Fifty years ago on February 4, 1961 my Brother Butch Lichliter married the beautiful Bernadine Curci.Ok before you start thinking I thought you didn't have any brothers or sisters let me clarify, actually Butch my dearest friend is the Brother I never had. I actually know a lot of real brothers who haven't had the great relation ship Butch and I have had. Other than friendly arguments about sports or trivial things I can't ever recall a time when we have actually been mad at each other, or had a serious disagreement. I wonder how many people that have known each other as long as we have can say that. Wow did we have great times. His Mom became like a second Mom to me and my Mom was the same for him as we were always doing things together.
I moved from West Virginia to Maryland in 1953 when I was 13 years old. I started to school at Ellicott City Junior High, didn't know a soul when I started there. Little did I realize that when the country boy from the mountains of West Virginia met Butch from the hills of Ellicott City it was going to influence my life in so many ways.
Butch met this beautiful girl from Dorsey at Vernon's Roller Rink .I was so happy for him and little did I know that him meeting Bernadine was going to have such a profound difference in my life also.
As I said Butch was my best friend and after him and Bernadine had dated a few times he asked me if I would like to go on a double date with Bernadine's best friend Louise Creamer. Bernadine and Louise were as close as friends as Butch and I. The fun that Butch and I always had was nothing compared to the great times the four of us had. Louise, who later became known affectingly as Bubba and I were married in 1959 and when Butch and Bernadine were married in 1961 it was almost like two brothers had married two sisters. That's how close we all were. It started a life long relationship that still goes on today, it was and is still is just like one big extended family. The Jackson's and the Lichliter's, Even though we left Maryland in 1973 our relationship is just as if we just lived around the corner from each other all these years.
We have been through a lot together over these many years, the good and the bad times. Both families have suffered some very sad times over the years. Both families have lost beloved family members. Some major health problems have occurred. But we have shared these times together always being there for each other as much as we can.
By living so far apart we have missed out on some things we would liked to have done together, but we have been there each other through most of the major milestones in our lives, the marriages, the anniversary's, even the birth of one of your grand children, I'll never forget that night for sure. Sadly we have been there for each other through to many deaths in our families also. Butch's Mom, My Mom, Nana, Bernadine's Mom, Bubba, Ron, Tony, numerous other family members on each side. If I tried to cover all of the great memories we have shared you would to live another 50 years to read them all. LOL So many memories, so much fun, so much laughter, I just can't list them all, my fiftieth birthday when all your kids and their spouses showed up for my surprise party, and just as recent as this past September when Joan gave me a wonderful party for my 70 TH birthday and she said Joe I am busy in the kitchen could you get the door and when I opened the door there stood my best friends in the whole world, Bernadine & Butch, a great day was made even greater.
I have never regretted moving to Florida but there are some things I wish I had not missed by leaving Maryland, I cherish the relationship I have had with Sandy, Susan, Sharon, & Shelly and their spouses but I never got to know your Grand children the way I would have liked, but the old saying is we just can't have every thing we would like in life.
I just want to thank you guys for being such an important part of my life especially during Bubba'a health problems and of course her death. Also all the support you have shown me since Martha's stroke.
Even with the sad things that have happened to me through my 70 years in hindsight my life has been wonderful. It has taken me a long time to realize just how lucky I have been and how God has looked out for me.
He needed another Angel in heaven so he called Bubba home to be with him but he guided me to meet and marry another Angel, my Dear Wife Joan.
Speaking of Joan when we were coming to meet you guys for the first time as a couple Joan was a nervous wreck about how it was going to go as she knew how much you loved Bubba. She was then and still is now so grateful that you have accepted her the way you have, she fits right in with all of us and has come to love you guys dearly.
Just a few more thoughts before I wrap this up:
May your anniversary be as happy as you are special,
May your smile be as big as your heart,
May your spring time be filled with friends and flowers,
May your days be beautiful expressions of your spirit,
The special bond you two share has beautifully touched so many lives,
A love like yours is something to celebrate every day not just on special days,
You are one very special couple and two very special friends,
The days and years can go by so fast but memories are made to last,
Always remember the good times and continue to have more great times to remember,
If we could choose for you the kind of day you deserve it would be a day as sunny as your smile, as generous as your heart, and as wonderful as you are.
We've shared the kind of friendship
that grows deeper through the years
We've seen the ups, we know the downs
We've shared the smiles and the tears.
And through it all I've learned one thing
that there could never be
dearer friend's in all the world
than the ones you are to me.
It has always been hard for men to tell another man they love them. Back in the days when myself, Butch, and our dearly departed friend Jimmy would consume a little alcohol at a party or a wedding, etc., after we would get a little snockered we would tell each other I love you man, one time on our arrival at one of those affairs I said to Butch and Jimmy I have not had any thing to drink yet and before I do I want to tell you guys I love you. I think I embarrassed them, guess what Butch I have not had any thing to drink, I am totally sober and I want to tell you and the world I LOVE YOU.