54-year-old bachelor marries a woman who had given up on dating
By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50
Note from Tom: This article was published August 29, 2008
What do a 54-year-old bachelor who's never married, a beautiful cancer survivor, and the publisher of this newsletter have in common? They were the three key parties in a wedding ceremony last Saturday night.
Yup, I swapped my columnist title for a new title: Orange County Calif. Deputy Marriage Commissioner. I married Phil and Laurie at a ceremony in the historic mission city of San Juan Capistrano, California.
This June, when Laurie and Phil asked me to marry them, I was surprised and honored. "How would that be possible? I've never married anybody and besides, I'm not a man of the cloth nor am I ordained," I said.
They said they wanted someone who knew them to marry them, that it would be more meaningful and personal. Laurie had done research and found out that Orange County will issue a "Deputy Marriage Commissioner" permit pending the County's approval of submitted paperwork. Although the permit is for only one wedding on a specific day, it's a serious matter, I was sworn in to uphold the Constitutions of California and Orange County.
I met Laurie, a real estate loan broker, eight years ago. In 2003, she confided in me that she was going through a painful divorce; she declared a moratorium on dating for "at least a year."
At a party later that year, she met Phil, now 54, one of Orange County's most eligible bachelors, who had never been married. They talked for a half hour. Phil said, "I thought she was gorgeous and sophisticated."
In their first email, Phil told Laurie she reminded him of Ursula Andress.
"That's a new one, never heard that before," Laurie emailed back.
Phil also said, "You missed your calling as a Breck hair commercial model."
"Flattery will get you everywhere," Laurie responded.
They discovered they shared a passion for dance music and 70's-80's music.
Laurie's self-proclaimed one-year dating moratorium ended after only a few months. Isn't that the way it goes? We meet someone when we are relaxed, not looking, and least expecting it.
But her new-found bliss took a tough turn at the end of 2003 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I told Phil that it might be better to not see each other. I didn't want him to feel obligated to stick around. I also was not looking forward to having anyone-especially him-see me sick, bald and at my worst. I tried to push him away but he would not budge," Laurie said.
"Although he had a beautiful home in Laguna Beach with gorgeous, ocean views from nearly every room, he moved in with me in my little apartment. He went home periodically to check his mail and make sure his cat was ok. I didn't realize he had moved in to my place until he started complaining that he needed more drawer and closet space!" They tackled the cancer as a team.
Three years ago, they purchased a home together. When a neighbor couple found out that Laurie and Phil were getting married, the couple offered their estate as a location for the wedding and dinner afterward.
Phil,Tom and Laurie
Saturday night, I married Laurie and Phil before 150 guests in the most stunning wedding setting I've ever seen-the back yard of the neighbors' private, breathtaking estate. Upon entering the home, the original artwork, painted ceilings, statues, and polished marble reminded me of a recent visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
In keeping with their shared love of music, one of their favorite groups from the 70's and 80's, their friends Alan Parsons, of the Alan Parsons Project--a popular, progressive, British rock band--and his wife Lisa, were among the guests. A disc jockey included Parsons' hits Sirius and Eye in the Sky in the play list.
I had read that Alan had helped produce two Beatles albums, which I asked him about. He said he had been an assistant engineer, not an assistant producer, on the Abbey Road and Let It Be albums. "Had I been an assistant producer, I'd be a very rich man," Parsons said with a grin.
In a toast, Phil said, “When you meet the right person, whether at age 15 or 54, you know it’s the right person.”
For Phil, getting married for the first time at age 54 was worth the wait. He smiled and said, “Laurie is that right person.”
So, when you meet someone who has never married, don't write him or her off. That confirmed single just might be waiting for the perfect person, and you might be the one.
Responses to Laurie and Phil wedding article
June, "Thank YOU for a beautiful love story; meeting THE one is difficult but not impossible, so there's hope for the rest of us. Really appreciate your efforts in sharing your experiences and readers' comments."
Celia, "I was glad to read that Phil had stuck by her side thourgh a rough time. I met Bob through your column in 2004. We had both lost our mates the year before. He was 80 and I had no desire to marry again.
"Now I have been told I do not have a lot of time left and did not want Bob to go through the pain of losing me. Especially not watch me on oxygen 24/7 and not be able to get out much.
"He has chosen to keep seeing me and help what he can--taking me on errands etc. I have no one close here to help. So many men leave at the first sign of illness. Phil seems to be one that will stay through thick and thin--for better or for worse .
"What a thrill that must have been for you to marry them--and in such a beautiful setting! Enjoy your life!"