Golden Year

We just had a whirlwind weekend in Tennessee, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of my parents’ wedding.

cake cropped

To mark the occasion, they decided to renew their vows, and it was really so sweet. The Fab Five (Jim, D, J, my sister and me) made the trek from Chicago—we wouldn’t have missed it!—and we were thrilled to be a part of it all.

There were twenty-six of us filling the living room in the home of my parents’ good friends from their temple. Jim, D, J, and my uncle held the poles for the chuppah and my parents’ rabbi performed the ceremony. My parents held hands the majority of the time, my dad read special vows, and it was just…lovely. The whole thing was so warm and fuzzy, and it was truly a thrill to be there, which was beyond the basic thrill of having parents who are still together and in love after all these years. It was a great day for our whole family.

vow renewal

A couple of tidbits from the day:

Four of my parents’ oldest friends—two couples who have been their friends for nearly fifty years—made the trip from their homes in Atlanta and southern Illinois to celebrate with my parents. The six of them laughed constantly and it was great for me to be able to spend some time laughing and joking (but mainly laughing and WATCHING them joke with each other) with all of them, too, before the ceremony and at breakfast yesterday morning. They are a riot.

Also, I loved being able to capture this picture of my mom and one of those friends as they sat chatting before the vow renewal ceremony. They held hands while they talked for nearly fifteen minutes. So sweet.


After repeated reminders from my mom in the days leading up to the ceremony about how we “NEED TO GET A NEW FAMILY PICTURE!!!” (yes, she raised her voice when she reminded me), we forgot to get a new family picture. I did, however, get this pretty awesome picture of me, the boys, and my dad so there’s that.

Melisa Dad D J

Lastly, I spoke at the ceremony. I was completely stressed out when I was trying to write my words down because I wanted it to be meaningful, sweet, and, let’s face it, perfect. I ended up being totally paralyzed every time I tried to work on it despite Momo’s regular messages of “You got this!” and “If MY parents were still together and celebrating fifty years, I’d have you write my speech!” and “DID YOU WRITE IT YET?” and “OMG GO WRITE!” Finally, I sat down and typed it out in less than ten minutes, sent it to Momo to proof for me, and with one minor change it was done. I was pretty proud of it and my parents loved it, which was the main thing. Here’s what I said:

I don’t remember, as a little girl, knowing how lucky I was to have parents whose relationship was so solid. In fact, having some friends in elementary school whose parents were divorcing, I was always a little worried when the rare disagreement would come up between my own. Until one day, that is. I expressed my concern to my dad, and his response to me was, “Don’t worry; your mother is stuck to me like glue.”

That one little sentence meant a lot to me and I took great comfort knowing that my parents were “stuck together”.

As an adult, and especially on this momentous occasion, I am fully aware of how lucky I was; how lucky I am. My parents, who met as teenagers at their temple youth group, who grew up together and married fifty years ago today, taught my sister Jules and me so much about respect, class, acting with integrity, and treating other people as we would want to be treated. Like them, we don’t make promises lightly. Actually, I can say this is also true about my husband Jim and our sons D and J. We are all so happy to be standing here today to witness this milestone in our parents’ life together. We thank them for always setting a great example of what real love is. Even though they claim that the other one drives them nuts, nobody who knows them truly believes that.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, on fifty years of marriage, and we wish you many happy and healthy more. Thank you for being the glue of our family. We’re so happy to be stuck with you.


  • Momo

    I make you write SO WELL!

    Congratulations to your mom and dad for a successful marriage, a beautiful family and inspirational love.

  • Irving Witcoff

    Thank you honey! As I did during the ceremony, I have tears in my eyes again after reading the above. What you wrote was so spot on! I love your mother and will continue to do so, with all my heart for many, many reasons! You and Jim, your sons, and your sister, have contributed so much to our successful marriage and I feel you should know that! You and Julie turned out so wonderful and that was due to your mother more than me. I wasn’t home as much while you and your sister were growing up. as I would’ve liked to have been due to the work load I had making a very successful career for myself, however, your mother was able to do such a great job while making it look easy. She was, is, and always will be, the love and inspiration in my life, just as all of you are!

    I love her and I love you! 🙂

    Old Dad

  • Sylvia Joy

    That day was so beautiful I can’t and will never forget it. You all being there was very important to me and your Dad. Having old friends, new friends and family there was so outstanding.
    As your Dad and I have always said we do not believe in divorce we believe in murder. And love each other Now and Forever.
    Love Mom