Sunday, August 14, 2011

Marriage - GBE2 Picture Prompt

WEEK #12 (8-7-11 to 8-13-11): Picture Prompt

We had until Saturday (8-13-11) to post this week’s blog and leave our url as a comment on the GBE2 thread. Obviously, I'm late.

For those of us who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, so we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

Happy blogging!
Beth (our illustrious leader)
Marriage

I can’t say I’ve had many positive images of marriage and wasn’t sure I wanted to write on this particular prompt. But, just as I was explaining my not having participated, a memory came to me and changed my mind.

As you may all know, I am divorced. It wasn’t a good marriage, and to be honest, it was very abusive; although I get along with my ex just fine at this point some 22 years later. My parents were married 55 years, but they were pretty miserable because of my father and his apparent jealousy (according to Mom) of me. I have always believed it was because I was a girl. He made it pretty clear over the years. That and he didn’t have the ability to admit when he was wrong, and he always had to be right. Mom stuck it out for three reasons – me, their property had been given to them by her father and this was her second marriage. Her first husband got himself a girlfriend while she was caring for her dying mother a year after they’d married. Mom was a pillar of strength in the midst of stormy seas. I don’t know how she did it, although I remember her crying because of Dad when I was little. And, I hated him for it.

As you can see, I had reason to not want to write this. But, then I remembered my grandparents. My father had a level of animosity towards them like he had towards me. I've come to believe it was because he was an only child until age 17 when his sister came along. Her relationship with her parents was entirely different than my dad’s. And, he seethed over it for years. When I came along, it was just history repeating itself. But, all that aside, my grandparents had an almost idyllic marriage. 

That’s not to say it was very traditional for their time. My grandmother was very independent, didn’t want anyone telling her what to do, didn’t want to be tied to the house, and so, she was a career woman. First of all, she got pregnant. She wasn’t married. But, she didn’t want anyone being forced to marry her just for that reason as she knew she was equally to blame. So, she “ran away”. She didn’t want my grandfather feeling obligated to marry her, so she simply picked up and moved out of her parents’ house and ended up somewhere near Washington, DC. I don’t have all the details because I only know this because my aunt told me. This was in the 20s, so you KNOW it wasn’t going to be easy for her, but she was determined to not marry because she “had” to. Her grandmother hadn't and, two years after her daughter was born, married a man who raised her as his own. Nana believed that you do what’s best for yourself and did it.

Well, Poppop was upset when she left without any word. He kept at her parents until they finally told him what was up and where she was. He could have disappeared right then and there, but he didn’t. He drove down to where she was (this was before interstates, people, and it’s a four hour drive WITH them) and convinced her that he loved her and wanted to marry her and would marry her no matter what. So, in December 1922, they were married. In July 1923, my father was born.

In the 60s after they were both retired, Poppop from Federal service and Nana from AT&T, they drove across country seeing everything they could, riding mules into the Grand Canyon, visiting the old Las Vegas and bringing home the obligatory casino souvenirs (ashtrays from Sands, etc.) and showing off hundreds of photos of their trip. I was fascinated with it all, especially the Petrified Forest.

As I said, my grandmother was very independent. When my family moved to Venezuela because of Dad’s job, Nana wanted to come visit. Poppop said he wasn’t about to get on any plane, so she told him, fine – I’ll go without you. She took a girlfriend with her and we had a grand time with her.

Poppop died in September 1971 after a gall bladder operation the night before he was to be discharged. A blood clot dislodged and went into his lungs. Nana remained stoic and expressed little emotion. I never really saw affection between them, but never thought there wasn’t love. But, one day while at her house, I was helping her in the bedroom while she made her bed (they slept in twin beds) and she started saying that she missed him. She almost broke into tears when she mentioned how she missed when he’d leave his bed to come “visit” her in her bed. Of course, I was embarrassed as innocent as I still was at the time – and yet, I was in awe. I had never seen her express her love for him before, even though I accepted it as fact. I mentioned it to my mother once and she told me how my grandmother simply adored my grandfather. She told my mother that she’d “eat shit” if he asked her to. You’d have to know my grandmother to realize that she had a tendency to be rather earthy in her speech. Despite her independent spirit, she was a full-blown traditionalist when it came to loving her husband. And, the fact that he accepted her for who she was despite society’s traditional perspectives made their relationship one that I have to say I envy.

You know, I’m glad now I wrote this. It has brought back some really nice memories. 

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4 Comments:

Blogger Jo said...

Everyone should have such an example of love. Couples who are proficient in PDA make me wonder if they sleep in separate rooms and need an audience. I am more of a private person and know that it's the quiet ones (and publicly separate ones) that usually have the real passion.
Great story!

August 14, 2011 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Word Nerd said...

"...he accepted her for who she was ..."

That right there is what I believe to be one of the keys to a happy marriage--really, to any happy relationship.

This was very nice. Thanks for sharing it!

August 14, 2011 at 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Angela Parson Myers said...

Your grandparents were a terrific example of what true love is. It isn't showing affection in public; it isn't sleeping in the same bed or even the same room. It might not even be obvious respect and acceptance. It's much deeper than that in the soul. Loved your blog.

August 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM  
Blogger Paula Martin said...

Lovely story about your grandparents, but when you decribed your father, you could have been describing mine too.

August 18, 2011 at 7:16 AM  

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