Vintage Valentine postcard
Vintage Valentine postcardvia Dave

Ahh that special day of the year is coming again. It starts with a V, has eight other letters and you have a deadline of 24 hours for some (oh so) sincere love and romance and doing sweet (or spicy) things for your loved one(s), because well…that commercial tells you to. Cook a nice dinner, because love goes through the stomach. You can also have dinner in a nice restaurant like 80 percent of all the other couples on this day. Make sure that you buy her a red rose and chocolate like every other lady on this day.  You can buy him…ehhh…beer. Yes, beer for him is always a good idea and once again incredible original. In Holland there is a special Valentine promotion related to Valentine postcards: send a free postcard with a trace of red lips in the stamp area. Men: if you do this, some eyebrows will rise so you should have some guts or…maybe it’s better for you to just buy a stamp.

You can also just write a romantic anonymous letter. But wait. Who writes a letter these days? (Well, I do. But who else?). Let me rephrase that last sentence according to 2015 standards: Write a romantic WhatsApp message. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally select the wrong person when you send it. Besides this, you can always swipe to the right with love. So many options and only 24 hours in a day.

 Last year, I showed you how a laugh every (Valentines) day keeps the nagging away. And I was serious about that. Humor is key to all positive vibes. Throughout the year, not just on one day. It will keep the playful flame alive and it will definitely work on your abs. So it even counts as an exercise.

But wait. I am not done yet. Enough hints of sarcasm for today. I do have a good bedtime story for you today:

It all started more than 60 years ago with a man. He was an actor. A very good actor. In 1953 he met a woman during the filming of a Broadway production. He liked her. She was intrigued by him. But at the same time she had her doubts. She was wondering if this man wasn’t kinda dull for her. He was a little shy and also a bit conservative. She on the other hand, was more of the modern, independent woman kind. After this Broadway production they didn’t work together for a few years. They did remain good friends though. It took a while for them to discover, that some differences at first glance can become assets at second glance. There was one teeny, tiny problem. His wife. He got married to her at a very early age. However, during their marriage they drifted apart. He was falling for that other woman, so he had to make a decision. It wasn’t easy and he would carry his guilt about his failed marriage for the rest of his life, but he did what he had to do. He divorced his wife.

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In 1957, he made a movie with the intriguing modern, independent woman. They became quite fond of each other. In fact, this is when there love affair officially began. They got married in 1958, five years after their first encounter. They got married in Las Vegas. (Vivaaaa las Vegas…did that Elvis song also just pop into your head?). Despite of the (nowadays) wild image of Vegas weddings, this was a small and intimate wedding. As a wedding gift he gave her a cup with the following inscription: “So you wound up with Apollo/ If he’s sometimes hard to swallow/Use this”. (See, I told you that humor is key). They went to London on their honeymoon. But we all know that the real marriage starts after the honeymoon.

So it started.

And it lasted…

And lasted…

And lasted for 50 years.

So did they live happily ever after? Well, yes. With an important side note. Like everyone else they celebrated joy and success both in their personal life and professional career. Then again, they also had their share of grief and strain on their marriage. During their golden marriage they made several movies together, including a few movies which starred her and were directed by him. Especially working together caused strain on their marriage. Besides that, he lost his son in 1978 due to alcohol and drug overdose.

Names and faces of this real life story: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Old Hollywood stars and married for 50 years until Newman’s death in 2008. They had three daughters together. He had two children from his previous marriage. They were often asked what the secret was of their long, successful and happy marriage. The answer and secret can’t be described in one sentence. But the following quotes speak for themself:

 Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward 1950s

Paul about their marriage:

correct amounts of lust and respect.” “. . . because of great impatience tempered by patience. When you have been together this long, sometimes you drive each other nuts, but underneath that is some core of affection and respect.

“I’ve repeatedly said that for people who have as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors. We make pictures and that’s about all we have in common. Maybe that’s enough. Wives shouldn’t feel obligated to accompany their husbands to a ball game, husbands do look a bit silly attending morning coffee breaks with the neighborhood wives when most men are out at work. Husbands and wives should have separate interests, cultivate different sets of friends and not impose on the other … You can’t spend a lifetime breathing down each other’s necks … We are very, very different people and yet somehow we fed off those varied differences and instead of separating us, it has made the whole bond a lot stronger.”

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Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman Las Vegas wedding 1958

People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.”

“I don’t like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?”

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman

“Joanne has always given me unconditional support in all my choices and endeavors, and that includes my race car driving, which she deplores.  To me, that’s love.”

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newmanvia Kristine

Joanne about their marriage:

“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.”

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newmanvia Kristine

“Paul and I were good friends before we were lovers. We really liked each other. We could talk to each other, we could tell each other anything without fear of ridicule or rejection. There was trust.”

Liev Schreiber about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward:

“I worked with [Paul Newman] on the movie Twilight (1998).  When Joanne Woodward came on set, he put his arm around my shoulder and said to me, ‘Will you look at the ass on her?’ That really struck me as an ideal relationship.  I love the idea that a guy approaching 80 still loved his wife’s ass.”

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward 90svia Kate Gabrielle

Bottom line here:
This is not just a love story. This is a real life story which began on an ordinary day and lasted over 50 years. Which is quite extraordinary, Hollywood or no Hollywood. As you can see, I didn’t post this blogpost on the 14th of February. Why? Because any ordinary day can be made special. Even if it’s on the 12th of February. Cherish those ordinary days because one day they will end up in extraordinary stories.

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