On Thursday, Aug. 25, Rhea-Frances and I will be celebrating our 50th anniversary, so I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some of the memories and highlights of our 50 years of wedded bliss. And, believe it or not, us California-born natives are still talking to one another, even though she does most of the talking.
Had I been born in New York City, a New York City girl I’d know, workin’ in the concrete not the sunlight, livin’ in the New York rain and snow. Oh, there’s California bloodlines in my heart and a California woman in my song. Oh, there’s California bloodlines in my heart and a California heartbeat in my soul. And, just to think I might have never known you if I had lived my life in Tennessee, but I really could have never let that happen for you and California are in me. (“California Bloodlines” – John Stewart – 1969)
Rhea had just completed a semester at sea on Chapman College’s World Campus Afloat program in December 1972 when we met by happenstance one evening when I announced on my nightly radio show (DM in the PM) on Radio Chapman that the first person to call in with the name of the artist performing the next song would win a free pizza. Less than a minute later, the phone lit up and it was Rhea with the correct answer, Rod Stewart, singing “Maggie May,” which had become a hit while she was abroad.
Rhea showed up at the radio station to claim her prize, which I didn’t have, so I signed off for the evening and we scurried down to Shakey’s for some Hawaiian Delight pizza and, you know what? It was love at first bite…and it still is!
Not long after that, she offered to cook dinner for me. Her spaghetti and meatballs were so good I proposed to her on the spot. What she didn’t tell me was that it was the ONLY thing she knew how to cook. Anyway, she wanted to finish college before we tied the knot, which was in the fall of 1973, after completing four years of classwork in three-and-a-half-years…she was a fast learner, whereas it took me six years.
We married at her hometown church in Whittier and left the ceremony with a string of beer cans tied to the rear bumper of a car driven by a fraternity brother, anxious to leave for our honeymoon in Acapulco.
Over the years, we’ve always done things together, like owning and operating a small chain of record stores (Jabberwocky Discount Records) in Orange County in the 70s and bike shops (Inland Bicycle Center) in San Bernardino and Riverside in the 80s. Rhea retired in 2018 after teaching special ed classes in Redlands for 25 years, while I retired from teaching eighth-grade language arts and alternative ed in 2000…and the rest is history.
Have you wondered where we were before we were born? Rollin’ ‘round the heavens like a song, I know it’s then I saw the big Sierras, saw a California sunrise comin’ on. Oh, there’s California bloodlines in my heart and a California heartbeat in my soul.
Keep it flyin’,