Monthly Archives: February 2013

Another married couple’s love story

Standard

This is a neat story about a bachelor teacher who worked at an inner

city Cleveland elementary school and a divorced mother of three kids

who also happened to teach (college).

They were talking sometimes at coffee hour after church once a week.

They talked about his running and her children’s soccer teams. Both

enjoyed music. She played the piano and flute and he had played the

trombone. They had been ‘burned’ in love and relationships before,

which showed in the hesitancy in their conversations.

The two quiet people were planning an activity for the church teens.

They were excited to be co-chaperones for the teen “lock up” night.

They both lived in Westlake, Ohio about twenty-five years ago.

The church they attended was the Bay Village Episcopal Church

called St. Barnabas.

There is nothing more bonding than staying up all night talking!

They could not seem to stop, even when some of the teens nodded

off!

They both found that they had gone to schools on the East coast.

He had attended Cornell University and she had attended Princeton.

They liked books, theatre, Christianity and were open to other faiths.

She particularly enjoyed studying and learning about Native American

tribes. She had taught her college students some of their folklore and

customs.

The 2 of them loved being outside and engaging in outdoor activities.

She said sometime maybe he could watch one of her daughter’s soccer

games or they go on a hike together. He suggested maybe they could go

to Punderson Lake or Mohican to canoe, rowboat or float on rafts with

her kids as chaperones.

She was not so keen about wearing a bathing suit on a first date!

As the night flew by, they continued to go deeper into their thoughts and

started to talk about basic core values. They both felt faithfulness was

very important. They both found honesty, sharing family times, and other

important values they had in common.

They were married two years later in the Episcopal church. They had

her three children take part in the ceremony and his two nieces and a

nephew get involved. Some were candle bearers/lighters, some were

acolytes and the littlest four year old niece was the flower girl. The man

had his best friend from high school stand up for him while the woman

had her best friend, like an older sister, be her matron of honor.

All went smoothly and their love has grown for 25 years, with 5 years

of cross northern Ohio travels, while he taught at BGSU and she taught

at Baldwin Wallace. They are back on the same home front with a big

sigh of relief!

They continue to show others through their faith, charity, love and

trustworthiness, how a great marriage acts!

 

The man who called me ‘ugly’

Standard

I once knew a man who had been kept in a basement, with

his 2 brothers where they had their beds, dressers and a door

to the outside. This would have been cool, growing up like

a team with them, but they were not allowed upstairs on the

cream carpet their stepmom had chosen to have laid once she

married their father.

There is a strange and sad story here. The 3 boys and their real

mother were out on a day that may have seemed like paradise to

some wild kids. They got to climb around on the country hills

and play. They picked daisies and dandelions and gave their

mother these. They broke sticks into ‘guns’ and played cowboys

and Indians. They also had a picnic lunch when their mother

took a break from her artistic passion. She was painting a pastoral

scene with some charming boys playing, ages 3, 5 and 7 years old.

This man’s mother was what was termed Bohemian. She could also

pass as a hippie, with her long, dark hair flowing and her long skirt.

She was different from their father, who was an executive with his

white shirt, tie and suit. This disparity in their lifestyles would be,

unfortunately, the end of their stories together.

I am not being dramatic, but I almost wrote the “death of their marriage”

but I did not want people to jump to conclusions before they finished the

story!

Once the day was setting on this particularly enjoyable day, the man

whose memory is being told said it would set on the life he knew from

then on.

When the 3 boys, art easel, paints and picnic basket were packed into

the station wagon, they headed home. Once home, the mother saw that

her husband was home. She felt that it would be acceptable to clean up

first, then follow with the 3 boys getting their baths. They were filthy and

disheveled. She would then follow with a good meal. She presented this

schedule to her husband and off she went to the bathroom.

When she came out of the bathroom, she immediately noticed a resounding

quiet. It was eerie. She went out and looked around, no boys nor husband.

This was the last time the boys would see their mother until the eldest son

reached 18 years old, found through a school counselor a private eye to

investigate.

The man I knew was the middle son, he was happy and seemed adjusted to

the life with his father and stepmother. He was not so interested in his

brother’s search. He had never questioned the fact that his mother had

been the one who deserted them.

When she was found, their mother was in Texas, she had another husband

and a son, their half brother. The eldest son believed the whole story that

SHE told him. He had the loving memories much more clearer. He also had

felt their mother’s love and knew that she would not have deserted them.

I got to meet my ex-boyfriend’s mother and hear her compelling story.

Her version: their father took the boys, she got an investigator and was not

able to find the boys. He had moved from where they had lived to another part

of Cincinnati, Ohio. She stayed in their city for five years, checking schools

and similar workplaces. She was totally devastated. She sent letters and cards

to the address that had been HER family for an entire year…. The post office

said they forwarded them but could not tell her the present address.

Once seen, the mother got all three addresses and tried to stay in touch via

phone and letters. They were 18, 16 and 13 when her eldest son reached out to

contact her. He had found something in his father’s drawer, a stack of unopened

letters!

