A Family at Last
When I began writing my memoir during the summer of 2012, I asked Linda 6 questions about our first few years together, the good and the bad. At that time, we did not know cancer was spreading throughout her body. (I’ll share her response to one of my questions at the end of this writing.)
Reflecting back over the 50 years we shared together—and more specifically the first 4 years—we agreed that we lived a fairy tale life, and we both wanted our family to know our love story, how it grew, and how we overcame the challenges we faced. It was the right time to reflect on our beautiful relationship and share those experiences with others. Unknowingly, we had chosen the perfect time to rekindle the flames that we experienced in our childhood. We laughed, we cried, and after 50 years of being together, we were still in love. I thought it would never end. After all—we were soul mates living the fairy tale life.
When we talked about those days, it seemed we both remembered the bigger picture, but the minor details were sometimes different. For me, one of the most important questions was her memory of the day we met after not seeing each other for more than a year. We both had moved on…or so it seemed. During that time, Linda found someone new and she was engaged to be married. I was in a chaotic relationship with a girl a couple of years older than I was and I knew it wouldn’t last—it was disaster-prone and doomed from the beginning. Our son, John, was born that summer. My mother gave birth to a baby boy (Jeffrey Allen) on Valentine’s Day the same year—she was 37. It was odd having a brother, and a son, born only months apart.
Linda printed her response to my question on line-less paper. I have not edited her words, but I have added punctuation and corrected minor spelling for easier reading…I mostly cried while typing out her memories. (I will post a segment of my written chapter in a later blog.)
My question: What do you remember about the first time we met after our son was born?—
Our son was born on June 15th, 1965. In the late spring of 1966, I was working as head waitress at a Big Boy restaurant. You had called me after not seeing each other since a year. You wanted to see me to talk.
I told you to come to my work. I put my hair in a French twist and sprayed it blonde that day. You hated my hair up and didn’t want me to wear makeup.
I was working my shift and one of my managers told me a really cute guy in a black Chevy wanted to talk to me. I went out to car-hop outside and there you were waiting. My stomach was flipping. (I loved you so much and thought it was over between us.) You asked me to go for a ride so we could talk. I was engaged to another guy. So I had very mixed feelings. I agreed to go if my manager would let me off for an hour. She said ok. We went to Stoney Creek park in Utica, parked the car. You started talking, telling me how much you loved me and missed me and wanted to marry me. I said I am engaged. You said, “Marry him, then when I am 18 in January you can divorce him.” Oh my God I loved you so much. Then you kissed me and I knew what I had to do.
I went back to work. You left, promised to call. I broke off my engagement. My heart was with my son’s father and I knew it was right. You didn’t see our son until his first birthday, it was a wonderful day for me. A family at last.
In loving memory—Tevie