Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 30, 2000 · Page 24
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 24

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 30, 2000
Page 24
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COVER STORY C ontributing Editors Cokie and Steve Roberts have reported for USA WEEKEND magazine on topics as diverse as hidden hunger in America and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright But in March 1997, they took a personal turn by writing movingly about their interfaith marriage — she's Catholic, he's Jewish—in an open letter to their grown children, Lee and Becca. Readers reacted to the Rob- ertses' message of cooperation with admiring letters and phone calls, inspiring the couple to write their new book on marriage, From This Day Forward. In this excerpt, told in their trademark back-and- forth style, the Robertses reflect on both their 33-year union and the young marriages of their children. "Their primary responsibility was now to someone else, not us," they write. "When Becca or Lee arrived safely somewhere, they called their spouses, not their parents. That's what life is about: letting go. Our travels as a couple still have a long way to go, and now our children have started on their own journeys." Cokie: At this stage of life, with the children grown and gone, think how sad it would be not to have each other. We're still able to look at each other in the morning and say, "Gee, I'm glad you're here." Steve: Or at least most mornings! Let's not get too sappy here. Cokie: Fair enough. Most mornings. I think'the word is "devotion." There's a special level of affection that is based on longevity, on knowing each other well over a period of time and going through many things together, happy and sad. Steve: I think of the day my dad died. Cokie was supporting my mother as we walked down the corridor in the hospital to see my father for the last time. Those moments are as meaningful as walking a daughter down the aisle to be married. There is a great joy in familiarity, and the most obvious sign of that is the way we finish each other's sentences. Cokie: Or don't even have to begin them. The kids think we're quite loony. Steve: We've learned we're not going to change each STEVE ROBEKTS is a political analyst for CNN and ABC Radio and teaches at George Washington University. COKIE RoBBtfrs is co-anchor of ABC's This Week and author of the best setter We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. Together they write a syndicated newspaper column. Excerpted from the book From This Day toward, by Cotde «nd Steven V. Roberts. Copyright C 2000 by Coklc and Steven V. Robert*. Reprinted by peimiulon of 6 USA WEEKEND • J»n. 28-30,2000 "So far we've lived for better, not worse; for richer, not poorer; in health, not sickness/' What's next for our MARRIAGE? BY COKIE & STEVE ROBERTS An exclusive excerpt from a heartwarming new book on their 33 years together. 1966: Cokie and Steve married at Cokie's family home in Maryland. Years later, so did daughter Becca. other. For all the ways we've adapted and the quirks we've accepted, we remain different people with different backgrounds. For instance, I will never share Cokie's experience as a woman or her education as a Catholic, and occasionally we've disagreed so strongly on an issue that weVe split our newspaper column in half, with each of us writing a different opinion. But the differences show up in personal ways, too. Cokie: J was raised in a situation where family and close friends stayed with us for weeks, even months, at a time. I would move into my sister's room with her, and the guests would take my room. It never occurred to me that I wouldn't inconvenience myself for other people. My Aunt Tootsie, who had seven children and 1997: The year both Becca and Lee wed, their parents wrote for USA WEEKEND about making marriage work. not much money, had a saying that summed up the family attitude: "If there's room in the heart, there's room in the home." That was very different from the way Steven was raised. I don't think you ever had people spend the night, right? Steve: That was partly because we lived in cramped conditions. By the time my sister was born, almost every room in our house became a bedroom. But basically, I agree with you. We grew up with a very different sense of privacy, and if s taken more than a little adjusting on both sides. I had to learn to be more flexible, and Cokie had to learn to be more protective. Cokie: But it's still the greatest source of tension in our marriage. There are times I feel Steven is being selfish, Cover photograph by MM HJrtMWd for USA WEEKEND

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