad, and all veterans for their sacrifice and the gift of our freedom. If we fail to guard it, it will be taken away.

 

From all of our family ages 1 year olds, Ayla and Addy to Dad, at 98 years old,

Happy Turkey Day!

Dad opening presents 11/17/2018

Dad’s Grandfather Herman Meinstein and his wife in Dad’s hometown of Zirndorf Germany circa 1900.

Great Memoir News

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We finally believe we have a publisher for our memoir. After about six years of research, query letters, rewrites, rejections, and most importantly persistence, we found someone who is (as they said) “definitely interested” in publishing our memoir. Torch Flame Books is a small hybrid publisher out of Durham, North Carolina. While we don’t have a contract yet, we are in the process of working with a professional editor to revise our work into publishable form. While the process will be time consuming, and costly, we are confident that the final product will be well written, edited and produced.

Marketing and Platform building will be another hurdle. Crystal and I are on a mission. I felt that God directed us in the writing and now in the publication. We believe that these stories of our parents’ lives, our childhoods, and our three love stories will be found compelling for many.

This will be a long process, but we will keep you informed. I understand that upon publication there will be a launch party. I don’t know what that will entail, but I love parties.

One thing you can do to help is to subscribe for our E-mail. On the bottom right side of the marriagememoir.com home page you will find a place to put your name and email. This is completely privacy protected and safe. It will simply make it easier to keep track of our site and receive newsletters when we publish them. It will help us keep track of subscribers and build a following prior to publication.

Crystal’s Corner

Yeah!   We are getting much closer to publication.  The last few months have been very encouraging and we are definitely on our way to holding a copy of “150 Years of Marriage” in our hands.

We want to thank everyone who has encouraged us and supported us in our mission to get this book published; also, everyone who has shown an interest in the memoir.  We will be telling you about the steps we are going through to get to the finish line.

I have learned a great deal through The National Association of Memoir Writers, Shewrites.com and Writer’s Digest and Poets and Writers magazines and websites.  I have also read many memoirs and biographies and autobiographies.  We have an Author Facebook page under our names; Crystal and Ron Meinstein.  So be looking for more posts and activity in the near future.

Whatever your goal is, persistence and research pay off.  Don’t give up.

All of the main characters of our memoir some 40 years ago.

40 Years

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It’s been 2 score, double life sentences (no chance of parole), 0.4 centuries, 3 daughters, 6 grand children, 4 states, and uncountable opportunities (challenges/problems) since Crystal and I tied the proverbial knot. That’s right, on April 1st of 2018 we had another April fool’s day, and Easter (praise God), but my most important reason for celebration, to assure any future earthly happiness, was Crystal and my 40th wedding anniversary. My mother, Mimi, had a saying to describe a long period of time in German, that pigs don’t live that long. I guess it sounded better in German.

As I write this blog, it is my truest desire to come up with some words or a formula that will help people live better lives, and maybe even give a boost to the institution of marriage. I guess that’s one reason Crystal and I wrote our memoir. Just as a reminder, our memoir’s name “150 Years of Marriage” was coined in anticipation. Since we started by interviewing Mary Jane Carlson, who died in 2006, I know that our three couples total hadn’t yet hit 140 years. Since my mom’s death in 2012, only Crystal and I can add to the total. As of April 1st 2018 our three couples are at 159 years. By the time we are published maybe we should change the name. Think of it, in just another 41 years, “200 Years of Marriage”……..OK, maybe not.

Dad is now 97. I see him frequently. When I do, we will inevitably take a quiet drive along the Scioto River. This river drive is no secret. On a nice day there is a flurry of activity. There are walkers, runners, and people fishing. There are bike riders, and skate boarders, people walking dogs and pushing baby carriages. There are also boats on the water and occasionally we see the OSU sculling teams working out.

Water fowl are also frequently around in abundance. Occasionally, we will see gray or blue heron. But, more frequently, there are seagulls, ducks and Canadian geese. Most often, the ducks and geese are in fairly large groups. But what I find interesting is that you rarely see them by themselves. Often they are in matched pairs. I am given to understand that they generally mate for life. They share responsibilities such as finding food or raising families. They fly together and swim together. Oh, their bonding isn’t perfect. Male geese are well known philanderers. Sometimes their honking seems akin to a squabbling couple. But they generally stay together until one dies. I sometimes wonder if they were put here as an example for us. Crystal has, on occasion, called me a silly goose.

What is the difference between a marriage lasting 4 years and 40 years? Three things: choosing well, commitment, and a lot of luck! I guess Crystal and I have all three. Crystal will tell you that we were brought together by God. While I don’t disagree, you would think God’s plan would have moved a little smoother. Between job changes, multiple moves, serious health problems, family issues, etc., etc. etc., you have to wonder. But maybe that’s part of it. We haven’t had a perfect marriage. I don’t know if that exists. However, looking back, when the “opportunities” were presented, we closed ranks and worked together. I would even say they may have brought us closer together.

Today, when we sit on the couch and watch “Monk” or some other, as our kids would say, corny show, Crystal will periodically reach over to hold my hand. I guess that’s plenty corny too. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s kind of cool. When I think about the number, 40 years seems like an impossible amount of time. But when I reach back for Crystal’s hand, it’s like no time has passed. I can remember being twenty-something and falling in love with the girl I was supposed to be with. Maybe God got it right after all.

 

HAPPY 40TH Crystal!

 

Crystal’s Corner

Yesterday, April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday, was our 40th wedding Anniversary.  It was a bright warm sunny day like our wedding day. Of course last night it snowed. Forty years ago, on the first day of our honeymoon, we had to scrape the ice off of our car in Chicago. In so many ways, it doesn’t seem like 40 years, four decades, but it has been a long journey.

