June 28, 1997 – We get married after a 2 ½ year courtship at the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center in Marin.
The first year of marriage is traditionally themed “Paper” and this is quite apropos as we work to zero your credit card debt. Most of our income goes to MasterCard and Visa. We also make payments to my college loans.
In what will become the beginning of a pattern, you help me recover from adversity. I am in a car accident right before the wedding which requires orthoscopic ACL reattachment of my left knee, but you are there for me.
Year 2 = Cotton – 1998 – We walk down Sanchez Street to the corner market, cook dinner, dance and enjoy life. Cotton symbolizes the intertwining and flexibility a couple has for each other. We learn to give and bend.
2000 – We buy our first house on Mt. Vernon. It has the original electrical from the 1920’s. I can’t toast bread and blow dry my hair at the same time, but it’s ours, all ours!
Theme: Fruits and Flowers 2001 – Four years of marital bliss! We take our first trip to Italy together to celebrate John’s 40th. [We drink lots of delicious “grape juice” and take in all the gorgeous flowers of Italy.]
2002 – Our beloved Josephine Choonja Wipff is born! Traditional Theme: Wood – Like the deep roots of an old oak tree. We are a strong family.
2003 – Ava Oksoon Wipff is born! Traditional Theme: Candy. Our life is definitely sweet.
2006 – moved to AZ, against your wishes. If a marriage has ups and downs, this is our “down.” But we get through it. Theme: Pottery and Willow – Our marriage continues to be the product of our choices and experiences, fired in the “oven of adversity.”
2007 – The girls begin violin lessons with Mrs. Lia Taylor, violin teacher extraordinaire. It’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship. You are starting to like – maybe love? – Arizona’s deserts, natural beauty and space.
2010 – I am diagnosed with breast cancer. We are scared. But we weigh the options. I want the cancer OUT! So I opt for a radical bilateral mastectomy. 13 years of marriage and the theme is lace – beautiful, yet strong.
2011 – Ivory – represents fidelity and purity. We have a good taste of the part “for worse” in a marriage by now. And we stick together, help each other through job layoffs and my six surgeries for breast reconstruction. I cry tears of joy (yes, joy!) as I drive to a class to complete my Master’s degree with drains hanging from my chest, under my shirt. I know I am so fortunate to have you…..the girls…this life.
2014 – Furniture is the theme for the 17th year of marriage. Furniture? We have plenty. We both have the uncanny talent for choosing furniture that is too large for our house.
2015 – Porcelain can be simple or complex. We are decidedly simple. We eschew extravagant spending and luxuries. Wrinkles and gray hair are starting to form…our memories are starting to fade. Fortunately, when you say, “Oh, there’s that actress…you know…from that one movie….with that one guy….” I look at the screen and and I completely understand you. See? We no longer need words.
2016 – Our 19th, baby! Bronze. A metal consisting of metal and tin, mixed together. It requires dedication to keep from corroding. Despite our longevity, we know marriage requires constant attention. We’re bronze with a patina of strength.
2017 – Platinum. Credit card companies and airlines afford you platinum status when you’ve created an exceptional track record of responsibility. Twenty years, my love. I look forward to at least twenty more.