Jack and Barbara Nicklaus are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary tonight.
When I asked a Nicklaus confidant how they were celebrating, I got the answer anyone who knows them would expect.
They were planning “to spend a relatively quiet evening, having dinner with family and a couple of close friends.” The Nicklauses, however, are such a vital part of the larger Palm Beach community in South Florida that there’s no escaping a bigger bash there. That’s planned Saturday night, and even that’s taking place within the family unit, at the home of one of their five children. Jack and Barbara will be the guests of honor at a party that will feature nearly 200 special guests.
Jack met Barbara his first week as a student at Ohio State on the steps of the library in September of 1957. They were introduced by a woman Nicklaus was dating at the time. Jack walked Barbara to one of the science buildings and was so smitten with her that he called her later that night to ask her on a date. He had to wait three weeks for that date.
In his book, “Jack Nicklaus: My Story,” Nicklaus said this about why the marriage works so well: “Both of us come from uncomplicated, hard working, down-to-earth, closely bonded Midwestern families. As a result, despite the millions of miles we travel, the glitzy places we visit, the famous people we know, and the many material comforts that grow from a successful career, we are both at heart still pretty simple-living homebodies who get their greatest joys and satisfactions from within the family unit. The `other lives,’ the external lives, are fun for both of us in short takes, but we are most comfortable and content in our own tightly knit, informal, unpretentious, at-home normal world with our children and grandchildren at the center.”