There seem to be a lot of them going around, lately, it being June and all. Big Bob and MOTG still look like the high school sweethearts they were. Crowds connected to Fast Eddie and JannyLou are cruising in Alaska, celebrating the blending of their families 40 years ago.
Today, G'ma and Daddooooo would be celebrating their 67th aniversary, married, as G'ma would ruefully remind me, on a Thursday because of something about Counting the Omer. As a child, I wondered how she let herself be pushed around; she was The Bride after all. As an adult, considering her socialist upbringing, her parents the least Jewish Jews I knew, as I wondered why she let religion decide for her. Today, I wonder who paid for it.
They were married at the Waldorf Astoria... when that meant something. There was a ballroom and there was dancing to a live band. There are lots and lots of pictures of people none of us remember, all of whom look like they are having a fabulous time.... all but Daddooooo who was, of course, scowling at the camera for most of the shots.
Should she have turned and run then?
I asked her once, after an awful scene of some sort or other, why she stayed. Her answer wandered around finances and children but she was working and her kids were grown and I wasn't having it. I pressed her and she stiffened. "We made a commitment and that means something."
They made their peace with one another, with G'ma learning tools to handle the behaviors no therapist would declare she could treat. "You don't expect him to change very much, do you?" she was asked... more than once... as the decades wore on. Still, they persisted.
I have no doubt that he loved her, to the best of his ability. I'm not so sure that my mother was comfortable with the whole concept of love, whether she brought that to her marriage or ended up there after a bumpy ride. I do know that when I was 7 or 8 I slipped notes into the hands of all 4 of my grandparents and both of my parents, requesting that, on the count of 3... or 5... or something.... they kiss.
There was an awkward silence. There was no kissing.
And so here I am, judging from the outside that which can be truly known only from within. The long-term marriage itself takes on its own place in the relationship,. Did any of the adults in that room, all of whom I loved to distraction, smile when they turned out the lights, crawling into bed beside one another? Was it the public display of affection they disdained or was there something more, something my parents brought to our suburban tract home in 1953?
Whatever the reason, they were married until death did them part, bringing joy and angst in equal parts, I think. It wasn't the happiest of marriages, but it was theirs and they are the only parents I had so it's the only time I can celebrate the union that created me. Thanks, Parental Units.
Congratulations to everyone else!