Good morning, Everyone. I hope your day is splendid. I am posting something today, not to get personal wishes. Today, I am posting just to wish my husband, Phil Cooper, Happy Anniversary. We started our marriage off with many road blocks and detours. Three months after our marriage, I watched him board a plane from Charleston to Fort Dix and then to Viet Nam. Over the years, we’ve had other storms and battles, but we have always walked tall and survived. Today, is our anniversary. I will not share how many years. Just know, I was a teenage bride. Everyone in my family said our marriage would not last. They said I must be pregnant. His family said I married him for his money? Were both families wrong! If I was pregnant at the time of our marriage, I do believe it was the longest pregnancy in history — three years, to be exact.
Isn’t it strange how cruel and vindictive some families can be! Instead of wishing us well, they criticized. Instead of taking the time to really get to know me as a wife, his mother said I ‘stole her son.’ Stole her son??? Excuse me. IF anyone stole her son, it was the United States Army!
As you know, I am a singer. My dream in life was to become a professional singer, but I lacked the confidence that I could REALLY sing, until we started going to karaoke. Repeatedly, I have people tell me I have an amazing voice and stage presence. Many times, I blink my eyes, almost in disbelief. If only I had that confidence and encouragement in my younger years.
There is a song I sing occasionally, especially when my lady friends request it. This song holds a piece of my heart. What is the song title, you say? ‘YOU DON’T OWN ME!’
“You don’t own me. Don’t try to change me in any way. You don’t own me. Don’t tie my down cause I’ll never stay…”
So symbolic to me! Why? I got married at a time where many women automatically took the name of their husband, and so I became: Mrs. Phillip R. Cooper. ?? I remember asking myself why I must address myself as Mrs. PRC. Didn’t I STILL have a name? Whatever happened to me and my maiden name? I did not like to address myself as “Mrs. Cooper.” I wanted to have my name. My independence. Just because I got married does not mean I stopped existing! All of the letters Phil wrote to me in Viet Nam were addressed to Mrs. Phillip R. Cooper. Gee. I thought I STILL had a name!
So much for my existence! Now, I address myself as Barbie Perkins-Cooper. It tickles me when others address Phil as “Mr. Perkins-Cooper!”
Maybe now he can understand how I feel! I like having my independence. Just because I married does not mean I must toss away who I am!
Today, I wish Phil and I a great anniversary. Over the years, we’ve had our share of issues. I admit, I am a most independent woman and I do not like being told what to do. What woman does? I admit, when we were newlyweds, I allowed him to dictate what to do, how to do it…How to dress…How to wear my hair…etc. ETC! In the 1980’s I finally stood up and spoke and when I did — I truly became the woman I’ve wanted to be. So
today, I will reminisce about our relationship, thankful we have worked so hard to keep our marriage intact. Tonight, we will celebrate at karaoke. I always say to others, “Marriage is truly a work-in-progress!’ And so, I will continue working. Happy Anniversary to Phil. I’ll not say how many years, but I will say — “We’ve been married forever!”
Your question to me on this night when I sing could be — “Will you sing “You Don’t Own Me.”
Maybe I will. And if I do, I probably have my stage performance ready! Just wait and see.
“You don’t own me….Don’t try to change me in any way. You don’t own me…Don’t tie me down cause I’ll never stay…”
Happy Anniversary, Phil. Thank you for all you’ve done over the years to show me I am worthy and deserving of love, and thank you for sticking it out with me, especially when I fought to rediscover my independence.