Patty and I met and fell into love when we were eighteen years of age. We were married on July 27, 1951, just two weeks before my nineteenth birthday. At the time, the State of California said that she was emancipated (a female adult) at eighteen, but I had to wait until my twenty first birthday until I became an adult in California. This meant that my mother, or my father, had to sign for me to get a wedding licence! Patty let me know that, legally, she was the adult in our union. Happily, it became a joke between us. The point is that we were both very young and inexperienced when we married, but we were married for sixty five years. That means we were married for our entire adult lives: it means we grew up together-literally. This meant we shared and co-learned from our experiences as we traveled our married life’s pathway to its recent ending. Over time we became as one in our responses to our married life’s experiences. This leads me to try and explain the seeming paradox.

Can two people become so intimately entangled as a result of  their shared experiences and yet remain as individuals with separate identities? Is it even possible? It is, and we were living proof of that for sixty five years. Our union was between individuals known as “Mel”  and “Patty”. This union created a third entity, a marriage called “Mel & Pat”. So, there is no real paradox at all; there are three separate identities at play here. Two individuals (‘Mel” and “Patty”) and one marriage (“Mel & Pat”). This arrangement has all the parts necessary for the creation of a “love triangle” and the the many complexities that come with it. Complexities that stem from conflicting priorities that may be revealed as the individuals confront various situations in life. If the priorities adopted favor the individuals over the marriage, then the marriage will not endure; if the priorities adopted favor the marriage over the individuals, then the marriage will endure. Simple! Not quite. Adherence to the principle of marriage over individuality requires constant dedication to it over a lifetime.

What happens when one of the individuals ceases to exist? Does the marriage cease to exist? For me, the marriage is altered but not voided. The individual that ceased to exist is replaced by a void, a hole, in the marriage that can never be filled. The acceptance of this reality is the natural outcome of the grieving process the the surviving individual must allow to happen. I am not yet there. For me, now, there is just a giant hole in my heart.


I am 89 years old and was married for 66 years. My wife passed away in 2016. I am a retired engineer and spent 35 years developing INS gyroscopes. I was a High School mentor in physics, a mountaineer, a model builder, a machinist and I have a degree in Physics. My interests include railroad history and photography, science history, cosmology, interesting people, and old engineering drawings. I place a high value on my friendships. I enjoying my life and I try look forward with a sense of anticipation and curiosity about what my future has in store for me.


  1. I don’t think I have ever gotten the chance to tell you that I love hearing, or in this case, reading your stories about you and grandma. I wish I could go back to the summers spent at your house and just absorb all the history of our family and really learn about you and grandma. You are right, you two had taken on the identity of one, even though you were two individuals. I always knew and always will know you as grandpa and grandma, even now. I wholeheartedly believe grandma is still with you every single minute of the day. You have beautiful memories of a beautiful life you built together. Just THINK….so many of us would not be here today had it not been for you and grandma ❤️. Love and miss you grandpa.


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