Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, today, June 30, is the 43rd wedding anniversary for my high school sweetheart Joyce and me.
In 1961, we first met and started going together at Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kan. We were both super nerds. I was a senior and student council president. She was a shy girl who slew me with her beauty, and with her purity of passion, purpose and honesty. But love equalized even though while she has been an angel of a wife, I, sometimes, have been a devil of a husband.
We have three daughters: Nicole Chapman, Noelle Banks and Natasha Banks. Three of our other children, including twin boys, died at birth. We have five grandchildren: Lauren, David, Timothy and Nina Chapman, and Caleb Emanuel Banks. We were blessed all these years to be a hard-working, two-parent household. I was rigidly old-school in the way I raise my daughter. My goals was to make sure they each got a college degree before they either got pregnant or married.
Joyce worked 40 years before retiring last year. I've worked for 46 years, mostly as a newspaper reporter, and hope to retire this year after getting a new heart. God blessed Joyce and me to bring that to pass. Joyce and I got married June 30, 1968 in the house in KCK's Quindaro community, where her mother, Mrs. Emma Wooten, 88, still lives. I am also old-school in love. I believe in love. I believe that true love covers a multitude of faults.
Nothing makes me madder than seeing a man mistreat a woman who loves him. So he exploits her love to beat, cheat and mistreat her. I pray that my younger daughters, Noelle and Natasha, find the kind of strong Christian husband that Nicole has found in Larry. I have incredible love and respect for Noelle, a single mother and a near spotless Christian. She sings like an angel and now she's studying to become one of God's ministers. I have felt God's calling on her for years. Her devotion to God puts most of us to shame. And Caleb? She loves her son and he loves his mother dearly.
In my marriage with Joyce, I have placed primary emphasis on our love for God, love for each other, love for our family and the enjoyment of thrilling, exhilarating, unforgettable experiences. I prize wonderful, happy experiences over material things. We can always enjoy our wonderful vacations in Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Las Vegas, Paris, London (she really loves London), Honolulu, Maui and Kauai Hawaii, Cancun (Mexico), Munich (Germany), Salzburg (Austria), Estes Park, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Fla., and Palm Springs, Calif., Washington, D.C., New York and Amsterdam.