I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell – mine sell out!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Hitched"

When I was in elementary school, kids got married on the playground during recess.  These weren’t lasting marriages since the same kids might marry someone else the next day, but it was a fun game they played. “They” played since nobody proposed to me and I was forever the bridesmaid and never the bride.  I’ll admit it, I felt left out and unloved, but I kept attending the weddings.  Even then I noticed blondes got more husbands.  Sigh.

When I was in high school, I expressed my lingering feelings of rejection to my pals before school one day.  “I’ll marry you!” Mike said.  So we had a wedding ceremony where Tom was best man and Mary Jane was bridesmaid and Leanne officiated.  Or something like that.  We didn’t have rings, so Mike gave me a cigarette lighter as a symbol of our lasting love.  He was a very good husband and sent me anniversary cards.  This was especially funny when I was in college and living with a different guy who didn’t understand why Mike’s anniversary card was prominently displayed on the mantle.  I have to admit my first husband was my best, and handsome too.

(Here I am deleting some ranting about the husband I legally married and divorced…)

When Grandma was alive, there was one version of history – Grandma’s.  It was an accurate history, but somewhat selective.  I’d play with antique games and puzzles on the floor of the porch, sunlight streaming in through the fan-shaped windows, and listen to a running genealogical history of people I knew and didn’t know, but to whom I was somehow related to in clearly defined strands of matriarchal DNA.  I loved listening to her rambling patter.  Grandpa was a pleasant presence in his red Naugahyde wingback chair, sometimes assisting with puzzles or reading, but certainly not talking.  Grandma did enough of that for both of them.

When Grandma died, I suddenly grasped that Grandpa actually had lots to say – and his versions of things weren’t as pristine as Grandma’s.  I knew she had divorced her first husband, but in my mind Grandma and Grandpa’s courtship and wedding must’ve been a virginal union of higher beings in a period of time when well-bred people behaved in a proper manner at all times -- but Grandpa had a roguish glint in his eye when he talked about taking Grandma on a trip to Niagara Falls before they were married.  I was afraid to ask what the sleeping arrangements were.  They’d been dating a while when he announced he was going on his annual trip to Tennessee to visit family.  Grandma said “I’m going with you”, and Grandpa said “No way!  I’m not taking an unmarried divorcee to stay with my parents!”  She said “Fine, we’ll get married on the way.”  Grandpa didn’t stand a chance.  They drove to Grandma’s mother’s house, woke up the minister, and got hitched before lunch and continued their very long drive to Tennessee.

It seemed like a good marriage to me.  She fed him good things and made him fat, and he was a good provider even through the Great Depression.  They were married in 1930 and stayed married until her death in 1985.  Second time’s the charm, right Grandma?  I don’t think I want to know if their marriage was less than perfect, but maybe if I understood more of their lives, I would understand more of what I should do with mine?  We don’t really learn anything from the honeymoon.  We learn from the marriage.

I didn’t get a honeymoon with Mike.  We just eloped like Grandma and Grandpa.  I got flowers and felt loved, but we lost touch after a while, which I admit was my fault.  I couldn’t bear saying goodbye when our lives took different directions.  I hope if he’s married, he found a woman who deserves him.

20 comments:

  1. What a sweet story about your "first husband" and a lovely friendship. Had this wedding business played out in my elementary school, I would not even have been a bridesmaid. I kept to myself mostly. The whole world of children is so strange, thinking back.

    Great story about your grandparents. I suppose he was happy being the quiet one, but perhaps was glad to have a chance to have his say when his wife was gone. Sometimes I imagine what kind of life my grandparents had, what times were like - it's practically like thinking about a different planet, my goodness. Not just technology but medicine and other things we take for granted.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Grandparents are in another world. My mother gave me a packet of information from my grandparents - a letter of guardianship, notes from a trial, pictures of my grandfather young. It was a story none of the grandkids knew - he came back from WWI shell-shocked and she had to sue the government for his pension. Amazing that they grew together into the loving couple I knew.

    I've written a novel about their lives. If I ever get an agent, I hope I can share it. Meanwhile, thank you Linda for sharing your memory!

    BTW, I got married to a boy in 6th grade. His name was Terry too and we were friends for a long time. I saw him at a class reunion, happily married to his high school sweetheart.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bittersweet... thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the fact that the kid sent Anniversary cards. How hilarious. All I got on the playground was a kick in the ear.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sweet stories all around... and a little sad too. I will admit to having had a few playground weddings of my own. It was okay for elementary kids to practice polygamy apparently. Don't feel bad. My school was pretty devoid of blondes. And I never got any anniversary cards.

    "We don’t really learn anything from the honeymoon. We learn from the marriage." That is one of the wisest things I've heard in a LONG time!

    Great illustration as always!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice Illustration--Loved the stories!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a charming story! Aww, I love the memory of your grandparents. And the story of your "first husband' is so cute! Wonderful illustration. Glass is so hard in ink, but you rendered it beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very mysterious illustration, here. Interesting and suggestive composition- Is the other person intentionally cropped out?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Another wonderful story and illustration, Linda. A schoolyard marriage! I cried when he gave you the cigarette lighter. So touching.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love those vampish nails Linda...are they yours...? What great stories you tell, they never cease to make me laugh. Have a great week,
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks everybody! That is my hand, but those are not my nails. I never listened to my sister who kept telling me "fingernails are not tools!" Sure they are? I didn't consciously crop out the other person, but maybe there's something subliminal in my thoughts? My first draft of this post had a lot more to do with divorce than marriage, but I like the happy memories better.

    Good luck with your book Terri!

    Thanks for the follows Dewi and Adrienne!!! My apologies if I'm missing someone in thanking for a follow because the number went up, but I can't see who I might've missed. I appreciate all of you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. these nails are wonderful! and what an inspiring post!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Linda...your posts *never* cease to amaze me...they have all the warmth, intimacy, humor and pathos of sitting down to a cup of tea and a big plate of chocolate chip cookies with a dear, dear friend, one I've known forever. I've done a lot of moving around in my 59 years, and never been very good at staying consistently in touch, but your posts always fill my innate human need for communion, connection and friendship...even though we've never actually met. It's a rare writing gift that you have...thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What an amazing articulator and story teller you are Linda. I love how you intertwined the fantasy with the real. So do you still remember your anniversary date?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like your illustration; and wondered about the significance of the total female hand and the absence of the male hand.

    What a sweet story. Like your other readers, I find myself entranced with your candor and ability to "tell it" just right. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I wish I did remember my anniversary date. I'd send Mike a card if I could find him :) Thanks for all the wonderful comments!! I'll put on the tea kettle any time you're in Cleveland Susan!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I always love reading your stories and memories from the past. This certainly is a delightful honeymoon story even though there wasn't any honeymoon in it. Not for your first marriage and not for your grandmother's second. But I think you are right, honeymoons don't teach us anything, but the rest of our lives do with all their ups and downs.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Such a lovely story!
    I can imagine you still think about Mike, ever thought about trying to find him (using social media)? Maybe he is living just around your corner ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I haven't found Mike yet. I found someone with the same name in the phone book, but I guess that was the wrong guy. Some day I'll find him though! Thanks Brigitte!

    ReplyDelete