Ahhh…To Be Young and Clueless…

Looking back on the early years of our marriage, it’s a wonder Mary and I, and our children, survived. As you will see, we were pretty clueless about things like money and life in general, but we got through it, with lots of help, and lots of mistakes along the way.

Mary and I got married relatively young; I had just turned 24 and Mary was 23.

We were both working full-time; I was at Prudential in their group insurance department (yes, feel free to yawn), and my wife was working as a receptionist/social worker/activities assistant at a nursing home (she was an early multi-tasker).

Eleven months after getting married, we had our first child.

Mary quit her job so that she could stay at home with our son, James, and about two weeks later, I quit my job to go back to school to get my PhD. As part of the PhD program, I was hired as a teaching assistant at a salary of $6,000 per year. (Fortunately, our rent was only $290 per month).

I am sure our parents thought we were crazy, but they were very supportive, in many ways.

I am sure we further confirmed their suspicions that we had no idea what we were doing when we decided to take a one-week vacation at the Jersey shore when our son was only two weeks old. But somehow the three of us survived the sun and ocean.

Another example of how clueless we were happened on a July 4th weekend. We thought it would be nice to pick up some sandwiches and go to a park for a picnic. Since we didn’t know the area we were living in at the time that well yet, we thought we would just drive around until we found a park that looked acceptable. It didn’t take us long to find a park that had a beautiful entrance, and we thought that the name of the park, the George Washington Memorial Park, seemed appropriate for the holiday.

As we began to drive through the park, we finally came to the realization that a Memorial Park is a fancy name for a cemetery. Needless to say, we quickly left and looked for another place to picnic. I can’t remember where we ended up, but there is a good chance we ended up back at our apartment.

I’ll share one more story that perhaps is more of a tribute to our immaturity than anything else.

I don’t why we had agreed to this, but one night we had a salesperson visit our apartment to try and sell burial plots to us. I think these people must read the birth announcements in the local paper, and figure that new parents are a good target demographic (and no, we do not have some strange obsession with cemeteries).

As we sat around our dining table and listened to this woman go on and on about the importance of early planning for a burial site, my wife and I kept telling her that we were both in good health and along with having no money, we didn’t think this was the right time for us to buy a burial plot. And then the woman went all in, bringing up the recent Tylenol poisoning scandal that had killed seven people, using the story to tell us that you never know when it will be your time. At this, my wife and I burst out laughing, and as much as we tried to control ourselves, could not get it under control. Within five minutes, the salesperson was gone, and I think she muttered something about our immaturity. Guilty as charged.

So as I said, it is somewhat of a miracle that we’ve made it to our sixties, given how naΓ―ve we were about so much.

But we certainly have had lots of fun along the way, have three wonderful boys, and have met lots of new friends over the years.

And somehow, we still don’t own a burial plot…



87 thoughts on “Ahhh…To Be Young and Clueless…

  1. Haha! Oh that poor saleslady! I know all too well about trying to control your laughter, and how the more you try to control it the more you keep laughing!
    Glad you all survived and had fun along the way, that’s what is important, right! πŸ™‚

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  2. Strictly from a financial perspective, I would make much different decisions if I knew then what I know now. But I wouldn’t have had all the crazy adventures I had, either. Maybe that’s the good thing about being young and clueless.

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    1. Yss, I could have saved a lot of money if I would have stayed living at home until I got married . Instead my friend Sherry and I got an apartment together and Ooooh the fun we had! Sometimes saving money just isn’t worth it. LOL!

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      1. Or Cream of Mushroom soup to pour on top. You don’t dilute the soup, just pour it out of the can, heat it up and pour it over the pancakes. πŸ™‚


      2. HaHa! It is good! The funny thing is that I thought it was a Pa. Dutch thing. I assumed that others did it too who had a Pa. Dutch background. Then in talking with my Mom and sister one day I brought it up and my Mom set the record straight. My Mom didn’t have syrup one night when making pancakes and so she decided to try Cream of Mushroom soup, making use of what was in the kitchen. LOL! We all liked it and we kept doing it. πŸ™‚

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the early years of your marriage, and much of it reminds me of my own early years. I think most of us were much the same and yet we survived! And the fun thing is that now we’re old enough to be wild & crazy again, and people will just smile, shake their heads, and chalk it up to senility!

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  4. I have to imagine the rate of return on young married couples purchasing their burial plots is a low percentage. I don’t know if there is a right age for something like that, but young people just starting out aren’t likely to spend money they don’t have on this.

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  5. Exploring cemetery is popula in my family though I don’t think we have had a picnic… I wonder how funeral plot lady got on in her career? My little brother got married a week after me – he was only 19 but is still happily married ( though they are not talking to most of their family!) My mother’s best advice was ‘If you waited till you could afford children you would never have them’ . So we had our first baby with no money and no mortgage, second baby in little flat and a motgage we could not afford, then third baby in our first house and still no money!

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  6. Some are young and foolish. Some are wise beyond their years. Some are good with money and some are not. Some have kids early, some wait (for something), and some never do. And somehow, no matter the path we chose, we all end up sitting in front of someone welling a burial plot.

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  7. how wonderful, and I love the laughing at the burial plot saleswoman the best. I also was married young and it was all trial and error, sadly, we outgrew each other over time, but I sure can indentify.

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      1. we had a 3-hour vacuum cleaner demo that i told my ex would be about 1/2 hour and i think we would get a free knife set after for listening. it was unbelievable.

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  8. Complete maturity is quite boring, while complete immaturity is dangerous. I think there is a perfect balance between the two, like the Yin and Yang, and seems like you guys found that. That was a good read πŸ™‚

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  9. Oh dear, that poor salesperson was probably scarred for life…haha…we too have no burial plot I am going up in a firework…and I am happy to say I will never mature and to my grandkids, I am probably wiser but also love to dance in the rain with them… who needs an umbrella?

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    1. I wonder if she found another job after that…

      and yes, except for a couple of adulting things, I don’t see much value in maturing…

      and your grandkids are lucky to have someone like you dancing in the rain with them, and then I am sure cooking them something tasty afterward…


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