50th Anniversary Reception of Don and Joan Kleczynski
The day was June 21, 1958, exactly 50 years ago when Joan and I became man and wife on our Wedding Day in the St. Louis Catholic Church in the rural area west of Gervais, Oregon, on a scorcher of a day. The Wedding ceremony was at 9:30 am. and followed with the traditional, old fashioned type reception in the adjoining Parish Hall. Relatives, and many friends of the surrounding small-acreage farming community, came to join the day long celebration with us. Everyone wished the best for us … our marriage, our life. How little would they know of their power of prayer!
The day now is June 21, 2008 and we envisioned our 50th to be just another day for us, but earlier in this year we were out-voted on that as our four kids, their families, and several of my siblings decided that a marriage lasting 50 years is too important for us, too important to them, to let this day pass! We consented to a small celebration. As the weeks and months passed, this celebration party continued to grow. Grow such that the Church Hall in Canby would be needed. Invitations sent to friends and relatives … while realizing all would not be able to attend because of distance, and because of the many other family events already scheduled during this summer.
Our Michigan family and part of our Colorado family made the trip to join our Oregon families in celebrating a day of historic proportions … a Golden Wedding Anniversary, for Joan and I. It’s nearly too much to comprehend that we have arrived at this milestone in our lives and that we have done so while retaining good health and a continued commitment to the wedding vows of … “until death do you part”! How Fortunate, how Blessed we have been!!!
Our Oregon daughters, Diane and Jeanne, shouldered the burden of creating, printing, and sending all the invitation cards as well as designing a card given to everyone at the reception. They did a terrific job on the cards, putting to shame anything done professionally. A card given at the Hall door had our Wedding picture on the cover, three more pictures inside, plus listing Joan and my parents and siblings, listing our children, listing our grandchildren, and this all done in a elegant print font.
Outside, three folding, white Christmas bells were hung at the entrance, plus a huge potted plant in full bloom of white and blue flowers and a heart shaped sign with our names, Don and Joan. The Hall set up with cakes on the table and finger foods artistically place on tables in kitchen area. Food dishes were prepared and arranged by a couple ladies of the parish that wanted to be a part, and share in our day.
A collage of 30 pictures from our Wedding day, along with family pictures during various stages of those 50 years, was put together on computer by a Colorado grandson and then enlarged to a 16 x 20 inch picture. What a terrific job!! What a lot of thought and work must have gone into that! On the opposite side of the stage, a picture featured the three grandchildren and parents of our Colorado family that weren’t able to make the trip. One of our Oregon son-in-laws and their daughter also were missing, along with one of my brothers who called early that morning that a critical situation demanded he work that day. We were so sorry that each of them were required by circumstances to miss our celebration, but know only a dire situation could, or would, prevent it!
Joan and I were not allowed into the hall that day until final touches put together by all of our family. It was still well early before the scheduled start time when completed, permitting a private time with all our immediate family, to watch the slide show about our life that another Colorado grandson put together with much love and affection. Brief captions on select pictures expressed the love and devotion Joan and I shared through these years. The accompanying music imbedded into this slide show was so exceptionally chosen, it brought beauty and a “special something” to it, to us! I had sent some pictures back to Colorado that might be appropriate but never realized they could be put into such an order, accompanied by music and captions, could turn them into such a work of art.
Joan and I stood there as the slide show commenced, without much thought about what it might be. The order, the sequence, enhanced by the music, brought back many wonderful memories of our lives with our kids. Brought back too, the vacations and time together we missed during their growing up years. It brought back too, what wonderful kids and grandkids we have been Blessed with, and too … what a wonderful life that our marriage 50 years ago, has brought to us! We have been Blessed beyond belief!!!
A reliving of past memories presented with this slide show can be one of the most emotional things that can happen to a person, and it certainly was to us. Soon after the slide show began, Joan is weeping, I am choking up. The water droplets accumulating in the corners of the eyes. How beautiful, how sad, how emotional, how loving of each other we realize we really are. 50 years hasn’t weakened that bond, that Love, it has just made it stronger!
A FWD email recently received probably said it best ….. (author unknown).
True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.
