I think after last week’s screed, I’ll write something inoffensive about home and hearth this time around. Disaffected patriots are a dime a dozen on both sides of the aisle, anyway.
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On a shelf in my parents’ basement sits a small box, labeled in my dad’s hand with words to this effect:
“Rod & Lynn Love Letters (Yech)”
When I was a small boy who loved poking around in the basement, I was young and daft enough to read a few of the letters my parents exchanged before their marriage. I don’t remember what they said any more, and wasn’t really old enough to understand them anyway.
(OK, one letter I can’t help but remember. It was the mid-1960s, and my mom was going to college in Boston. My dad had the cheek to address a letter to her at “Boston University, Somewhere Near Where The Strangler Is, Boston, Mass.” I would later inherit his blue eyes and his black sense of humor.)
The time period of my grandfather’s calendars — 1961 to 1975 — trace my dad’s evolution from high school senior to married father of two.
And in so doing, it provides the occasional awww-isn’t-that-sweet glimpse of my parents when they were young and in love … just like the letters inside the yech-box.
The glimpses look kinda like this:
I didn’t ask my folks whether they remember anything about their trip to New York for an engagement ring (however exotic it might have been — were there no acceptable rings in Stamford?)
I guess I’d rather imagine what those days were like.
I can’t imagine them too specifically, of course, since I wasn’t actually there. My mental images of my young-and-in-love folks are kinda like cardboard figures, fleshed out somewhat by my knowledge of their personalities and my views of photo albums from those early days.
I know they were both musical, and that probably provided considerable common ground in their earliest days.
I know that they carried on much of their courtship more or less long-distance, without benefit of Skype or email, and made it last anyway.
I know they moved together, right after their marriage, to a place neither of them had much of any familiarity with, and found it a place to sink roots.
And I know that, despite their disparate personalities, they had some unquantifiable degree of interpersonal chemistry.
Forty-six years after that calendar entry, the same ring is still on my mom’s finger. My parents have gone from being young soon-to-be-marrieds, to being the last couple standing when the wedding DJ starts clearing the dance floor a decade at a time.
It hasn’t always been easy (it never is), but some essential part of the compact they forged back in the mid-1960s is still alive. Something lives in the yech-box that has not been chased away by kids and job pressures and gray hairs and all the other pressures of adult life.
How ’bout that.