I have been married since 1966. My husband and I met in a college art class taught by a painter who is now internationally famous, Vija Celmins. She would never admit that she taught at our school–Cal State Los Angeles. It wasn’t even a university, then, and it had a great reputation for producing capable elementary school teachers.
Most internationally famous artists don’t put such a place on their resumes, but my husband and I are very grateful for all that she taught us, and for the assignment that brought us together. You see, I didn’t have a car at the time. I rode the bus to school. I should say I rode four buses to school. I had to transfer a lot and walk quite a bit. My husband had a red ’58 classic Corvette. Celmins, as we affectionately called her, said we had to visit some art galleries and review them. My husband asked me to come with him one Saturday; the rest is history.
A friend and I were talking about marriage the other day at lunch. We decided that many people have the wrong idea about it. Many believe that if they do not get along with their partner perfectly every minute of every day, or if they are not mush-pot lovey dovey after a few years that it means they are with the wrong person. Those people are wrong.
The most important factor in any marriage is not appearance, intelligence, achievement, material goods, or even passion. All of those things change. The most important thing is friendship. It is priceless to be able to take a drive with someone who likes to take walks in the same places you do and to eat in the same funny little cafes. It’s comforting to share a familiar repertoir of simple meals that have associations back to early days of student poverty. It’s fun to look at pictures together and remember the time the half-blind terrier scurried all the way down to the bottom of the sleeping bag on a cold winter night in the desert. It’s wonderful to share newly published books, pictures, or articles with someone who appreciates how many long days and nights went into their creation, and how many years of frustration and disappointment preceded the opportunity to sell them. It’s best, in the middle of a tense night, to roll over, lie close, and feel all worries fall away.
So thanks, Vija Celmins, and my dear Alden for the best friendship in the world.