Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Day Story: That Common Repertoire of Experience

Henry Miller - 89
Encino, California

The following is an excerpt from
"gOLD: The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations" (available in both paperback and eBook formats). This is the introduction to the section on Love and Marriage:

Henry Miller was a friend and agent to a number of prominent entertainers, such as Nat King Cole and Kay Starr. I had the honor of visiting him one afternoon at his Encino, California, home, and when the interview was completed, Henry and his wife, Jane, invited—no, they insisted that I join them for a light dinner. Since they had already prepared the meal and set three places at the kitchen table, how could I resist?

At one point during dinner, I found myself mesmerized as I listened to Henry and Jane tell stories about their life together. They talked about their move from Kansas out to California, and how they had watched their neighborhood evolve over the years.

“It was just woods out there, as far as the eye could see,” Henry explained, pointing out the window. “Clark Gable used to always ride his horse right over there, up and down the street,” he said, laughing.

While we were finishing dinner, enjoying coffee and some of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted, the conversation turned to the subjects of marriage and family. Knowing that Henry and Jane had been married 63 years, I had to ask the “How do you do 63 years of marriage?” question. At that point, Henry reached across the table, placing his hand on Jane’s.

“You know, Harry,” Henry explained, “at least ten—who knows, maybe 20—times during that first—what—five years? Six, perhaps? I was gone. I mean, I was out the door; I didn’t want any part of it,” he said, chuckling. “Things sometimes got frustrating; I can’t lie. But, you know,” he said, pausing, looking down and pushing his cup and saucer to one side, “I didn’t leave. Neither of us did. We worked at it—together—as the partners we had promised we’d be to each other—no matter what.”

Henry stroked Jane’s hand as he spoke.

“And now, 63 years later, it’s the memories of those times—we share them. We know that we did, in fact, stick it out. And it’s that common repertoire of experience that serves as the cement that makes this marriage so very special.”

And at that, Henry lifted Jane’s hand and kissed it. Jane’s eyes closed.

“Now, how’s that for a speech?” Henry said, smiling.

* * * * * * * * * *

To read more about what folks like Henry have to say, please feel free to purchase a copy of "gOLD: The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed Through Inspiring Conversations" for a friend or loved one. If you already have a copy, please pass on the word about this important book.

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