Gold Status Earned

My parents celebrated their 50th "Golden" wedding anniversary in June.  Check the box!  Raise the glass!  High five's all around!  "WE MADE IT", they said.  

I asked Rich of Rich Hanson Photography if he could capture this special date for the celebrating couple and our family.  Shot at the Mukilteo Ferry landing and beach, just across the water from Whidbey Island where my parents still reside in the home they built for our family 40 years ago.    

It all started on June 17, 1967.  

A few houses, a few kids, numerous pets, many months of separation due to Navy commitments, hundreds of sports games, music lessons and recitals and field trips.  Vacations, road trips, summer camps, youth groups, mission trips, and cruise boats.  

Birthday parties, first days of school/last days of school, graduations, weddings, retirements, kids moving away, kids moving back.....

Power outages, snow storms and wind damage.  House filled holidays, board games, puzzles, and hours upon hours upon hours of laughter and terrible jokes.       

 Brandon, Ed, Darlene, Ed Jr, Melody
 Brandon, Ed, Darlene, Ed Jr, Melody

Brandon, Ed, Darlene, Ed Jr, Melody

 circa 1985 - Deception Pass, Whidbey Island, WA

circa 1985 - Deception Pass, Whidbey Island, WA

First dates, first kisses, last kisses, goodbyes, sicknesses, funerals.... arguments, tears, slammed doors, stained carpets (stained ceilings... *ahem), low bank accounts, broken cars, broken appliances, broken hearts....

It's all in there.  50 years of the ups, the downs, and all the in between.  My brothers and I wanted to know what their secrets of a successful marriage have been.   During the photo shoot, we sat down on the beach and drilled them!      

Mel: If a newlywed asked you for some pieces of advice on how to make marriage work, what would you say?

Mom:  Always have dinner ready for them when they get home before you ask them any important questions….. Like 4 day retreat with your girlfriends.  

Dad:  Ha! Bribery….

Dad:  Always be one to help your mate with chores around the house.  Don’t be afraid to use your manhood to run a vacuum cleaner!  Be able to help her with dishes after dinner.  She works hard to put a good dinner on the table, the best you could do is help with the clean up.

And, never go to bed angry.  Always apologize, kiss and make-up.  

Mom:  That’s a good rule, but that’s not always been the case….

Dad:  Okay, make up first thing in the morning!

I have always admired how frugal and smart my parents have been with their finances.  Dad always taught me the importance of a safety net and mom never purchased anything unless it was a necessity, and together, they expressed the blessing of tithing.  These things I'm still trying to be better at and pass it forward to my children.    

Ed:  What’s the give and take when it comes to spending money.

Dad:  Mom’s done really great - she’s always been very level headed and a lot of common sense.  There are things I really wish she’d buy, but she says “I don’t need that”.  There’s a lot of time, I wish she would spend a little more on herself.

Mom:  But when we were first married, we didn’t have a whole lot of money, and he just got out of the Navy and was out of a job for 3 months.  Susie and I would go to all the garage sales on Fridays and then go to Chris’ Bakery for a doughnut.    

Dad:  Well, I tell ya, when we were first married, we lived in this little bungalow house in Scenic Heights, I came home, from going to town, with these little corn cob deals that you put on the end of corn.  And mom….you would’ve thought I just bought a house!  I thought, man, this is gonna be a tough marriage...The Dutch was really coming out!  


Brandon:  We can’t afford corn cob HOLDERS!!  


Keep it spicy!  My parents have never been shy with their affection, although always reserved.  I'm fairly sure I witnessed them kiss each morning and each night in the 19 years I lived under their roof.  There was always love in our house, even within the moments of frustration and anger, love still lived there.

Dad:  It was Halloween, I just got home from work, had dinner and Dar gets up and says “Can you watch the front door, I’m going to go take a shower”  She handed me the big bowl of candy for the kids.  She went to the bathroom, turned on the shower.  She snuck out and got into her birthday suit.  She grabbed my camel hair top coat and wrapped it around her and grabbed a nylon stocking and pulled it over her head.  She walked through the kitchen without me knowing and snuck out the back door, walked around the house, it was COLD out.  She checked up and down the block for kids and went to the front door and rang the doorbell.  I grabbed the bowl of candy and walked to the door, opened the door and she yelled “trick or treat” and opened up the coat!  

MOM:  and 9 months later, Brandon was born!

Dad:  She got that idea from her friend Susie who’s friend did it and her husband actually fainted!  

We are so thankful to Rich Hanson for his time, energy and heart that he put in to photographing our family.  After he delivered the photos, I told him that I looked carefully over the picture of my parents lovingly embracing in a kiss and that it made me quite emotional.  It's who they were 50 years ago, it's what I always saw growing up, and it's who they are now.  Still IN love.  Although they will admit to pain points in their journey, they have always turned back to their common belief.  That their commitment, on June 17th 1967, to life long love together is above all else.  These days, marriages crumble more often and my parents have expressed that the things we face as married couples/parents currently are so much more trivial and discouraging than what they had to face.  

One thing rings true... my parent's Faith is big.  Faith in their marriage, thru Faith in God.  Trust in God.  That He is at the center of all relationships.  It's evident in the relationships they have with their friends and family, too.  

It's not the material things they collected over 50 years, or the money they had or didn't have.  It's always been about the memories, the stories, and the experiences.  And, the people they surrounded themselves with, as they raised their family, that contributed to this milestone.  I think we can all reflect on how that looks in our marriages and relationships today.    

Cheers to 50 years, Mom and Dad, and here's to many, many more!  50 years looks good on you!     

 Thank you to our beautiful extended family that was able to join us

Thank you to our beautiful extended family that was able to join us

With the help of family, I was able to pull together 50 years of their lives together in photos and gift them this beautifully crafted photo book for their anniversary.  Made using Blurb - sign up and receive 20% off your purchase.  Their stunning quality, quick printing turn around, and easy to use templates for any type of book your heart desires is why I keep going back to them after 8 years!