recipe
Sep
22
2008

Misty water colored memories

Most of this weekend was spent with my sister in law going thru, packing up, dividing and cleaning out my parents house.  Apparently if all goes well by mid October, someone else will be the proud owners of their house.  I had dreaded starting this job in such a way that it will soon be a year since my mom’s passing and aside from a few nick nacks and things, I had ignored the task at hand.

My parents were an odd pair.  I never really saw them  as a “couple”.  They were my parents, my children’s grandparents, employees, employers, business owners, school volunteers, lovers of all things food related…but never ever saw them as a romantic pair.  I never saw them embrace in way that would lead me to believe they had ever been intimate.  Though obviously they had, there is me and my two younger brothers.  I have often wondered if we might be warping our own children by showing affection towards each other  -  holding hands, my sitting on Husband’s lap, him swatting my behind as I get up, him pinning me against the kitchen cabinets for a big wet smooch because really what is more romantic than cooking together? My stomach doing a flip when the phone rings at 10:30 a.m. because I know it is him and then me running to the bedroom to talk to him because the things we have to say to each other are private and very personal and not for anyone else to hear.  This is after 35 years together.

Never once in my whole life did I see my parents hold hands, kiss passionately, her sit on his lap, him swat her behind…nothing of that nature at all.  I don’t know what I really thought of their relationship. More a comedy of errors than anything else.  Things were never “easy” for them.  Never. But my impression of them as a couple has never been clear to me.   Not really deep down.  I have had regrets on their behalf because I felt they didn’t know each other in that way. And not necessarily because we ALL think it icky to think of our parents in such a way.  So imagine my complete surprise when I found a love letter from my dad to my mom written just 3 months before they married – postmarked September 23, 1957.  And yes, I read it.  Not every single word, I felt like I was violating a serious confidence by merely opening it.  But I had to take a glimpse.  Evidently my mom had flown out to see my dad at the army base where he was stationed.  I could just see her descending the steps of the plane and running into my father’s arms, suitcase in one hand and holding her hat on with the other.  Probably in a suit with high heels and wearing bright red lipstick and the perfect jewelry for the outfit.  My mom was quite the clothes horse back in the day.  The letter was filled with “I love you, like no one has ever loved before” and “don’t know how I will live until we see each other again” and how his heart was breaking as he watched her plane take off after what evidently was a very romatic weekend.  Romantic enough that they married three months later.

I have thought about this letter so much in the last 24 hours.  Not about what it said as much as the fact that it even exists.  If you asked me to describe my father I would have said many things…funny, hilarious actually…ADHD…OCD…co-dependent, creative, musical.  He was a great and entertaining father but I had my doubts about what kind of husband he had been to my mom.  I know he wasnt the kind of husband I have.  He was not in any way selfless or particularly giving where she was concerned.  It was more of a “she took care of him” sort of thing.  But this letter gave me pause.  Maybe I had mis-read them.  Maybe they were just that private and grew up in a time were public displays of affection were just too taboo.  I thought it was a very sweet gesture on his part to send her a SIX page letter and write it evidently just hours after they parted company.

The letter lay on my desk all night.  I woke up this morning, sat down with my coffee, picked up the envelope again and something seared my eyeballs: POSTAGE DUE 3 CENTS.  I spit coffee all over myself.  I sat here by myself and laughed until I cried.  Now THAT was the Daddy I knew!!! Whew what a relief!!!

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what a great story!!

klutzymama

That is so sweet!

I don’t think you’re warping your children by being affectionate in front of them. I think it is nice for kids to see that their parents truly love and care for one another.
I wish my parents had been more like that…

Barbara

What a lovely story and I think how nice that must have been for you to have found this letter.

So good to have that kind of relationship still with your dh after 35 years!

Oh Susan….that cracked me up!! (the end of your story I mean!!) How funny. It is amazing what we know about our parents and what we find out too. I loved this story!!

Connie

Loved this story! Maybe you were meant to find that particular letter—-that you needed to learn those things about your parents. As I’ve told you before, I think you have “a gem” of a husband and that you two are wonderful parents to your children. I continue to love your blog—-always look forward to reading your latest news and thoughts.

I am just dying over that-just dying. I LOVED it! Thank you so much for sharing that…it just made my day :)

I read your blog all the time, but today I had to comment on this post. What a great post.

New to your blog, but with writing like this you should have lots and lots of readers.
It’s funny how those outside of any relationship have little clue about what is going on inside the relationship. Glad that your parents at least started out with the huge romance. Hope you find more sweet memories as you go through the difficult process of clearing up the house.

Great story Susan! My mom has letters that my dad wrote to her professing his love for her early on. My dad has always been quite the romantic. However he left her on her birthday about 28 years ago, telling her that he had never loved her. so not true, but I suppose something he had to tell himself and anyone that would listen in order to justify what he was doing. Incredibly they got through that and remain the closest of friends and I do believe that they love each other to this day . . . they just can’t stand living with each other, although they have done so several times since the divorce. Parent’s . . . who can ever figure them out!

anne

Funny I should open your blog today when just yesterday on my way home from work I was missing my Ma and Dad.

Ma has been gone 24 years, she died much too young and Dad has been gone over 6 years.

My parents showed alot of affection in their younger years and spent alot of mornings behind closed doors but they didn’t have what I call a perfect marriage. I guess that’s the way the outsiders see it but I have heard stories from other family members about how much my mother and father adored each other. And I know that it is true because on my fathers death bed he called out to my mother!

I can only hope that they are enjoying a Saturday morning interlude over a pot of strong coffee..

I just loved this story!!! How very sweet. And yes, I also loved the ending but it also makes you think back to our men in service back then. Your father did not even have 3 cents to his name while serving his country. My own father was in the service back then, and my mom tells stories of how he would hitch-hike from Pensacola Fla. to Memphis Tenn just for the week-end to see her.

My parents never hid their love for each other from us children and at times, we would even see their anger to each other, but not much.

My husband and I are much like you and your husband. Our girls see and know our love for each other and yes, sometimes even laugh at us. But at least they know what to desire from the man that they find to marry one day.

Again, thank you for the story. You are always so good to safe your life with us.

Pat

Hi, Susan…What a terrific post! Your line of “comdey of errors” is much how I think if my parents too…They are both such opposites, it’s always hard to figure out how either relationship works, or why–LOL! But they do love each other, and love was always shown in the house where I grew up. My hubby and I are not blessed with children…but we share our love freely, wherever we are, all the time…Nothing like the joy of seeing love freely expressed! Thanks for your very heart-felt, thoughtful post…And thanks for stopping to visit me–always a treat :o ) Happy Days ((HUGS))

What a wonderful story. Like you, I don’t have memories of my parents being affectionate to each other. However I visited them two weeks ago. My dad is in a nursing home and my lives in senior housing. I saw them kiss more and say “I love you” to each other more than I ever did growing up.

That is a terrific story. Really terrific! Thanks for sharing.

Sometimes I think that’s just how that generation was. They were not outwardly affectionate. I’m grateful, my parents always were afffectionate towards each other. Holding hands, dad’s arm around mom’s shoulder in church, etc. But you know what? All their family and friends always made fun of them. I’m glad they didn’t care and showed the world their love for each other.

Blessings,

Sher

Mary

I loved this story!