Adapted from the 2nd book in Joseph Batory’s trilogy, Joey’s Story, 2002, Lanham, MD and London, UK.
My wife Joan and I will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary in December of 2020. And so, people would probably be very surprised to know that we had an “arranged marriage.”
Back in the 1960’s, Joan’s grandmother and my mother had planned the whole thing out. They were close friends and they decided that Joan and I would make a perfect married couple.
But when my mother suggested that I should meet this very pretty and intelligent girl who was the granddaughter of a friend of hers, I immediately rejected the idea. I could only imagine what sort of disaster case this hand-picked young women would be for me. No way I was getting involved with a lady-friend chosen for me by my mother.
For about six months, my mother nagged me incessantly about the opportunity I was missing. But I still wasn’t buying in. So, Joan‘s grandmother and my mother orchestrated an “accidental meeting” between Joan and me at my home. And it worked like a charm.
Joan had been invited to accompany my mother to some cultural event. The timing was carefully synchronized to make sure that I would be at home.
And when I answered the door, I immediately fell in love with the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I was smitten. It was a perfectly executed plan.
I should tell you that Joan is extremely bright. When I was courting her, we often met at the University of Pennsylvania library. I just wanted to look at her and be with her. I pretended to be studying from various books in front of me, but my heart was fluttering wildly, and I was seriously love struck!
Joan was always the epitome of a serious student. I remember her reading books written in French in order to obtain prime source information about Polish history, in which she had great interest. It was awesome. But I despaired at the time. How would a guy like me ever get to first base with someone this intelligent?
Well, miracles do happen. Especially because the magnetism between Joan and me turned out to be mutual. We were truly made for one another.
Now more than five decades later, Joan and I are still very married and still very much in love. We have had a myriad of wonderful joys and experiences in life together.
I could never stand being away from Joan. Early in our marriage, I was in New Orleans without her with the La Salle College (not yet a university) basketball team which had a Saturday night game. As La Salle’s director of sports information, my job was to file the game coverage with The Philadelphia newspapers on occasions when the team was far from Philly.
Ordinarily, our group would’ve headed home in the morning. But the next day was Super Bowl Sunday and the game was going to be played right there in New Orleans. The La Salle entourage had obtained game tickets for each member of our traveling party. Everyone was very excited… everyone but me!
No time for frivolity. I was in love!
And so, (most men do not believe this) I gave away my precious Super Bowl ticket and grabbed a 7 AM flight out of New Orleans at Sunday’s sunrise. Later that afternoon, I watched the Super Bowl on television snuggled up to my beloved Joan back in Philly. That’s the way our marriage was and still is.
Joan is the purest, kindest, and most decent person I’ve ever met. She has had a very successful career mostly working for environmental protection causes. But I have always been her number one project. Whether I needed loving, nurturing, counseling, understanding, massaging, or just a good straightening out, Joan has always been there for me…..my Joan, the love of my life.