Great Martha’s Vineyard Couples: Tim and Eileen Maley

Originally posted on July 16, 2014.

As summer proceeds, and along with it the Island’s wedding season, some great Island couples tell us how they’ve made marriages last. This is the second in an occasional series that salutes the stamina, love, good will and compromise required of couples who stay together for a long time.

Timothy and Eileen Maley were married on Valentines Day, February 14, 1976.

Where were you married? In Tom and Helen’s living room; reception in the Field Gallery.

Tim and Eileen Maley, 1976
Tim and Eileen Maley, 1976

How did you meet? (Tim) I’d gone to Haight Ashbury in 1968 and lived there for several years. Now I just had to extricate myself. So, I went to teach in Sydney, Australia. I booked the last voyage of the SS Iberia and never looked back. The love of my life embarked on the ship in Vancouver.

(Eileen) I was Canadian, met Tim on board the ship in Vancouver (he had boarded in San Francisco) — we were both heading for Australia. After working less than a year in Sydney, we decided to head home, the long way. We traveled through 40-pus countries, third class through the third world, and ended up here two and a half years later, our blue jeans and our cultural sensibilities in shreds.

Who proposed and how? (Tim) Eileen had applied for a green card and was denied. America, it seems, already had enough writers. I was highly incensed and said “%*&#@ them, let’s get married.” She shrugged her shoulders and said okay.

Describe your Vineyard wedding – (Eileen) Impromptu. The government was going to throw me out. It was February on the Vineyard. We didn’t formally invite anyone — they just showed up, word of mouth, as no one had been anywhere since New Year’s Eve. Unitarian minister Max Kapp came by to officiate in Tom and Helen’s living room. I wore a dress I’d made from silk bought in Bangkok and spring flowers came from Farmer Green. From there, we had a reception in the field gallery. No decorations, just lots of good potluck food and drink, and a rousing good party.

How many children? Did any of them stay here? Just Chloe. She lives with a wonderful housemate, Stephanie Brothers, and Stephanie’s daughter Annabelle. They’re our family, our girls.

Do you both work? We did. We’re retired now but active in separate directions during the day.

Maley wedding, 1976.
Maley wedding, 1976.

Briefly describe your years together – the good, the bad, and the wonderful….. (Tim) I bet that most couples of longtime marriages say “He/she is my best friend.” It may be a bromide, but it’s accurate. Eileen is the person to whom I am closest, and marriage is better than just living together. It’s a fine institution.

There have been times of stress, even great stress. We have a child with fairly severe autism, but that has made our bond as husband and wife even more cemented. I’ve got to say it’s all been wonderful.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Why?

(Tim) We’ve lived our lives together all over the planet, but this nest is best.
(Eileen) This past winter we spent many evenings in front of an open fire in the wood stove, fully aware of just feeling contented. We’re probably between crises of some sort — who isn’t — but there’s a strong feeling of being settled, and we are ready to roll with the next punch that comes along.

photo.JPGTim has long strong roots in this town, and I’ve been here a mere 40 years. We have a home we rebuilt and made for ourselves. Our mortgage is paid off. We have good dear friends we’ve had for decades and a family we absolutely love in the same town. In general, there’s a solid feeling of belonging.

If you had one piece of advice to a couple about to be married, what would it be? (Tim) Similarities attract? Yes, I say. And laughter. Marry a partner a bit brighter than you are.

(Eileen) Marry the perfect partner, but never forget that nobody is perfect. Say ‘thank you’ a lot; ‘please,’ not so much.