Posts tagged: marriage

REUNIONS–TO GO OR NOT TO GO

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60th  HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

Over the years most of us have gone to reunions, high school/college.  Those early ones to impress classmates with successful jobs, handsome spouses, beautiful, intelligent children…all trying to out do our classmates like final scores on SAT’s (which we didn’t have to take way back then because most of us didn’t go to college which was for the rich (no student loans) or “very” smart.)  As the years passed, we finally outgrew the one upsmanship (most of us any way) and began to celebrate survival.  I enjoy the light–hearted  tone of  the following rhyme:

 Class Reunion

bday_balloons_bus_card.338122604It was my class reunion, and all through the house
I checked in each mirror and begged my poor spouse
To say I looked great, that my chin wasn’t double,
And he lied through false teeth, just to stay out of trouble.
Said that neath my thick glasses, my eyes hadn’t changed,
And I had the same figure just a mite rearranged.
Said my skin was still silky, though looser in drape,
Not like smooth satin, but more like silk crepe.
I swallowed his words hook, sinker, and line,
And entered the banquet feeling just fine.bday_balloons_bus_card.338122604
Somehow I’d expected my classmates to stay
As young as they were on that long–ago day.
We’d hugged farewell hugs, but like me, through the years,
They’d  added gray to their hair, and pounds to their rears.
But as we shared a few memories and retold our class jokes
We were eighteen in spirit though we looked like our folks.
We turned up our hearing aids, dimmed down the lights.
Rolled back the years and were young for the night
Donna Presnell/ Elizabeth Lucas

www.balloonsbythebunch.net/

 The notice came in the mail the other day…60 Year Reunion!  Come celebrate It can’t be.  I go to the basement (it needs cleaning, of course, but I remind my husband that it was in the fine print on the marriage certificate: “I don’t do basements.  I know it’s here somewhere.  I move the old ice cream maker.  Haven’t used that since the kids left home–the oldest just celebrated his 58th birthday, but we might sometime (use it that is)  Then I move  the five jugs of water (you never know when that predicted catastrophe is going to happen) that sit in front of the boxes that hold  “who knows what. ” It might be there, my 1954 high school year book.

After opening a number of boxes of outdated treasures, gotta throw these away someday, I note mentally, I find it.   My old “Maroon”.   I pull up the old rocking chair– Granny’s.  The canes are broken across the back but I can have it re-caned and who knows, maybe one of the grand kids would like it. I settle back,  brush off the cover.  The years roll back with the dust.  Mustang logo

FLASHBACK”  A kaleidoscope of images: white bucks and saddle shoes, boys wearing jeans so low that “pantsing” had to be outlawed by the authorities (kids would sneak up behind an unsuspecting buddy, grab his pants on both sides and jerk…exposed! Ankle- length peg skirts so tight our walk became a hobble and we had to hike them up to bend our knees to go up the stairs…no running down the hall…cashmere sweaters if you were rich enough to own one with scarves tied neatly about our neck. Dress Code? No slacks for girls, skirts and dresses only.

There was the usual “class distinctions.  The jocks, the students, you know, the ones that belonged to the Math or Chess club, ran for student body offices, worked on the year book. There were the hot rodders who drove around in their  supped–up cars at noon, wore their hair in exaggerated duck tails slicked back with grease, had their pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of their tee shirts, and yes, even a few tattoos.  These boys our mothers warned us about…I remember Midge married one…divorced (physical abuse?), a single parent raising two girls.

There were the clandestine beer parties in the park…I pause focusing inward on Hazel’s 16th birthday party, Roger grabbing my hand dragging me out the back door as the police, who the neighbors called when someone fell through the plate glass window, came in the front. Never told my children about that episode of my “well-behaved” teen–age years.

Our senior year. I rock in the chair, close my eyes remembering our “coming-of-age” dramas  where we learned of sex (yes, Gerry was pregnant at graduation– they just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. ) We fell in and out of love, wore men’s over sized white shirts, and our boyfriend’s letterman sweaters and then we, Milwaukie High School, like the Hoosiers, won the state basketball championship and became the Class that made Milwaukie  famous.  Images of the welcoming-home parade come into focus and I can feel again the thrill of it all when we (cheer leaders) rode on the flat bed truck with the team waving our maroon/gold pom poms.POMSMBG

 The faces and times swim before me in a haze.  I was going steady with Bill, the class super hero, tall, handsome    all-around jock: basketball, track. The camera winds forward.  He marries Bunny, two children, divorces, dies in  1995. Clairene, his twin sister, the first Longshore woman in Portland, Oregon, the only person I  know who  doesn’t have a “social” face, stays in touch after all these years.

