75 days=44 years
My parents, Roy Steinle and the former Rosemary Liuzza, celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary this past Friday.
They were married several hours after game one of the 1970 World Series, where the Orioles’ Brooks Robinson made a spectacular throw from foul territory well behind third base to nail the Reds’ Lee May. That game also featured a very controversial play at home plate, as Cincinnati’s Bernie Carbo–the same Bernie Carbo who would haunt the Reds in the 1975 World Series with the Red Sox–was called out at home plate by umpire Ken Burkhart, despite the fact Baltimore catcher Elrod Hendricks did not have the ball in his glove when he tagged Carbo, and Burkhart was sprawled on the ground well out of position.
In that situation, the umpire is supposed to not call anything until either (a) he sees a tag or (b) the runner touches the plate. Reds manager Sparky Anderson had every right to rake Burkhart over the coals for that bad call. Would the Reds have won the Series? Probably not, since the Orioles had superior starting pitching and Robinson would go on to have the series of his life, but if Cincinnati wins game one, it would have signifcantly altered the landscape.
Back to my parents. They did not know each other from Adam and Even until the evening of July 27, 1970, when two mutual friends set up Roy, a 26-year old employee at Air Products and Chemicals in far northeastern New Orleans, with Rosemary, a 25-year old teacher at B.F. Palmer Elementary School in an economically depressed neighborhood of the Crescent City.
My dad grew up in Russell and graduated from Russell High School in 1961. He admitted he was 104th in a class of 106. He enlisted in the Navy four days after graduation and served three years, earning his honorable discharge only a few months before the United States escalated the Vietnam War. He still qualifies as a Vietnam Vet, although he saw no combat action. My mother is New Orleans through and through, the youngest of five, along with her twin brother, who was a ridiculously successful Allstate insurance agent before retiring a few years ago and handing the business off to his younger son. Strangely enough, my uncle Jerry was a terrible student and actually had to repeat a
Exactly 75 days after that first date, they were married. The wedding was originally scheduled for the following Saturday, October 17, but my father was scheduled to travel to Russell that weekend to be present with his family when his grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary. Rosemary’s parents, however, said no way to letting her come to Kansas unless she was married. And I think my grandfather would have said no way, too. So the wedding was moved up. Only my grandparents came from Kansas. My mother had her four brothers and her parents there, plus numerous cousins.
My parents flew out of New Orleans on Eastern Air Lines (there’s a blast from the past) and honeymooned in the Bahamas. They stayed four days and then came home, then immediately went to Russell for my great grandparents’ anniversary.
Wow. Not knowing each other to married in 10 weeks. However, 1970 was still the era of free love, so anything could happen. They really struggled at first, living in a very small apartment in north Metairie, in Jefferson Parish just outside the New Orleans city limits before moving to Arabi in St. Bernard Parish in August 1971, into the house where I would grow up, and eventually return to before Katrina struck.
My parents are far stronger people than most. If they would have wanted a divorce because I was too much to handle, I would not have blamed them. If they wanted to give me up for adoption, I would not have blamed them. I’m glad both of them were strong enough to put up with me all these years. They aren’t the most affectionate couple; they won’t be seen getting mushy in public, and they certainly don’t do it in front of my brother and I. Maybe it’s a reason I’m so reserved, but I don’t think it is.
I feel for those who have grown up in single-parent households. They have had it far tougher than I and should be commended.
My dear friend Elizabeth Psenski grew up hardly knowing her dad, but she has become an exceptional young lady, thanks in large part to her wonderful mother Nadine. She was one of the fortunate ones. Others were not as fortunate.