First, watch this. Get your kleenex.
Ok, now come here. Lemme hold you. I know, I know. I’m sobbing my eyes out, too.
My frame of reference for love and marriage comes from my parents. And even my grandparents.
My parents met in 1976. What I recollect from my memory is that my dad was working at a gas station. My mom came in to buy cigarettes and my dad, self-righteous dude that he was, was disgusted with her purchase. Later, they were set up on a blind date with each other and my mom showed up with beer and they were both like, “…Oh. It’s you.” Ha. A few months later they were engaged and after a brief engagement, they were married. Nine months later, my sister was born and then my brother two years later and then me. They’ve had their bumps, for sure. And they’re honest with me about their relationship. I think I have a really honest perspective of my parent’s relationship. My mother is ballsy and strong-willed and opinionated. My dad is the strong, silent type. I used to think he needed to man-up more to my mother, but I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, that he’s really wise. He loves my mother and he picks his battles. He would do anything to make my mother happy… They have the kind of connectedness, even after 33 years, when parting from each other — even if for only a few hours — they always embrace one another, forever affectionate. It’s a really beautiful thing.
My grandparents on my mother’s side were married for their entire adult lives. I need to interview my mother for more details on this one, but they were married just before my grandfather left for the Korean war. My grandmother lived at the YWCA while he was stationed overseas. They had three daughters and a beautiful life together. I’m sure they had their problems, too but none of it was evident when we would all travel down to the nursing home where my grandfather lived out his last days, struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. The two of them would just glow when they saw each other — before his mind really went. Later, as he lost his grip on his memories, he thought my mother was my grandmother and he was always so pleased and loving and affectionate when he saw her.
And on my dad’s side, my Poppa Carlo and Mema. Mema just passed away in January and it was a wake-up call to me to get back to my roots and visit that side of my family more often. Dad and I went to NC this past weekend and I had a genius idea to video-interview my Poppa.
I don’t have the ability to edit this down but I don’t even think I would if I could. You may need to put some headphones on to really hear him because he doesn’t talk too loud.
AWW. Dammit, man. So sweet.
So for me? In my life? I have never aimed so high in my past and I realize that I ought to be. Fucking around with my exhusband, my exboyfriend, HSD, Ginger, fucking ALL of them. They’re just not good enough.
I’ve got a legacy to carry on… A legacy of REAL love that transcends time and space and rocks you to your core. The kind of love that will last forever. And I’m not going to settle ever again.
Choppy… Forgive me. I’m jotting down notes as my mother chatters away in my ear. She just called, immediately after I published the post. She wants to clear some things up:
Dad worked at a conveinence store, there weren’t gas pumps. And it wasn’t a blind date. The assistant manager at the store knew that my mom was into my dad and so he convinced my mother that my dad had invited her over. It was a set-up, but not a blind date. My mom didn’t know it was a set-up but dad knew that the guy had told her to come over but didn’t know that mom was ballsy enough to come over. And it wasn’t beer. It was a bag of Doritos. Dad had just told the guy that he was at home alone eating a bag of Doritos and to NOT send my mother over. But my mom didn’t know that. She thought Dad had invited her over. The guy is like “He wants you to come, here’s his address. He wants you to bring a bag of Doritos.” Dad had been dating this other girl for a year a half, Ginger. When mom found out about Ginger, she backed off and didn’t pursue him. After ten days, he called her, had broken up with Ginger and said, “I have to see you.” Three weeks later they were engaged. And three months later they were married.
Grandma and Grandma eloped. Grandpa had already been in the Korean war and had returned before he met grandma. He was a barber and grandma was in beauty school. Grandpa pursued her after seeing her in a red dress. She got off a bus in a red dress and grandpa followed her to ask her out. Grandpa was still living at home and they eloped and he couldn’t bring her back to his mama’s house. So he put her up at the YWCA and went home to Sanford to figure out where they were gonna live. Then his car broke down and he wrote her a letter, the day after they were married. So they were miles apart and he didn’t have a car! He didn’t know what he was going to do. But he did know that he loved her and assured her and that he would be with her often, even if he had to walk. “I’m living for you and I would die for you.” AWW. Dang.
It was unheard of for a single woman to have an apartment alone. So if you left home, you got a room at the Y. There were curfews and security and it was where good girl’s stayed.