We got together with all of our daughters and their families and Ron’s Dad at a Greek Restaurant in Columbus.  It occurred to me as I looked around the long table, that none of these people would be here, if Ron and I hadn’t gotten married 40 years ago.

In our memoir, 150 Years of Marriage, we talk about when we met, dated, got engaged and married.  We also talk about our childhoods and our parents’ courtships and marriages.

I can remember very clearly our time at Bradley University, our engagement, planning the wedding, our wedding day, and our honeymoon in Arizona.

I also can remember living in our studio apartment for several months before we moved to a two bedroom apartment.  We entertained our family and friends in that little one room apartment and enjoyed every minute of it.  Nobody seemed to mind sitting on folding chairs, our small couch, or the bed to eat with us in that small space.

We moved seven times during our marriage.  We have lived in two apartments, a townhouse, and four houses in four states.  We are the best packers you have ever met.

Both Ron and I are cancer survivors.  I have had more than 10 surgeries including three C-Sections.  So actually, still being together, and in somewhat good health is kind of a miracle.

We are so grateful to God for our marriage, our wonderful family, our sense of humor and our deep abiding love for each other.

We know we wouldn’t have survived all of our difficulties and changes without God’s help.  Wherever we have lived, we have been sent to a church family, who helped us.  We have found wonderful friends and neighbors and kindred spirits.

We also have had a very close relationship with our parents and families the whole time.  We travelled often on holidays to get together, and now our girls travel to see family often.

You know you have succeeded as a parent when your grown children are hardworking, responsible, kind, loving and caring individuals.  We have also been blessed by two very special and loving son-in-laws.

We have six unique and terrific grandchildren that we cherish and enjoy.

At our table yesterday we had Ron’s Dad who is 97 years young, and our two youngest granddaughters who just turned one, and many ages in-between.   Four generations celebrating our Savior Jesus and our 40th Anniversary.  I don’t think life gets any better that this.

Even though life has thrown a lot of curve balls at us, every day I am happy to be Mrs. Crystal Meinstein and to see Ron smiling at me.

Our fortieth, the ducks are just sleeping on the Scioto. Both pictures taken April 1st 2018.

 

Me Too – The Ultimate Solution

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Like most responsible Americans, Crystal and I have been appalled at all of the recent news about sexual abuse in the media. It seems to have crossed all lines of society, from media, to film, to sports, to business, etc., etc., etc. While it is good that the problem is finally coming into the light, we are currently treating only the symptoms, but not the cause. Accusations are being made, laws are in place, and punishments are being generated. Abusers are losing jobs, being fined, and prison for some. However is punishment enough?

Murder is against the law. Yet murders still happen every day. We need laws as a deterrent, of that I have no doubt. But how much better would the world be if people just knew murder was never justified and lived without ever considering it a possibility?

Call it brainwashing if you wish, but I believe it works. Our oldest daughter Elizabeth will tell you that she thought every child had to go to college. She was in high school before she heard otherwise. She was shocked and disappointed for her classmates who talked about dropping out. Crystal and I had always told her and her sisters what would happen “WHEN” they went to college. It would be a great adventure and give them many possibilities for their futures.

Similarly, I believe the best solution to today’s harassment problems lies in the homes. As I grew up, our home wasn’t perfect. There were disagreements, and arguments, some at elevated volumes. However, my dad still opened doors for my mom. I also do not recall him ever raising his hand to my mom. I was told to always respect my elders and all women.

Crystal will tell you that the first time she noticed me at a fraternity function, I was with another woman. I got her punch, opened her door, and helped her onto the wagon (it was a hay ride). I learned respect at home. I never considered any other way.

I recently had the privilege of taking my eldest grandson around to visit different colleges. We talked about a lot of different things as we drove. One topic was women. High school is an awkward and confusing time. I know when I went; I didn’t understand girls at all. My sophomore year, one girl said something mean to me, and I was pretty much done with them through high school. I stuck to games, movies and sports.

Today, after being married for nearly forty years and helping raise three daughters, I understand a little more about the female of the species. My advice to my grandson was simple. Always treat women with respect; no means no; never do anything a woman doesn’t want you to do. I also assured him that the right girls will want to be with him for who he is: no games necessary.

Getting back to our original problem, the answer is simple. Raising children is a privilege and an awesome responsibility. A strong marriage is the first step. It all comes back to building marriages on the basis of mutual respect. Your sons and daughters will learn from what you say and even more from your example. Learning how to love, and not abuse, starts in the home. Problem solved; ‘me too’ no more!

Crystal’s Corner:

I am glad that Ron wrote this blog and I agree with him; what happens to children at home is very important.  It seems like we are in the middle of a revolution; and especially women, are finding their power.  I think this has been a long time coming. I am very glad that women are speaking out about abuse.  There is power in numbers and there is power in the truth.  In the Bible it says “The truth will set you free.”  This is true for the victim as well as the criminal.  I am glad that at least some of the men who committed these crimes have admitted them and show remorse for them.  The ones who are continuing to lie about their behavior are revictimizing the victim and digging themselves a deep hole.  I liked it when the judge in the case in Michigan against the doctor said that all of those women, who testified against him, are survivors.  Hopefully, their testimony and all the women who are now standing up against their attackers will change the world.  We need a safer more respectful world for our children and grandchildren to live in. I do believe that women will not put up with the abuse and lack of respect from anyone now and in the future.  One thing I would add as a parent and a grandparent is to tell your children that no one has the right to hurt them in any way, either physically or verbally, and that they need to tell someone what happened as soon as possible.

Taken last Easter. These are all of my girls. Hopefully the babies will never hear of “me too”.