By 1:00 pm. people began arriving for out big event. More people than we would have expected! Friends and relatives from around Oregon, relatives from Aberdeen including my Mom’s sister-in-law. Two of my Mom’s sisters now living in Oregon also here to rejoice with us!! I grieved that my Mom wasn’t able to be with us this day, but she found a greater place, a place in Heaven just two years ago. I know she would have thrilled in this, our accomplishment, as she had with my older sister four years ago!!
After eating, the slide show was shown to those gathered. At it’s conclusion my younger sister begins chanting that I bend the knee to propose again to Joan or that I give a demonstration of how well I have mastered kissing after 50 years. I told her I don’t do that in public, while looking for an excuse to present the talk I have been preparing and rewriting for months. I’m not saying that my sister was trying to embarrass me or put me on the spot, but …! So I go to the front of the hall, pull folded sheet pages from my pocket and assume a dignified pose to began reading the umpteenth version. The first draft of four pages too long so shortened to two with a few adlibs included by me and surprisingly, by Joan too!! Finished to applause, and afterwards, congratulations of it’s content. But, that didn’t seem to quell the insistence that I kiss the 50 year bride, neither by the people … nor by Joan. What to do, what to do? Do what you gotta do!! Stand back, lean way out forward and in a milli-fraction of a second … !!
The reception is over. We have one more day before our Michigan family returns home after a brief but welcome trip for us, but nearly another week before our Colorado families must also return, to continue, to fulfill their own destiny. May each of their lives be as joyous and rewarding as ours, and may they cherish the moments of this summer as Joan and I will do forever!!
We humbly thank each of you for sharing this time with us, either by attending or through the necessity of having to send your wishes to us. Without you, our lives would be nothing!
Click on any of the above photos for a larger view.
Presented at Reception
June 21, 2008 by Don Kleczynski
Over the past three months I’ve written several versions of what I might say here today, and dreamt upon many more. The best versions never got written. I figured all those would jumble together into nothing so I brought one version along to read just in case.
This version is only two pages and not the 4 pages that might have been … so feel lucky!!
Many thanks to all of you for sacrificing your time and expense to be here today and celebrate with us our 50th wedding anniversary. Really humbling to have so many here, many that have come a far distance.
Don’t know who to thank or to blame for putting this celebration together but sounded like a conspiracy of many.
What a coincidence that June 21, 1958, our wedding day at St Louis Catholic Church was also a Saturday. But then we have become used to coincidences in our lives and continue to enjoy those happenings during each of our get-aways to the Coast or camping and also on visits to our Colorado and Michigan families.
Those coincidences started the day following our wedding when we found this small log Catholic Church at Brightwood, Oregon along the highway to Mt Hood. How wonderful to find a former St Louis parish priest, Father Fritz offering the Mass that day. A short visit after Mass and a second Blessing of our marriage. A marriage Blessed twice has to be a survivor!
And now today we are fortunate to be celebrating that day, and those years.
50 years is a long time for two people to be together but we have somehow muddled through these years without too many disruptive days. Sure there were rough times for us just like any married couple, but maybe we were too busy with daily work loads to have time to remember to be mad for too long.
Our life was pretty hectic during the working years. Now in retirement for 11 years we’ve had opportunities for chance get-aways and a strengthening of the bond that we’ve shared through these years.
On our leisure times we splurge on Coast outings or camping trips and delight with small coincidental happenings in the beauty and glory of nature we have been Blessed to be there to enjoy.
At home, we have “hobby” crafts to give us a feeling of importance in this world and provide gratitude for the leisure times.
Our marriage has been Blessed by four wonderful children and 15 grandchildren, and so far, two grand-daughter-in-laws that all bring us great pleasure. A couple more fiancé’s said to be on the horizon!! Not all of our family members could be here today because of health reasons. We glory with those having made the trip from Colorado and those from Michigan to join us and our Oregon families this day, while sorrowing for those left behind.
So they ask … “to what do you attribute for being married 50 years?” Guess I can’t give you much of an answer to that other than …
Love, commitment, respect for your partner, a willingness to adjust, and trusting in our God !!
So again we thank all of you for joining us this day. Thanks to our kids for having put this celebration together, and thanks to these women of St. Patrick’s parish that wanted to be a part of our day, volunteering to take over the food preparation and serving. What wonderful friends and what wonderful relatives we have!!
Over the years we’ve had strange and wonderful happenings but few as gracious, rewarding, or humbling as today, when you all came to share these moments in time with us … !!
Thank you all very much!