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Love Story, Volume 4

2 May

Perhaps my favorite (famous) love story of all time is that of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.  From the start of their relationship (when they were both actors), and until the former president died, they were a high-profile couple – and their devotion and immense love for one another was well-documented.  (So much so, that in looking for photographs to use on this post, I would say that they are probably the most photographed couple in the world.  A blessing and a curse, I’m sure.)Ronald_NancyReagan The couple met in 1949, when the only “president” title he held was that of the Screen Actors Guild.  They began courting after meeting, and the pair married in a private ceremony (only two other people were present) in 1952.  For a couple who lived a very public life (from the California Governor’s Office to the White House) they were often described as “intimate” and openly admitted that they weren’t complete without the other one present.

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To the world, he was President Reagan.  To her, he was Ronnie, the partner who wrote her hundreds of letters – some he wrote while she was across the country, some while she was across the room.  In reading a few of them as research for this post, I was struck by how playful, yet sincere their letters to one another were.  It truly seems as if they never stopped courting one another.

From one of his letters to her:

Dear Mrs. Reagan,

Your loving, faithful devotion has been observed these 19 (some say 20) years. There are no words to describe the happiness you have brought to the Gov. It is no secret that he is the most married man in the world and would be totally lost and desolate without you. It seemed to me you should know this and be aware of how essential you are in this man’s life. By his own admission, he is completely in love with you and happier than even a Gov. deserves.

With Love & Appreciation

—Your In Luv Guv.

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I love how the Reagan Foundation’s website describes the couple: “They were always holding hands. Ronald visibly lit up when Nancy entered the room. And then there was the “gaze” – Nancy would look adoringly at her husband when he spoke, seeming to hang on his every word. Their devotion to each other seemed at times too good to be true, and some along the way would doubt their sincerity. But there was nothing disingenuous about the Reagans and their obvious affection for one another. Theirs was a genuine love affair.”

After the attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981, it is said that Nancy became fiercely protective of her husband – she knew every detail of his schedule and accompanied him as often as possible.  When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, she was again his chief protector – never allowing cameras/media to photograph him in his late years.

At Ronald Reagan’s eulogy, President George W. Bush said, “In a life of good fortune, he valued above all the gracious gift of his wife, Nancy. During his career, Ronald Reagan passed through a thousand crowded places; but there was only one person, he said, who could make him lonely by just leaving the room.  America honors you, Nancy, for the loyalty and love you gave this man on a wonderful journey, and to that journey’s end.”

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Love Story, Volume 3

23 Feb

In Hollywood these days, marriages seem to last about as long as my manicures do.  (Hey, I had a failed one once, so who am I to judge?)  So, it’s refreshing when you see a couple who can count their decades together (instead of months together), like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.

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Hanks and Wilson were wed in 1988, after a brief courtship.  She has said that she never knew what love was until she met him (even though she was engaged to another man at one point) and can recall the moment she fell in love with him (as they were holding hands on the corner of 58th and 5th streets in New York).

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Through the years, his Oscar acceptance speeches have turned both the audience (and Tom) teary-eyed when he acknowledged her, always saying that the reason he was able to identify with the characters he won for playing was because of the love they share.

Oscar Speech for Philadelphia:

“Here’s what I know. I could not be standing here without that undying love that was just sung about by Neil Young.  I have that in a lover that is so close to ‘fine,’ that we should all be able to experience such Heaven right here on Earth.”

Oscar Speech for Forrest Gump:

“I am standing here because the woman I share my life with has taught me, and demonstrates to me every day, just what love is.”

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On their 24th wedding anniversary, the couple took to Twitter with a sweet display of public affection – him posting a now 24-year-old wedding photo and calling her the love of his life, and her Tweeting back, “It feels like it’s been 24 hours.  Did we just get married?”

How Lucky Am I?

16 Feb

On December 19th, the day before my 32nd (Good Lawd) birthday, and the day after my now husband’s birthday, I married the absolute love of my life. With our families surrounding us at our home on that Monday night, we said our vows. We told a few friends beforehand, but there was no formal engagement. Dating one day, married the next.

Scott (that’s his name) and I met a few years ago. It wasn’t until we were both single that our acquaintanceship turned to friendship and then to more.

I’ve never met anyone like him. He’s brave, he’s kind, he’s funny, he’s strong, he’s smart, he’s a wonderful father, listener and partner. He makes me better and whole. Scott has given me the life I was waiting for, and I hope I have done the same for him.

In 2010, I wrote a post about the Termite Inspector who asked me why I bought such a big house for one person. As I said in that post, after he left, I thought of the scene in Under the Tuscan Sun where the main character has a mini-breakdown over buying a house “for a life she didn’t have.”

This is the scene:

Frances: This house has three bedrooms. What if there’s never anyone to sleep in them? And the kitchen, what if there’s never anyone to cook for? I wake up in the night thinking,”You idiot. I mean, you’re the stupidest woman in the world. You bought a house for a life you don’t even have.”
Martini: Why did you do it, then?
Frances: Because I’m sick of being afraid all the time. And, because I still want things. I want a wedding in this house, and I want a family in this house.

When I think about our little wedding on a Monday night in December, by the Christmas tree, with our daughters as bridesmaids – I tear up every time.  What a sentimental sap I’ve become.

How lucky am I?