Forty years ago today, Bill and I became engaged. We had been dating for five years. Since we were both living a show business life, we never thought that we would ever have enough money to start a life together, even though we were devoted to one another and truly, passionately in love.
On Holy Thursday, 1980 Bill came to my apartment, in the early afternoon, and said with a sweet smile, “I think we should get married.” Needless to say, I was thrilled with the idea and immediately said yes. He was insecure about picking out a ring by himself and asked me to go with him. We went to Michael C Fina’s on Fifth Ave. I never wanted a Big Old Diamond…I always loved Rubies and thought them much more exciting.
Having very little money, we found a sweet ring with a small diamond surrounded by little rubies. I loved it and it was only $130…..it was 1980. I remember the sales people being very sweet with such a small sale. Bill purchased the ring and when we got back to my apartment, he officially gave me the ring and asked me to marry him. There was no elaborate declaration of romance, just pure, sweet, honest affection and understanding that our five years together had proven to us that we belonged together and were one.
Bill had just been hired to be the musical director at a theater in Tampa, Fl for a couple of shows and rehearsals had started here in NYC. We wanted to do something that would mark the day for this special occasion so Bill suggested that we return to the restaurant where we went on our first date for a quick bite before he had to go to rehearsal that evening.
Our first date was rather magical, to me. Bill invited me to a classical guitar concert at Town Hall with Julian Bream and afterwards we went to Great Aunt Fanny’s Restaurant on West 46 Street (Restaurant Row) for some coffee and dessert. We returned to Great Aunt Fanny’s many times during our courtship….it was our place but it was also a place where a lot of show business friends would frequent…..actors, dancers and singers loved it because it was reasonable and had good food.
So after a few loving hugs and serious kisses, off we went with our Ring to Great Aunt Fanny’s for our celebration. We sat at the same table where it had all started five years ago and we ordered Burgers and a split of Champagne. We toasted to each other……with me saying “Thank You for Asking” and Bill saying “Thank you for Accepting.”
To us that day was very special, as I am sure it is to all couples who become engaged, and every year for the passed 40 years, on this day….Holy Thursday…no matter where we are or what our lives have encountered, we still have Burgers and Champagne. Sometimes we are alone, sometimes we are with other people, but the Tradition still goes on.
I love you Bill Mearns and I love that we still do this for each other. I look forward to Burgers and Champagne tonight…..and “Thank You For Asking.”