December 11, 1971: 40 years ago…what did we know, other than we wanted to be together, all the time. In retrospect, it seemed so foolhardy; in retrospect; it was so wise.
I was 19 (just) and he was 21 (barely). He was a senior at Penn State and I a sophomore. We had no money and no jobs, other than part time work. We had no plans for the future, except to finish school and make the monthly rent of $85 on our second-floor, Nittany Avenue apartment.
Our wedding day was an unusually lovely, balmy December day. I remember walking into town to buy a black shoulder bag for our honeymoon; Jim washed his ’65 Mustang.
The ceremony was held at the Helen Eakin Eisenhower Chapel on the campus of Penn State at 7:00 in the evening. I carried white roses and holly. Jim’s grandfather, John Henry Frizzell, chaplain emeritus and founder of the speech department at Penn State, wrote a prayer for us. A simple reception followed in the Fireside Room at the Nittany Lion Inn. Tea sandwiches, cake, ice cream, and punch were served, with a piano player providing background music.
We left that night and drove to Lewistown for a what we thought would be two-day honeymoon/Christmas shopping trip to Harrisburg . The next day we ran into Jim’s brother Rob and our sister-in-law, eating breakfast at Zimmie’s Diner, and they persuaded us to go to the King of Prussia Mall instead. So we did.
40 years later, I would do it all over again, exactly the same way. This naïve, young couple added three children—two incredible sons and an amazing daughter. Later, another good and gentle son-in-law and a beautiful and bright daughter-in-law joined this clan Campbell. And then came our two adored and beloved grandsons. Together we built a family, careers, a home…a life.
Our life together hasn’t been perfect but it has been good and it has been blessed. Experiencing our share of sorrows and disappointment, we too have been showered with uncanny amounts of joy and wonder. Together with our devoted family and our cherished friends we have built a rich history of faith and love. Tomorrow, we celebrate it all, with joyful and grateful hearts.