A long marriage is always filled with adventure — when you welcomed your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren into this world; when you bought your first house; when you went from the “I do’s” to all that lay ahead…
You believed that you would always be together; that nothing or no one could separate you in this life. Then, in the declining years, you sometimes faced crushing health problems. You ask, “Where have all those exciting and wonderful years gone, when each new day was another adventure in loving and living?”
All of it comes under the heading, “LIFE,” the bitter with the sweet, the hardships with the fun. At the time you spoke your wedding vows, you were handed a new life, along with the wedding ring.
Far too many couples break up when faced with bridges they are unable to cross. Did we not all vow to cope “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health?”
My husband, Herschel C. Mickle, Jr., was born on Oct. 19, 1929, 10 days before the stock market crash, forerunner to the Great Depression. His parents were farmers. I was born four years later and grew up knowing nothing about driving a tractor or “slopping” the hogs and had no intention of ever learning those skills. My forte was always music and writing.
Mick and I met on a blind date Aug. 11, 1951 and before his weekend leave from Fort Knox was over, we knew we didn’t want to go through life without each other. Even though the Korean Conflict hovered over us, we eloped six months after we met. This did not thrill my parents who had planned to send me to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music to make certain I became a classical pianist. I wanted no part of that, preferring instead to stay with the popular music of the day.
The years went by: Mick and I and our two daughters lived in five of these United States, following our careers – mine in journalism and radio and his, in real estate and auctioneering. Our daughters were pretty and popular and always a credit to us. Both enjoyed interesting professional careers after college.
Our road led to Florida in 1970, where I became a bureau chief and reporter for a major Florida daily newspaper, formerly owned by three generations of the Lindsay family and sold to the New York Times. It seemed life couldn’t get any better… Mick and his staff were holding a three-day weekend auction to liquidate the old Mira-Mar Hotel and all of its furnishings in Sarasota. He collapsed on Sunday, was rushed to the hospital and was found to have many life-threatening health-scares.
This was a man who had never been sick since I had known him! Thus began trips in and out of hospitals, ambulance rides to specialists in cities. We both accepted the fact the end for us might be near… we had given our all to our Florida careers over those past 20 years. He wanted to go home. So, sadly, we called in another auction company and sold the “empire” we had built. I gave a month’s notice to the newspaper and my boss could not believe I would be leaving him, but I did.
Sadly, I drove us home. Our oldest daughter arranged a gathering of all of our family members for Thanksgiving. Twelve days later we were saying a final goodbye to our husband and father in the family plot in the cemetery.
That was 15 years ago. I would like to report that I was able to go on without the man who had been by my side for almost 50 years, but that would not be correct.
I remember when Broadway producer and composer Harold Rome wrote the hit musical, “Wish You Were Here” in 1952. His words remain so true to me still today:
“They’re not making the skies as blue, this year,
wish you were here…
As blue as they did when you were near,
wish you were here…
And the morning don’t seem as new,
brand new as they did with you,
Wish you were here, wish you were here, wish you were here.
They have painted the leaves all wrong,
this year and why have the birds changed their songs this year?
Wish you were here…
They’re not shining the stars as bright,
They’ve stolen the joy from the night…
Wish you were here, wish you were here, wish you were here…”
Jean Mickle is a local resident who writes columns for the Record-Herald.