Maggie and Dick toast to their marriage.

Maggie and Dick

....of jump shots, Vietnam, babies, cross-country moves, thirty years of marriage, cancer...

More than once people have asked me, "How can your parents be married to each other? They are so different - even opposites!' Of this, there can be no doubt - at least on a superficial level. While my father is a button-down Brooks Brothers Harvard-educated lawyer, my mom is a politically and spiritually aware woman with strong feminist and humanist views. Yet these differences serve to mask the deeper affinities that those close to them understand. Let me explain in a brief (and very incomplete) story of their lives together:

       Maggie Gibbons and Dick Geib were first introduced to each other by their parents on Thanksgiving Day of 1962 in Piedmont, California (near Oakland). At the time my grandmothers were friends and both were eager that their children should meet and get to know each other. My father was in his second year of law school while my mother was a junior at Holy Names College working at a youth recreation center in the afternoons. "I don't think I could have married a woman who was not an athlete," my father recalls, obviously impressed by this young woman who could make a jump shot and even beat him in pool. At the beginning, my father would just make casual visits to the recreation center to shoot baskets with my mom.

       My dad was much quicker to get serious about things than was my mother. Catherine Gibbons was very impressed by my father and made these feelings known to her daughter. This, of course, led her to resist the thing in an effort to be independent of her mother. This involvement of the two families at times would complicate and make difficult the relationship between my parents. And at the time, both my parents were living at home.

       Still, they continued to date as my father graduated from Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley) Law School in 1964. This year was to be a difficult one for their courtship. First, my mom traveled up to Washington to visit my dad during Christmas and they spent a horrible weekend in the cold and rain suffering in my father's old Mercury whose heater had long since died. They did not get along well at all and my mom left early to return to the Bay Area. "The thing [relationship] was looking pretty much dead in the water at the time," commented my mother.

      However, my dad later sent my mom a warm birthday letter in March of 1965 and they again started talking by phone and writing to each other. My dad now recounts his once a week phone calls made on the public phone located in the officers' barracks as a special thing. Finally, around midnight on a spring evening in mid-May of 1965, my father asked my mother to marry him at a cottage on Lake St. Clair near Olympia, Washington. My mother - who had been waiting for him to ask her - was more than willing to say "yes." They were happily married at Corpus Christi Church in Piedmont, California on September 11, 1965. My father was 26 years old and my mom 24. My father claims the months leading up to that day were among the happiest of his life.

      Yet no sooner had they moved into officers' quarters at Fort Lewis, Washington than my parents were given stunning news. Approximately one month after they were married my father received his orders for Vietnam and two months later he was gone to war. Not surprisingly, this was a stressful year for both my parents. My mother moved back home with her parents as a married woman and found work as a teacher. And so while my father dealt with living in the Central Highlands of Vietnam my mom lived an anxious existence back in the United States. There was a lot of anger in the air with the discontent over the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, reforms and calls for reform in the Catholic Church, unrest and rioting in major U.S. cities, etc. All this coupled with the fear for the physical safety of my father made for a trying year for my mother. One time an officer friend of my father fresh back from Vietnam made a courtesy visit to my mom. Upon opening the door and seeing a soldier in dress uniform, she immediately slammed shut the door, thinking that he was there to give her the bad news about her husband. As evidenced by this (in retrospect) comic incident, my mom was on edge. My parents wrote to each other almost every day my father was in Vietnam and looked forward to becoming reacquainted after a year of separation. My father returned safe and sound from Vietnam in August of 1966.

      Happy to be reunited again, my father's return from war offered new challenges for my parents. He was hurt and angry by the reception he got from many of his friends and acquaintances - if not from his country. For example, some of his previous law school friends now shunned him because of his service in Vietnam. To this day, my father will not go see a Jane Fonda movie as he sees her and others of her ilk as naive and disloyal to their country. This feeling still resonates strongly in him thirty years later. Yet my parents were insulated to a degree from much of the turbulence of the times. I (the firstborn) was born almost exactly nine months to a day after my father's homecoming from Vietnam and my brother quickly followed. They were starting a family and had neither the time nor the luxury to get deeply involved in politics or social issues. My father was trying to get his legal career off the ground and my mom was a full-time mother of two small babies. Furthermore, they were living in a small apartment only a short distance from their in-laws and this was putting additional stress on the relationship.

      But then my father landed his first prestigious job as an attorney for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the family moved there in August of 1970. At first, my mom was not thrilled to move away from all her family and friends in sunny California to the unknown bitter cold of Milwaukee. Still, both my parents claim that was just what their marriage needed at the time. "Moving to Milwaukee got us away from all the family frictions and pressures and allowed us to have our own identity as a family - ragged around the edges but young, vital and loving." he says. My mom agrees that this was a flowering time for their marriage. "Our marriage - and our lives in general - offer us infinite possibilities for renewal," claims my mother, "and this has been one of the keys to our relationship having been successful." My parents tell me that they have actually been married five times, each time to the same person. Upon celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary a couple of years ago, my mom announced tongue in cheek that they were going to get divorced and "live in sin." And in September of 1995, on a magical evening in balmy Ojai, California, I was able to celebrate my parents thirtieth wedding anniversary with them. It was only three weeks later that my mom was diagnosed with Stage-4 lung cancer.

       My mother died after a year long struggle with lung cancer on October 31, 1996.

"Counting the Heartbeats Together"
by Robert Graves

"Anniversary Poem"
by Dick Geib

In honor of Maggie and Dick Geib, loving wife and husband for thirty years.

Other Maggie and Dick photos...

Maggie and Dick hang with the group on their first date in 1962. (20.8kb)

Maggie and Dick enjoying the moment a little more privately later that same night. (13.8kb)

Maggie and Dick cutting the wedding cake as the community watches and gives their blessing to the union. (35.8kb)

Excited Maggie and Dick with new a baby jumping into the world of parenting in 1967 with ME! (52.2kb)

Maggie and Dick enjoy their presents next to Chirstmas tree. (38.6kb)

Maggie kisses Dick after a head massage. (37.5kb)

Maggie and Dick together after 25 years of marriage in 1990. (55.4kb)

Maggie and Dick together after 25 years of marriage in 1990. (55.4kb)

Maggie and Dick in a picture neither liked - we look too old in that one! Well, a pro took this shot and it is in color. If the shoe fits... (12.4kb)

Maggie and Dick cuddle next to the fireplace. (26.6kb)

Maggie and Dick fight cancer together in 1995. (13.6kb)

Maggie and Dick at Hoag Hospital during chemotherapy treatments in 1996. (25.6kb)

The Geib Siblings
Tom, Katie, and Richard

Other Geib sibling photos...

Tom, Richard, and newcomer Katie pose in 1971. (10.7kb)

The siblings taking a bath together in 1972 in Milwaukee, Wisconcin. (66.7kb)

The siblings as obnoxious pre-teens in approximately 1980. (22.4kb)

The siblings as adults starting our own lives in the early 1990's. (22.4kb)