“If you want to be a fine artist be sure you marry the right person.” It’s likely Armand’s audience of student painters laughed when Armand offered such unexpected advice, but he meant it, sincerely. Armand was lucky enough to have a partner who was not only devoted to him, but also to his work.
So it was in 1950, when Armand finally sold a painting for $300, that he and Betty were able to marry. The ceremony took place in Betty’s home with little enthusiasm on the part of concerned relatives. On their honeymoon they boarded a train and headed up to New York, where Armand introduced Betty to Artur Schnabel. At the time Schnabel discussed with the Merizons how deeply concerned he was about the uncertain future of humanity in the face of atomic bombs and ruthless dictators. Like his personal friend, Albert Einstein, Schnabel became a champion and public spokesman for the cause of world peace.
After this important brief encounter Armand and Betty went on to the beloved Monhegan Island, Maine, a hundred-year-old summer haven for artists and other visitors who appreciate its isolation, the beauty of its wilderness areas, its quiet relaxed atmosphere, and its unhurried pace. Here, easel ready on this tiny island of less than one mile square, Armand painted the ocean he remembered so vividly while Betty sat beside him, barefoot in the sand. Betty’s friend Lee Ann Kinnee recalls, “Armand and Betty are together as one. They both have very childlike spirits. Betty giggles and Armand laughs with a sort of boisterous laugh” (Dornbush/Zandstra Interview, 6-24-04). When they returned to Grand Rapids they rented an upstairs apartment near Madison and Thomas.
Betty recalled: “We went to Monhegan Island and that was just such a thrill. Armand did some sketching on the island because it was just so natural. We rode out with the lobstermen early in the morning. It was just a very wonderful honeymoon.”