...is 32. It is 32 years this evening since we two first met [in church] His first words "You're not another teacher, are you?" I think I replied "Yes I am - you aren't, are you?" That was June 4th, 1978
So here, for Bob, is one of my favourite poems "To my Dear and Loving Husband". It is written by Anne Dudley Bradstreet, regarded as the first American poet - although she was born and grew up in England.
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of Gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
This poem was published posthumously by her brother-in-law, in 1678 - exactly three hundred years before I fell in love!
Anne's family were Puritans, and she lived a hard life, but she proved to be a strong women and this internal resolve is reflected in her writings. Anne was bothered by the cultural bias toward women that was common in her time; the belief was that a woman's place was in the home attending to the family and her husband's needs. ['feminism' isn't a new idea!] Women were often considered intellectual inferiors and because of this, critics believed that Bradstreet stole her ideas for her poems from men
Above - a portrait of Anne by American artist Ladonna Gulley Warrick
Here is the commemorative stained glass window in the parish church of St Botolph's in Boston, Lincolnshire, England - the town where her family lived before emigrating in 1628. [This huge parish church is affectionately known to East Anglians as The Boston Stump] Presumably the basket of sweetcorn is meant to indicate she settled in the New World!
I have great admiration for Anne - she managed to be a committed Christian, a good wife, supporting her husband in his busy career, a loving mother, looking after home and family, a caring friend - and she still found time to be creative.
If she were alive now, I bet she'd have written a great blog!