Monday, March 26, 2012

Love At Second, Third or Fourth Sight?

     My cousin Gin called me yesterday.  She and her husband, Cul will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in May.
     I asked her to tell me the story of their romance.
     She met her husband when she was 12 years old and Cul was 16.  He spotted her on the playground and would talk to her through the fence.  My aunt and mostly my uncle would not allow Gin to "see" Cul until she was 14.  Then Cul was allowed to come to the house, but was not allowed inside.  So, it was mostly conversations on the front steps.
     When Gin was 16, Cul was finally invited into the house and Gin was allowed to go to a movie with him.   Uncle had stringent rules about that, too.  If the movie ended at 10:30, Gin had to be home by 10:00.  I'm not sure I see the logic in that.  Perhaps Uncle thought that style of curfew would "curb their enthusiasm".
     When Gin turned 18, she and Cul became engaged.  They were married a year later.
     Interestingly enough, Gin and Cul's daughter, had a similar romance with her husband.  They met when they were young teenagers.  They are still together after 20 plus years of marriage.
     Gin and Cul's son, same thing.  Their marriage was not planned, but necessary, if you know what I mean.  He was 17, she was 16.  Yep, still together.
     I believe all three couples have good and happy marriages.
     In my large family of sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins, divorce is not uncommon.  Many members of the family are on their second, third and even fourth marriages.  (Present company included.)
     What was it about the relationships of my cousin's family that made their marriages last?   How did they know that the partners they chose, at such early ages, would be their lifelong partners?  After all none of them had other experiences with which to compare theirs to.
     Was it a matter of religious beliefs?  They are practicing and devout Catholics, which means divorce is not an option.
     Gin's grandmother and grandfather and her mother and father were married til death parted them.
     Why did they respect the commitments they made to their marriages and each other, when so many other couples can't seem to?
     Perhaps for Gin and Cul it was simply a matter of long lasting love, even if it was at first sight.
     Do you know that couple?  They went to the prom together.  They hold hands like teenagers and dance the slow dances just like they did in high school.  When he starts to tell that same story again, she teases him, with a "oh, not that one again" and then giggles at the end as if she is hearing it for the first time.
She calls him Babe and he calls her Gorgeous.  Her mom moved in with them when she was too ill to take care of herself and she couldn't have done it without him.  He held her hand through each and every chemo treatment.   And after 50 years they renewed their vows of loving respecting and cherishing one another.
     Some have found a love like that more than once, but some (of us) have had to try on a few others before they (we) finally found the (our) perfect fit.

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.

Here is today entry from Anna's Diary:
Tues. March 26 1929
Junior invited to Gloria Casales party who was four years old.  Quite a bunch there.  At night the Belleville club met here for first time since my Ridge St. residence.


  1. I think marriage and other "romantic" relationships are profoundly mysterious things. I often say that no one can understand a relationship from the outside of it, and still less from the inside. If that makes any sense. I don't think there's any real "recipe" for success or even necessarily a recipe for disaster. For that matter, how do we even define success? As you and several others pointed out longevity (staying together for the duration no matter what) is not a success if one or both partners (and those around them) are essentially miserable for much of the time.  It's all a complicated mess and I will say that Hubby and I met and married very quickly at a fairly young age and we'll be celebrating our 25th anniversary this July and while 98% of the time I'm grateful we've stuck it out there are days still when I think, "What the hell are we doing here?" :)

  2. You know my parents stuck it out, but I wonder if my mother would have stayed if she considered that she might have had other options.   Their unhappy marriage certainly had an effect on their children.  It probably pushed us all into marriages for the wrong reason, mainly to escape their unhappy marriage.

  3. Congratulations on your parents upcoming 60th. 
    Although my parents were married until my dad passed away shortly before their 47th anniversary, their's was not a happy marriage.  That might account for the divorces and multiple marriages of my siblings and myself. I agree divorce is sad. By the way, Gina, I know how sad you are about the loss of your sisters.  I am sorry. 

  4. That is a sweet story.  I guess your grandpa was a "ladies' man"  but just one lady, your grandma.  

  5. As always, an interesting piece, Lynda.  I'm not sure if I know any couples like that.  I think it's hard to really know what goes on in a marriage unless you are in the marriage.  From the outside, you think they have it all but that is certainly not always the case.  I think a loving marriage really is a roller coaster - there are lots of good days and lots of laugher and affection ... and there is honesty and hardship and two individuals who, if (IMHO) they are lucky, are always changing and growing.  And sometimes change and growth can rock a marriage to the core.  And sometimes that marriage can survive and sometimes it needs to dissolve.  As I implied, I find your post to be thoughtful and something I might just have to ponder and write about myself.

  6. My parents will be married 60 years in November.  They knew each other about a month before they married at 19.  They had 7 children, I am the oldest.  Marriage has not been lucky with us kids.  I have been married 2 times, 6 years to my first husband, On April 9, me and my current husband will be married 30 years.  My sister Nora, she passed away last year....she was married 5 times.  Next sister, twice, next sister 4 times, brother, 4 times, sister Evelyn, she passed away 6 years ago, she was married twice, youngest brother, twice.  So.  7 kids, and 21 in-laws.  I find that very sad.  

  7. You ask the question of whether we know anyone like grandparents. My grandpa George met my grandma Agnes when he was around 22 or 23 (not quite sure when they met - most likely my grandfather was 22 at the time) and my grandmother was probably 19. They met through mutual friends: an army buddy of my grandpa's, Gil, had a girlfriend, Margaret (and later wife - they were another one of those long-lasting couples)...and she and my grandma were friends. Margaret didn't want my grandpa anywhere near my grandma. He was a "ladies' man" and she didn't want my poor sweet grandma to get her heart broken. Well....they were married until death parted them (my grandpa died in 2008): 3 months shy of 62 years. They got married in December 1946 and my mother came along in May 1947.

    I hope that my husband and I take after them rather than my parents (or his parents, even though they're still married).