43 Years of Lila and Ken

Back in the late 60s, I worked with a photographer named Bob Rogers at The Athens Messenger. I guess I should say I worked FOR Bob, since he was the Chief Photographer and nominally my boss. Here he is in a lighting finger exercise I did for a lighting class. (I was supposed to use two lights. I did: a strobe at the camera, and Bob is touching two wires together to fire a flashbulb mounted in the ceiling of the phone booth).

But, that’s not the point of the story.

“When are you guys getting married?”

One day – maybe even on the day when this photo was taken – when Lila was hanging around our office, Bob asked, in his normal diplomatic way, “So, when are you guys getting married?” (That’s Bob’s foot, bottom center, next to the phone.)

Responding in my diplomatic way, I responded, “Bob, pick a date.”

“June 27,” was his answer.

For some reason, that date didn’t work out, so we got married June 23, 1969, 43 years ago. To this day, when anyone asks when we got married, I always say June 27, because that’s the date that stuck in my memory.

Where’s Bob?

I lost track of Bob in 1970 when he sent me a postcard photo of himself climbing a mountain somewhere. I had no idea if he was buried under tons of snow and ice or if he had just lost my address. A few Internet searches over the years turned up way too many people with that name to track down. Finally, out of the blue, he found my bike blog. That’s where I discovered that he and his wife, Claire, are an extraordinary couple who have had adventures most of us have only dreamed about (in some cases, you might classify them as nightmares.) You can read about their world-wide meanderings all over the world by bicycle on their blog, The New Bohemians.

Bob happened to mention that they were traveling in their RV from Arizona to his 50th high school reunion in West Virginia and would love to see if Cape was anything like he’d been reading about. We arranged to get together, coincidentally on our wedding anniversary.

Anniversary celebrated with musical tribute

Bob and Claire cooked a wonderful supper, then Mother joined them in a musical tribute to us. Wife Lila recorded the action on her iPhone.

Stunned silence

Me, I just sat there in stunned silence, much like I did 43 years ago.

Lila was much more articulate. She said, “Old friends, old song, old married couple. Good times.”


20 Replies to “43 Years of Lila and Ken”

  1. Like my dad said when he heard me sing…”don’t give up your day job”.
    A wonderful story with singing, dancing and a great ending! Thanks for sharing! WOW and 43 years…Lila is a saint…

  2. Congratulations Ken and Lila. May you enjoy many, many more years together. Life goes on and life is good!

  3. Congratulations Ken and Lila. My husband, Phil and I were married 39 years ago on June 23. Phil has stated many times our wedding was the most nervous he has ever been. I take that as a point of pride, since he is a speed junky and has had many crashes, and near crashes with cars and motorcycles. On our wedding day he had to take the motorcycle around the farm and surrounding woods at full throttle to calm himself down.

  4. Congratulations to many years of wedded bliss. Ken and Lila, keep plugging along to #75. You can do it! LOL

  5. We’ve been so happy to get together with Ken and Lila and help them celebrate. There has been a lot of story telling and laughter. The big bonus has been getting to know Mary. She is a blast! She’s the youngest 90+ year old person I’ve ever met.

    Here’s hoping it won’t be another 43 years before we get together again.


  6. Happy anniversary Ken & Lila. My bride & I have almost 20 years of wedded bliss than you as our date is the 30th of July. Hang in there and enjoy your next 20.
    Joe & Margie Whitright

  7. I may be a day late with the Anniversary wishes, but they come straight from the heart. May you share many more June 23rd’s together.

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