  LIFE:  I thumb through the pictures:  Roger marries Kay/ divorces,  daughter murdered by fiance, son killed on a motorcycle.  Stan marries/divorces/remarries Marge who died of breast cancer several years ago.  Don, who became a big wig in banking, flew Roger in a helicopter to his private club to play golf…later barely survived the Savings and Loan debacle.  Sherrill Houser, class president, becomes our most famous member.  World renowned sculpture (Big! sculpture, not him) over 4  stories high! Bronze, Conquistador on a stallion,  El Paso, Texas.don-juan-de-onate-statue-el-paso-airport  I guess it was natural for him to think big, his father was second in command in the creation of Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.

I turn the pages.  Stories of far away places, success, failure, grief, joy reflect the years of our lives.  Reunions?  They are like time warps and for a few moments we return to the years of our becoming.  We squint at faces trying to connect them to the name tag. We girls will have our hair “professionally” done for the occasion, buy a new dress to wrap around a body that no longer resembles our youthful mystique.

I hear Ron upstairs moving about the kitchen.  Time for dinner. I replace the yearbook,  push the rocking chair back into its corner.  The reunion is in Oregon, I am in New York.  The time and distance echoes.  I sigh.  Too far, too long ago–I won’t be going to the reunion.

en.wikipedi.org/wiki/John_Sherrill_Houser

St. Valentine’s Day Legend

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In the Golden Legend

The Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine, compiled about 1260 and one of the most-read books of the High Middle Ages, gives sufficient details of the saints for each day of the liturgical year to inspire a homily on each occasion. The very brief vita of St Valentine has him refusing to deny Christ before the “Emperor Claudius”[25] in the year 280. Before his head was cut off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer. Jacobus makes a play with the etymology of “Valentine”, “as containing valour”.

There are many other legends behind Saint Valentine. One is that in the 1st century AD it is said that Valentine, who was a priest, defied the order of the emperor Claudius and secretly married couples so that the husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. Soldiers were sparse at this time so this was a big inconvenience to the emperor. Another legend is that Valentine refused to sacrifice to pagan gods. Being imprisoned for this, Valentine gave his testimony in prison and through his prayers healed the jailer’s daughter who was suffering from blindness. On the day of his execution he left her a note that was signed “Your Valentine.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine’s_Day 

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It seems that there were several St. Valentines in history, more than one of them being tortured and executed for their “Christian” leanings.  Although we complain of today’s violence, it appears that murder and mayhem is part of the human species as depicted in today’s political chaos.  Somehow the “history” of those early martyrs   has been lost and we envision St. Valentine  as a  “loving” February Santa Clause.

Early Memories:  In school, eons ago, we had a Valentine Box and exchanged with each other, always counting how many we received.  Social mores began to dictate:  Everyone didn’t get the same number of valentines, some receiving none.  Those left out felt bad.   It was not fair, besides it was a “religious” tainted custom, had very little to do with “love”  and thus has been discontinued.

 

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Our grandchildren still make the crayon/lace cutouts to send to friends and family and look forward to receiving their own Valentines, a warm statement of affection.

Today Valentine’s Day has become a “economic” boon for florists, jewelers, chocolate and other “luxury” items.  It has become an act of measuring the depth of “love” we have for one other often times tied to the $ amount of the gift.

 

My husband did not get the “Valentine” gene!  He huffs and puffs and rebels against the hype.  Oh, on occasion he has brought the dozen roses, but somehow the  “warm Rosesfuzzy”  doesn’t flow through me knowing how he feels about the holiday.  I won’t deny that it has taken me years to immune myself, to admit to my friends that I got “nothing,” and to hear their “clucking” of sympathy, or the fact that he doesn’t call me when gone for weeks on a ski trip.  He doesn’t love you, my Ego whispers (I’ve learned my Ego is not my friend.)  It’s not that he doesn’t surprise me.  For instance, the package delivered when he was away skiing that time.  The Beaver jacket, so warm and soft, the hood framing my surprise in the mirror.  His gifts are usually far more practical:  the tiller for my garden, the vacuum for downstairs, so you won’t have to lug the vacuum up and down.  

Why do I smile when there are no roses adorning my table?  After almost sixty years, I have learned to read between the lines and appreciate his little acts of love.  The gentle scratching of my back just before we fall asleep, the clearing and cleaning of the kitchen after our guests have gone, the washing and vacuuming of my car, unsolicited.  Words of love are just that, and appreciated, of course, but it is  the “act” that carries the “love” message through almost 60 years.

 

 

 

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