Bonnie Shell's Life Stories

How did you decide to get married?

I was not anxious to get married young. I liked to travel, and I knew that we could not afford to travel extensively once I got married. So I dated a lot but did not meet "Mr. Right."

When I was thirty-five years old, I ran into a long-time friend and was surprised when he asked me on a date. He was a nice guy, and I knew his family. He asked me to marry him soon after we started to date, and I thought that if I wanted children, I should consider it. We were both from Polish families and were Catholic, so it seemed like a good match.

John had been married before, so we could not get married in the Church right away, so we got married in a civil ceremony and had our marriage blessed in the Church several years after John got an annulment.

John had four children from his first marriage, so I had an instant family. Unfortunately, his ex-wife was very difficult to get along with, and we did not get visitation with the children when we were supposed to. After five years of court visits and many canceled visitations, his ex wanted the children to be adopted by her third husband.

After one planned visit, we went with a police escort, and she slammed the door on the officer. John decided it was better for the children to accept his ex's demands and agree to the adoption.

Soon after, I got pregnant with our son Andrew. It was a joyous time. Of course, all marriages have their ups and downs. However, if you are truly committed and value your vows, you work hard to stay married. We have been married for forty-five years, and I am John's full-time caretaker.