Happy 81st Anniversary
On their twentieth wedding anniversary, July 29, 1949, my parents went all out to celebrate the occasion. As columnist Virginia Safford wrote in the Minneapolis Star, "In this day when we're constantly hearing of unsuccessful marriages in the drama, movie and music world, it is pleasant to think about the Meltons. They really believe in romance, and are sentimental about birthdays, anniversaries and trips together."
The party guests included friends from 1929 through 1949.
The invitation was made up of song titles as follows:
Words by Marjorie Melton Music by James Melton
A WANDERING MINSTREL
AT A GEORGIA CAMP MEETING
(in) BEAUTIFUL OHIO
LONG, LONG AGO
THERE'S GONNA BE A GREAT DAY
MEET THE MISSUS
IN THE GLOAMING
DOWN ON THE FARM
The party had a Polynesian theme, and was held on the lawn of our rose garden in Weston. There was a Hawaiian band to entertain during the sit-down dinner for fifty. Pink tablecloths and dark blue candles carried the dramatic color scheme set by masses of pink roses and blue delphinium decorating the terrace. Lowell Thomas arrived a bit late, having broadcast his 6:45 radio program that evening from the Melton Museum. After all the guests had arrived, my father quietly left the assemblage in the garden and went up to the balcony outside his bedroom overlooking the garden. From there he sang my mother's favorite song, "Because," and then tossed a Tiffany box down to her, commenting that it was her "service stripes." Inside was a gold bracelet with a large round pendant. On one side was her monogram, on the other side was engraved "Property of James Melton."
It must have seemed to him that the world was "Property of James Melton" too. He'd achieved the musical goals he'd set for himself, he had a family who loved him, he had the money to pursue an expensive hobby, he had the material possessions for an extremely comfortable lifestyle. Once, early in his career, he said in an interview that even if he had the financial wherewithal not to have to work, he would choose to work anyway, because he loved what he did. I wonder if that still held true as he passed middle age. The responsibilities that accompanied all he possessed were enormous. In his own mind, it would seem, he felt that his energy, enthusiasm and talent were equally enormous, and certainly up to the task of maintaining those responsibilities.