Whitley and I just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. It’s kind of hard to believe we’ve been together so long: I realized that we’ve been married to each other for over half our lives. We’ve had our fights (who hasn’t?), but we’re not tired of each other yet.
I was a dumb young girl when I met Whitley, so I consider myself lucky, not smart, to have realized I’d met the right man. Like most young women, I dated plenty of the "wrong guys."
I remember our first date: Whitley was working in an entry-level advertising job at the time, sharing a small office with a coworker–definitely not glamorous! At lunch, he told me, "I’m really a writer," and I made the choice to believe him. I saw him have success in the corporate world before he published his first book and changed careers, and I still discuss everything he writes with him on the long walk we take every day, and edit the first draft of his manuscripts, before he sends them off to his agent and his "official" editor.
I remember seeing his New York City apartment for the first time: It was in what was then a "slummy" area of the city. The elevator was broken a good deal of the time, and the handyman who lived in the basement had given him some furniture that other tenants had thrown away because he felt sorry for him. He later told me that all the other women he’d brought to his apartment had "run out screaming."
I looked around and said, "It has possibilities." When I moved in (all my belongings fit into a single box, which could be transported by a taxi cab), I set him to work with paint and wallpaper, and we made ourselves a home.
I remember hearing about his Visitor experiences for the first time, many years later. I didn’t run away screaming then, either.
I think we really bonded when we went to the movie "The Producers" together and realized we had the same sense of humor. I’ve talked to other couples who went to comedies on their early dates, and it really seems to seal the union. We still laugh together all the time. Despite all the tragedies that arise in everyone’s lives, I think that when you stop laughing, it’s over.