Thursday, 17 October 2013

For 25 silver years Julie has stood by my side.

The love laden ramblings of an old curmudgeon.

It was 29 years ago when I first met my wife. Her name is Julie (I called her Jose the first time I met her), I am such a lucky man that fate caused our paths to cross.
Love can not be quantified, it either is or it isn’t, and safe to say they day I met her I knew I loved her. To this very day, I still love her to the full. Throughout our time Julie has always been there by my side.

Julie has put up with an awful lot of nonsense from me over the years. Some things I am not proud of, but none that I would change.  I believe they are the sand and cement of life that kept us so together. To be fair, I have had to put up with nothing from Julie. My dear wife Julie has always been as straight as a die with me, it makes me feel humble. We became the proud parents of a son (Carl) some 28 years ago. Julie was barely 16 and I was coming 17 when he arrived into our na├»ve young lives. We were given a council flat in Brownhills not 500 meters from where we first met (we still live and always have lived within 500 meters of that spot). With help from our parents we made a home of it. My mom and dad only lived 300 meters from the flat, they were a tremendous help to us throughout our early years together and still are now. On the 13th February 1988 we moved into our current house, only 200 meters from the flat we lived in. On that very day we took delivery of our second son Simon. Both Carl and Simon have grown into outstanding individuals, thanks  to the hard work put in by their mom. Through all of this, she stood by my side.

25 years ago we tied the knot, or more accurately left Walsall registry office as a married couple. Times were hard; I was working for peanuts, running building sites for my uncle. I believe this is what helped me get to where I am today, as a manager over £7 million of work (yes I have become a responsible adult). We barely had enough money to buy a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream for the reception which was held in our lounge. Julie wore my mom’s old wedding dress and could not have looked more beautiful. I wore a cheap suit purchased from Top Man in Walsall. Only a handful of relatives were present as there was not enough room in our tiny house.
We worked hard to make ends meet; Julie however carried the burden of raising the family while I continued with my slightly wild ways. Boxing, Rugby, football and the TA were some of the more memorable distractions I had. Through all of this Julie stood by my side.

21 years ago our family was complete. Darren a bouncing boy came along on the 25th November 1992. We were by now a little better off, with me pulling in a half decent wage. It was nothing spectacular, but kept our heads above water. Julie has almost always dealt with our finances (in the few times I have been left in control I have literally pissed it up the wall). Julie is a complete and utter genius when it comes to domestic finances. I was still playing Rugby (the love of my sporting life), coming home all beat up and drunk on a Saturday night. I was a total and utter cad sometimes!
I would also go out on the lash with my workmates, while Julie dutifully stayed at home. I was made to pay for all of the wildness when I contracted a disease called sarcoidosis, which set us all back, I was only 27; it also ended my sporting days, well temporarily anyway. We have and still do live from month to month with our finances, but I am proud to say we have never been in debt (other than mortgage).  Through all of this she stood by my side.

In the year 2000, we made the decision to purchase our council house (thanks Maggie Thatcher). We were by no means well off, but both of us were working. We got a mortgage, which scared the life out of me. Julie however was as strong as ever and as proud as punch, she quickly set about steering me into many home improvements. In 1999, we had taken the momentous decision to end my career as a ground worker. I was very upset with where my working life was heading,  Julie could sense it as well. As usual she backed me up 100% and I took up an opportunity with a central heating firm as a builder. The kids were growing up fast; in fact Carl was soon to be working with one of my colleagues as an apprentice gas fitter. The money was starting to come in a little quicker now and we were able to treat the kids to gifts and the like that had previously been out of our reach. Julie always has and always will put the kids first. We went without if things got tight, but the kids would not. Neither of us are ones for going on glamorous nights out, or any form of partying for that matter. A Chinese curry and a bottle of cheap fizz was a meal fit for princess as far as we were concerned. I was still capable of letting myself down occasionally and becoming a drunken slob. Through all of this Julie stood by my side.

By 2011, all of the boys were in work with Carl and Simon being employed by Npower alongside me. Both are extremely competent, and confident in what they do. Carl has brought us two wonderful grandchildren. Darren has sorted his career path out and is now a maintenance engineer in a factory not far away from home and doing very well. Julie is a postmistress, which I love announcing to everyone who asks me. Prior to that she worked at Greggs bakery and back further she was a school cook. Needless to say she is an example of how an employee should conduct themselves. I can’t remember her ever having a day off for illness. I am now a contracts manager for Npower, with some far less adrenalin fuelled past times. The most dangerous thing I do is metal detecting on uneven fields. We now have upon us our Silver wedding anniversary…..bloody silver wedding anniversary, I can’t believe it! Julie is as ever my rock and my soul mate. This brings me to the end of my eulogising over our life so far…because guess what? You got it; Julie is here stood by my side asking “what are you doing”?

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