Teenage marriage is a phenomenon more common than most people think. The only law restricting such a marriage in California is one stating that any person under 18 must have his or her parents’ consent.
Two SCDS graduates were married as teenagers.
Katina Meckley, formerly Katina Tsakopoulos (a 1981 SCDS graduate), got married at 19 in December, 1982, after knowing her husband for about eight years.
“I have known him since I was 12. I love him a lot and we both decided to get married,” said Meckley.
However, this decision produced some problems with family and friends.
“Everybody said we were going to regret it,” said Meckley. “Actually, my parents had little to say in the matter. I just got married, and they had to accept.”
Meckley realizes that marriage holds many responsibilities, like “doubling everything I do or want.”
With her husband Kenny learning to manage a liquor store and Meckley studying to be an accountant, Meckley feels their financial outlook is bright. But at the moment, they are receiving financial support from the Tsakopouloses.
“After my husband manages his own liquor store and I finish school, we’ll be totally independent,” said Meckley.
Being a married couple has its difficult moments, Meckley said.
The Meckleys are hesitant to be around friends who don’t have boy- or girlfriends for fear of embarrassing them or making them feel awkward.
“It makes people feel bad because I talk about my husband all the time,” Meckley said.
Arquelle Hamelin (formerly Arquelle Frasse), also an SCDS graduate, got married at 18 after knowing her husband for only five months. Like Meckley, Hamelin said she was “totally in love,” but gave other reasons for getting married also.
“I realized I could have my husband and my job,” said Hamelin. “He understands my career and respects that fact.”
Hamelin, now 22, said that being married has strengthened her friendship with her husband as well as her career. She said she also appreciates her husband’s help with their baby born last year.
“My husband is wonderful about the baby!” exclaimed Hamelin. “I work eight hours a day and then go to night school. He takes care of everything while I am gone.”
But Hamelin faced many obstacles when she decided to get married. She felt she had to prove herself to the people she knew.
“It was tough. My mother would have preferred that I continued going to school,” explained Hamelin. “I also got a lot of pressure from the people at Country Day.”
Hamelin, financially independent and completely happy with her marriage, said marriage has made her more mature than most people her age.
Hamelin added, “I also trust and am trusted by my husband.”
Both Meckley and Hamelin recommended early marriage only if the couple does not “rush into it.”
Said one, “You have to be mature enough and sure enough to know what you are doing. Otherwise, it could be a big mistake.”
—By Marc Paoletti
Want more retro-Octagon? Read the stories below to discover what SCDS students were writing about decades ago.