Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tooting a Golden Horn

I have noticed in the national press that the temporary suspension of a newspaper column is generally announced with the chaste editorial note that “Benjamin Blogger is on vacation.”  But what if the editor was on vacation too?

            On the second of June in the year of grace one thousand, nine hundred, and sixty-two, in the Lady Chapel of Trinity Church in Princeton, New Jersey, your bloguiste married Joan Elizabeth Newman.  Though even at the time it seemed a momentous event, I realize in retrospect that I had but the vaguest idea of just how momentous.  To be sure we have been a little casual about celebrating our anniversaries.  On more than one occasion, if truth must out, we both forgot the date altogether.  We forgive ourselves according to the possibly spurious principle that it is more important to live life than to memorialize it.  But things got better before too long, as our children reached the age of sentience and began reminding us out of self-imposed filial duty.

            A fiftieth wedding anniversary, however, is an event of sufficient solemnity to command our undivided attention.  We decided some time ago that we would celebrate it by making it the occasion of a trip to some attractive place we had never been but always wanted to go.  We swiftly agreed on the most desirable venue.  On Friday Joan and I are flying to Istanbul.  We shall spend the better part of three weeks in Turkey, visiting especially classical and early Christian archaeological sites, but allowing for plenty of time simply to wander about the countryside—and the cityscape of Constantine’s ancient capital, now a treasury of beautiful Ottoman mosques.           

            We are hoping to travel light.  In particular this is not the kind of journey likely to be enhanced by schlepping around my customary impedimenta: a pile of ungraded papers, proofsheets, manuscripts edited or unedited, or even the most portable of portable computers.  So in its continuing pursuit of a more perfect union, “Gladly Lerne, Gladly Teche” grants its readers a temporary remission until the first week of June, when bloguiste and editor may very well return to take up a fifty-first year of collaboration.

"The Golden Horn" by Alice Schille (1869–1955).


  1. Bon voyage and happy anniversary!

  2. Congratulations on your 50th!

    Coincidentally I just returned from a trip that included Istanbul and Kusadai (jumping off point for a visit to fascinating Ephesus). I LOVE Istanbul, except for the overly aggressive sales folk who try to drag you into their stores and the especially overly aggressive rug salesmen. But the Blue Mosque, the Cisterns, Hagia Sophia and all are worth it! Enjoy!!

  3. Joan and John,

    Felicitations on this most happy anniversary, and also on the way you are marking it. Please let us know when you return, so that we can hear all about your adventures.

    Will Howarth & Anne Matthews

  4. Congratulations on your anniversary.

    If I were going to Turkey, what I'd most want to see is Gobekli Tepe:

    Melinda Varian

  5. Dear Joan and John, Thank you for allowing us to be pleased by announcing your plans for the fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. We have never been to Turkey but have only been married 39 years so there is still time. We hope to learn from you. Enjoy one another. Sally and George Moxley Richmond, VA