A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The "Essence" of our marriage - an anniversary story

I was surprised Thursday morning to see a Pandora gift bag on the dining room table when I sat down to eat my breakfast. I was even more surprised to see the lovely note my husband left for me! All this for our twenty-first wedding anniversary.

I remember very clearly when Pandora first released the Essence line because my husband Mike was off work for the Remembrance Day holiday, November 2013. He said to me, "I want to get you one of the new bracelets, but I want it to be just for charms that you get as gifts." Who was I to argue?! I will admit it has been difficult not to buy those beads for myself, but he has given me Essence charms for most special occasions since then. And this year for our anniversary I received the "Friendship" and "Faith" beads.


Always and Forever bracelet
Mike's anniversary note (below) will make more sense if you first read my blog post from last June called The beginning of "Always and Forever", where Mike tells me that kissing me is like kissing his sister. If you haven't read the "Marriage Monday" series of stories about my "Always and Forever" love and marriage bracelet, you can scroll way down to the bottom of the blog (web version) and under "Labels" click on "Always and Forever bracelet" to pull up the stories for each of the charms. You can choose "Older Posts" to find all of them.


Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

I constantly look back to this day, twenty-one years ago, as my favourite day of my life. I was able to spend the whole day with family and friends and share and celebrate with my best friend. It felt like it was just yesterday but it also feels like it has been you and I together forever. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I love you Sweetie and I love my life with you.

The Essence "Friendship" charm

I bought you two charms. I don't know if they will fit on that bracelet with all your others. The "Friendship" bead is to represent the fact that our relationship is based on the fact that we have always been friends. Even though I didn't realize it at the time, the best relationships are built on friendship. I'm glad I figured that out.


The "Faith" bead is to remind you to always have faith that everything will be okay. Sometimes proof isn't always in your grasp, but if you just convince yourself that everything will be okay, that will give you the strength to make it so. To top it off, I thought both beads were pretty and would look good on you.
 
Enjoy your day and I know I'm looking forward to spending some time with you this evening. Happy Anniversary!

Lots of love,
Mike

My Essence collection
I shared a story some time ago (called The spark, the passion, and the attraction) about the fact that one of the things my husband and I have in common are art and literature. So it shouldn't surprise you that we spent the evening of our anniversary at the National Gallery of Canada to see an exhibit of the works of the iconic Canadian artist Alex Colville.
In case you are not acquainted with Colville's work, one of his most celebrated paintings, and familiar to many around the world, is "To Prince Edward Island" showing a woman with binoculars on a ferry and a man behind her. According to Colville, the binoculars are meant to express the active and intuitive power of a woman's vision: "the woman sees I suppose and the man does not."

To Prince Edward Island 1965 

Colville was born in Toronto but grew up in Amherst, Nova Scotia. He went to university nearby, at Mount Allison University (aka Mt A), where he met his future wife. He and his wife Rhoda were friends before there was a romantic interest between them. Somehow I feel that bodes well for Mike and I since we also met at Mt A (during Frosh Week in 1982) but were friends for some time before we were a couple.
 
Colville studied Fine Arts at Mt A. It was interesting to learn in the exhibit that, despite the fact that the faces were often indistinguishable, all of the women in his paintings were his wife, often nude. She once said that she didn't like posing for nude photos but she was jealous and didn't want him to paint anyone else nude! It was very moving to see all those paintings of the artist's wife in one place; a history of their 70-year marriage and the honest depiction of how his wife's body changed as she aged.

Woman on Ramp 2007

Colville was a war artist during WWII but returned to Mt A after the war to teach at the university. During those years he created a mural about the history of Mt A which was prominently displayed in Tweedie Hall, the common room of Trueman House, the men's residence where Mike lived for five years, as his father had done a few decades before. Tweedie Hall also happens to be the location of our first date at the Christmas semi-formal.
 
"The History of Mount Allison" mural 1948
Tweedie Hall, Trueman House, Mt A

Another Colville mural at Mt A was a constant presence in our lives because it was displayed in the lobby of the Athletic Centre where we spent much of our time. Mike played varsity basketball for five years and I played volleyball for four; as friends we always went to each other's games. Mike also spent lots of time there as a child when his father taught Phys. Ed. at the local high school and his mother was the Women's Athletic Director. When Mt A athletes, including Mike and me, get their photos taken it has always been, and presumably always will be, in front of this mural.
 
"Athletes" mural 1960
Athletic Centre, Mt A
In the 1970's Colville and his family moved to another small university-town called Wolfville, to his wife's family home. Wolfville just happens to be the same town where Mike and I got married (read about it in the story A little church charm for a little church wedding) in the Acadia University chapel twenty-one years ago.
 
The Alex Colville exhibit book, my anniversary gift to Mike

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