In the ruinsMeSueBaynard3

  Our previous marriages ended up in ruins. So, we figured our luck might change if we’d start this one in ruins. It worked.

     Yesterday, June 14th, was our 25th anniversary. One might think that’s no big deal. But it is a big deal if the groom had four previous wives and the bride had two previous husbands. We were mired in failed relationships, which is why we avoided any form of serious relationship after we met. Marriage was synonymous with doom…for us both.

     That was the best start ever. No expectations, no presentations, no faking no pretenses. What you see is what you get.

     She was still married to #2, though she had left him a year before. I was technically still married to #4 who was preparing for divorce. We didn’t date until we were both free of marriage. Then, it was an occasional movie, a dinner, and … the “N” word.  Imagine being in our forties, going out, and the woman has the audacity to say “No.”

     Two-and-a-half years later, we eloped to Hilton Head Island. We told no one (except my best friends, Harvey and Judy Glaser) who stood for us and shared the festivities. We simply didn’t want to hear the cynics; “Wonder how long this will last?”

      Presided over by a local Notary Public, we all assembled at the Baynard Ruins of Hilton Head, the remnants of a grand old pre-Civil War plantation, turned mostly to rubble with some original stone, sand and oyster-shell walls still standing. Now a park overrun by forest, the site is preserved for nature lovers and history buffs. Yes, we stood in the ruins on our wedding day in 1989 and had a four-person reception on a beach blanket with wine and finger foods. It all got better from there.

     Finally, people have asked about our secret to success. Simple. I accept her as she is. She accepts me as I am.  She’s from Canada, a sculpture artists and die-hard pragmatist. I’m a musician, ex-cop and die-hard pragmatist. We live in the real world. We appreciate each other’s attributes and accept each others flaws.

     Since June 14th, 1989, we both have enjoyed many accomplishments, individual and together. Our arguments have been few…and the winners are equally divided. Our greatest challenge was in the mid 1990’s when my two grandkids (then ages 10 and 11) were in great need of home, care and the love of family. Suzanne unselfishly rose to that occasion and joined in the custodial arrangement. Those two kids are now in their late 20’s…fortunate to have had Suzanne in their lives.    

     At the beginning of each of my twelve published books, you will see a page of acknowledgements ending with: “I owe my love and devotion to my wife, Suzanne, the most perfect human being on planet earth.”

     And that’s no lie.

(with Harvey and Judy, friends since 1954)