Happy 20th Anniversary to Me (And Us)

There’s more to it than hair; but  . . . .

In 2003, Wendy Michener, a mid-life architecture student from Raleigh, joined the Board of Quaker House in Fayetteville NC. Soon she was Clerk of the House & Grounds Committee (there were no other volunteers).

As Director since early 2002, I had seen from early on that Quaker House had many needs for house repairs and renovations. After all, it was built in the 1920s, and was once home to an up-and-coming young lawyer named Terry Sanford (and was now part of Fayetteville’s “historic district.”

But I had been candid with the Board that– unlike several earlier Directors, who had done many repairs on their own–I was not a “handyman,” DIY type. Some matters could be ignored (and had been for years), but others could not: the roof leaked, and leaked more with each serious rainstorm. Pipes froze and flooded a semi-basement room. Old bricks were loose or crumbling. Et cetera.

Needs such as these brought Wendy to visit often, to poke around.

And over time we struck up many conversations, which, by the end of 2003 were on the edge of courting.

In November of 2003, the house  heating system failed, and it was cold. We sent out an urgent appeal, donations came in, and soon a new system was installed: Wendy spent much time managing the technical details.

However, on January 27, the night before the new system cranked up, one last gasp of the bunch of space heaters we had used in the interim set some wires smoldering in the attic.

The fire department came and saved us from any significant damage, but it was a close call, and exposed to city inspectors that much of the wiring in the house was of the 1920s, cloth-wrapped, highly inflammable vintage, and required immediate replacement. (Lots more renovations were to follow.)

few years ago . . .

After the shock of that near miss, Wendy stayed the night in the guest room; and the next morning, she reached out her hand . . .

And we have been an item since, after Fayetteville here in Durham. As of today (January 28, 2024) it’s twenty years and counting…

And yes, that rumor is true: I’ve been bringing her flowers the whole time.




12 thoughts on “Happy 20th Anniversary to Me (And Us)”

  1. Congratulations oh bearded one.
    My wife and I have been together nearly 24 years but have known each other for nearly 50 and had a Quaker wedding in London in 2015.
    From presently sunny Spain and East Cheshire AM England.

  2. So romantic!! Thank you for sharing. Wendy did such wonderful things for Quaker House. Her contributions were so valuable!
    Congratulations !!

  3. Wendy is a treasure and a gift. Happy for your continued support of one another and grateful for herservice to Quaker House. Hope to see many more pictures of flowers and golden hair!

  4. Congratulations to both of you, Chuck and Fair Wendy!

    Elizabeth and I met on January 3, 1987 and it was my first day on a new job. I was being walked through the new to me source code and in walked this vision of loveliness. She had long hair and wire-rimmed glasses, wearing a peasant blouse and a crinoline skirt, with a backpack with Sierra Club stickers all over it in one hand and a sewing machine sized portable computer in the other. It was a Hippie Geek Chick and I was in love.

    I took her to La Jolla Friends Meeting and she started to leak tears about halfway through meeting. She had been practicing TM since she was 18 and this seemed like the perfect fit.

    She moved in with me and my daughter Dawni in March. Dawni was almost 8 and I had sole custody of her since she was 9 months old. Elizabeth was the first person she ever called Mommy.

    We were married under the care of La Jolla Meeting on June 25, 1988. It’s been 36 years and we are still best friends and co-conspirators in matters of the spirit and social justice.

    I wish the same and more for you and Wendy.

  5. Aloha, Chuck!

    Congratulations! Many happy years ahead, I am sure. To be safe, though, keep those flowers coming in on a regular basis. Be on the look out for the first daffodils, then take home a big bunch of magic. Bye-bye winter! Hello, spring! Love in bloom — again!

    Kalei, and Ted, too!

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