Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, July 18, 2011

It started with ...

(June 1947)

... a first grandchild. That was me. A first grandchild on both sides of the family. So it was a big deal - as it is with every first grandchild. The picture shows 4 generations of my mom's family. Me on my mom's lap, her father on the left and his mother on the right.

Mom was a beautiful woman. Dad always said she was beautiful as a young woman. In the pictures and movies I have seen of her from that time I think she resembles Ingre Berman.

(September 1943)
And Dad was a handsome young man. Dark with a boyish look to him. I can definitely see his charm and attraction in this picture. I am sure they made a beautiful couple. Of course in this picture my mom was 17 1/2 years old and dad was 26. World War II was still going on. She looked older than 17. The age difference seems a bit large from our perspective now - maybe not so much then. And she appears to have a drink in her hand. Guess the age restriction for alcohol consumption was started much later. I know mom graduated from high school at 16 as a result of skipping 2 grade levels and was working in Manhattan when she met my dad.

I was born just before their first Anniversary. I didn't hear much about their first years together. There aren't that many pictures either. Mom's marriage to dad was difficult. Details are not important now, but during that time her choices were limited. She was married for life, and her family and religion would permit no other choice.

Don't get me wrong! Both my parents were wonderful people in their own ways. They both loved me - the few pictures I have show that clearly. But dad had problems, and it made living with him harder and harder as the years past. From the point when my own memories are established, I don't remember them ever "happy". And yet, I know they loved each other ... even when things were very bad. Before my dad died in 1970, mom was the one holding the family together. She was the one who was our constant! And yet, while I sat with her in the funeral home waiting to pick out a casket for my dad, I remember her clearly saying ... "How will I do without him? Do you think he knew that I loved him?"

My mom's life was never easy those 24 years she was married, but she made a commitment. Knowing how she lived, struggled and sacrificed, I am not sure I could have made the same choice.

But these pictures show hope and possibilities. I believe it shows love. It is how most unions begin.

It is how my story began.

7 comments:

  1. Different mind set in those days. You worked through problems instead of running away from them. (of course, there are some things that leave you no choice)

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  2. I love old pictures! I have one of my parents when Mom was 13 and Dad was 20 (before they ever thought of dating!) that always makes me teary eyed.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this and seeing the beautiful pictures. I look forward to reading part II! Julie

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  4. Sound like you know some history as to the root of their issues. Both your parents are very attactive. I would not have seen the age difference. Your Dad appears to be happy, your Mom does not.

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  5. Not everyone can make those choices. Not everyone can live to their vows - in happiness and in sadness, in sickness and in health. Does the commitment mean stay when we are unhappy? I think commitment meant and still means to try beyond belief. To not give up.
    Great post

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  6. great photos. isn't it amazing how different the times are now? people walk away from a marriage after a month or so.

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  7. I would imagine that the age difference had a bit to do with it. I know it did for my wonderful MIL and, in all honesty, for myself. But, I do appreciate your hopeful post. Even in the midst of struggles there can still be love.

    I also loved the photo with your great-grandmother. She looks pretty happy. It is so rare to find photos from that time with women of her age who smiled for the camera.

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