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Happy 50th Birthday Stephie
Most of you have heard
My poems before
But you've never heard one
About the woman I adore.
I've written about friends
Both casual and close
I've made fun about their youth
And ended with a toast.
But how can I be humorous
And still avoid strife
When I write a poem
About my very own wife?
All couples have secrets
And I might let one slip
So I've been subjected
To severe censorship.
But don't think a real bland poem
Is what you have in store
Cause I tore up those verses
And just wrote some more.
So you, dear Stephie,
Just sit back and relax
These verses could be filled with
Love notes or embarrassing facts.
Most of your friends here
Have known you for years
And have shared many joys
As well as some tears.
You're a quite open person
They know some of your history
But there may be some dark corners
Which still are a mystery.
There are things about your adolescence
I'm sure they'd like to know
Like "who were the fellows that you dated?",
And "How far did you go?"
But the place to begin is the beginning
That really is no joke
And you were born in Pittsburgh
To Diane and Mayer Wolk.
As the oldest child in the family
You started out a loner
But when you were three years old
Along came your sister Rona.
You started dating in high school
And did nothing which caused regrets
You played some golf and tennis
and were President of Councilettes!
But you were interested in more than that
It's very plain to see
And you went off to Michigan
To get your M.R.S. degree!
And there in Ann Arbor town
You met this Alabama Boy
Who has brought you so much tsuris
While you brought him such joy.
We met thirty one years ago next week,
In September of '56
I was a horny college guy
With the usual set of tricks.
You were a nice Jewish girl from Pittsburgh
The kind my mother wanted me to date
I was looking for a good time
And you were looking for a mate.
Well, Stephie had those urges then
But her training - it did stop her
As in "No, no, John, don't touch me there -
It really isn't proper!"
That was all many years ago
We were hardly more than kids
And the battle kept on raging
Between our superegos and our ids.
Our courtship had its ups and downs
But things they worked out fine
And you and I were married
In September of '59.
You said "There are two constants in my life
Two things to which I'm true
And one of them is Social Work
And one of them is you"
You can understand why I was nervous
Why I almost went beserk
When two months after we were married
You gave up Social Work!
Then you went to work at Harvard
Though it wasn't what you wanted to do
And you got your P.H.T. degree
(That stands for "Putting Hubby Through").
That first great year we were married
We were finally on our own
Playing house in Boston
A long long way from home.
And on our first anniversary
We were such a practical lot
You gave me a Stanley hammer
And I gave you a Wearever pot.
We were back in Birmingham then
But the truth we had to face
No matter how hard we tried
It really wasn't our place.
It's hard to stay in Alabamy
When California calls
And we moved out to Berkeley
And its ivy covered halls.
It was time to start a family
We thought having kids would be such fun
And in early '64
you gave me my first son.
When you were pregnant I thought I was supportive
But you said that was a lot of crap
And your labor took so goddamn long
I went home to take a nap!
"Lets have another kid real soon" I said
For a playmate he sure must need
Oh, that chapter about sibling rivalry
Is one I did not read!
Our next was sort of impatient
He said "Life had a certain lure-
I'm not waiting around in here"
And he was thirteen weeks premature!
When we were young and courting
We talked about having four
But after Dave and Douglas
We decided not to have any more!
But we've raised them from babies to young men
I really don't know how
But now that we've finally done it
I think they should take a bow!
Steph, your role as a mother is less now
Yours is a different quest
And when we can kick them out of the house
You enjoy that empty nest!
Sweetie, when I think how long we've been married
It's been over half of my life
And I feel very blessed and honored
That you chose to become my wife.
I love you very much
You know that is no lie
But if this poem gets real mushy
I'm afraid that I'll start to cry.
And now that that you've reached fifty
Don't be brokenhearted
They good times are all ahead of us
The fun has only started!