On September 8, 2022, my wife and I returned from a very busy week in Hawai‘i. In my last blog post, I shared my camp experience. In this one, I want to share a little about the Bil and Anne love story, which started sixty-two years ago at Makapu‘u while body-surfing in the ocean.
In June 1960, I received my MDiv from seminary, became ordained, and spent the summer in Europe. I arrived in Hawai‘i on August 23. Two days later, as I was leaving the church, I met the new kindergarten teacher, Anne Lowry. She was very attractive.
On my first Sunday, I was introduced to the congregation as the new assistant rector, and at the end, as I was shaking hands at the door of the church, there she was again, even more beautiful with her infectious smile.
I wasted no time. That Sunday afternoon I called and asked if she would like me to show her some of O‘ahu. We started at Makapu‘u to body-surf. I brought a picnic lunch, and then we continued on to Kāne‘ohe Marine Corps Air Station, where I was stationed, to see a rodeo and old friends. After that, we went to a “welcome home” party at a fraternity brother’s house. I thought it was a wonderful day, but later, Annie told me it had been rather difficult because she had to bring so many outfits and had no idea how to date a priest.
I remember that I wanted to kiss her good night but waited for a better opportunity. For the first week of school, kindergarteners come only in the morning, so, in the afternoon, I would pick up Annie and go back to Makapu‘u to body-surf.
We quickly became a couple, and six weeks later, I proposed. I had been waiting twenty-eight years for her, and I didn’t want to wait any longer. The rector, however, slowed me down and said we should announce the engagement at Christmas and be married in June.
Back to Labor Day 2022. We returned to Makapu‘u to celebrate the sixty-second anniversary of our first date, where it all started.
Sometimes people ask, “What’s the secret of being together for sixty-two years?” It’s not a secret. Some is luck, but we also know that marriage is hard work. However, it helps that we are best friends. We confront conflict and resolve it. We don’t carry negativity. We like being together and have common interests, such as living healthy; skiing (still); going to the symphony, theater, and church; traveling; and dancing (in the style of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s), to name a few.
It helps that politically and theologically we think alike. Annie does her art, and I write, but we look to each other for input. We adhere to the concept of two people working as a team but also make sure our individuality is maintained.
We feel so fortunate that on our sixty-second anniversary we were able to return to where it started. It was like renewing our marriage vows, but this time with years of experience thrown in, making them that much more meaningful.
Thank you for allowing me to share part of the Bil and Anne love story with you.
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo by Cristofer Maximilian on Unsplash