She tried valiantly to overcome their feelings of abandonment. She also traveled

to visit them from Texas, hauling years of stored gifts. She begged for photos to

help her to fill in the gaps in their lives.

She got close to the oldest and the youngest. Those two men live in the same

area of Texas now and are weekly visitors to their mother and stepfather’s

home.

When I caught up with this man, 27 years from when I met him (1985), I

was hoping that he had had a change of heart. He had been the middle child

who stuck by his father and stepmother. He was cold when I asked him about

his brothers and mother. He told me his mother was over 250 pounds and he

could not believe she was still living. He said that he had his father and his

wife moved close to him, helped them to settle up in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. He

did not remember that his father had declared me “ugly” upon meeting me.

His father considered his son, my ex boyfriend a “catch” and thought he was

an Adonis! I tried to remind him of how he had ‘spurned’ me away.

He did not remember that his mother’s grandmother and sister had loved

me. He could only remember that we had been close for a fleeting moment

of time. He has written books, has his PhD and he has full military retire-

ment coming in five years.

I only hope that he realizes how “ugly” he appeared with his unforgiving and

unjustified judgment.

He was saying that the point of the story should be that she gave up and

did not try hard enough. I almost wept at the frozen face with the tone

so cold. I told him that she must have gone through hell and back. To

lose 3 children due to her messy lifestyle is heartbreaking. These days it

would be considered kidnapping!

Intriguing phone call

Standard

We all imagine this sometime in a relationship. Taking the phone

and dialing out all the numbers that seem suspicious! Especially

when alcohol and unusual circumstances make us doubt our

partner. Don’t they call it ‘drunk dialing?’

I got a call yesterday night that was funny more than upsetting

(at least to me!)

The woman on the other end said, right off the bat, “I am calling

all the women on my boyfriend’s cell phone contact list. I hope you

don’t mind if I ask you one question?”

I felt for her. I said, “Go ahead, I have been in some nervous or jealous

moments considering the same action you are doing now.”

She started to cry. She said I was so “kind and understanding.” I wanted

to ask her questions but knew if she were to volunteer information that

it might complicate the situation.

I ended up saying, “Might as well blurt it out!”

The distraught woman asked in her quavery voice, “Have you just recently

started seeing someone?” I said, “No, but you must have a follow up

question now!” She said, “If you just gave your phone number within the

past two weeks, don’t trust the man! I have been in a 9 month relationship.

From time to time I check my boyfriend’s cell phone while he is busy or in

the shower.”

She concluded, “Now, suddenly there are five new women’s phone numbers

added to his list.”

Again, I could feel her pain. Been there, done that.

I was not sure it would be appropriate to share that, though. I just tried to end

the conversation by saying, “I hope you find the person that you feel is the guilty

party. Believe me, ‘where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire!'”

I wondered aloud too, “I hope the person that has my phone number got it

from my art work card being posted somewhere or somehow this man is a

friend of mine from work, and he needed my phone number. I also live in

an apartment building downtown that gets plowed first and I have been known

to drive people home to and from work, if they need a ride.”

The woman said, “I don’t want to say my boyfriend’s name, it would probably

get back to him, this way, hopefully the warning is out there in the cosmos

that the man may be already in a relationship.”

Have any of you done something along this line? How would you feel if you

were looking at your significant other’s phone and noticed several new

numbers? Would you have hung up on this crazy woman at the moment she

reached out to you?

Lu’s 26 year marriage

Standard

I have a really down to earth coworker that says things as

she thinks them. Sometimes, no filter used at all! I enjoy her

but get frustrated also when it is about religion, politics, or some

other subject that we are polar opposites on!

So, when I was retelling one of my recent love stories about two

women who love each other completely at the break room table

I was prepared for a lot of her spouting opinions or in one simple

word, her “guff.”

But to my surprise, she asked would I like to hear how she met her

husband of 26 years? I was pleased and looked forward to the change

of subject!

Lu was in her twenties when her sister and friends would go to a roller

skating rink together. It was fun on some days, Lu recounted, because the

music would be rock and roll, on others the featured music would be oldies

that would encompass a lot of ‘slow dance’ music. She enjoyed this because

Lu admitted she was awkward on roller skates.

One night, I will call this the “Shall we dance?” night, Lu was stumbling

along and trying to speed up her pace when someone glided past her with

finesse! She glanced at the young man’s face, then she told us, she looked

down. She was in the habit of this, she was even scolded by her mother for

not looking people directly in the eyes!

The man came around again, but slowed as he passed her. Lu again raised

her eyes and looked to her left and he was looking back at her! She said that

she stopped roller skating and headed towards the edge. She saw her sister

and waved at her. She asked her if she wanted to have a snack? Her sister

said, “No, I have my eyes on someone and I want to see if he notices me.”

Lu followed the direction of her sister’s eyes and saw the man who she

had noticed also.

Now Lu paused, she said that she was an “ugly duckling” compared to her

more petite sister. She felt she was too tall, too gangly and too pimply! (She

had a lot of pimples!)

Lu told her sister, “Well, go for it! I am going to get something to eat at the

snack counter. She went into the area and was looking up at the menu and

without even a minute of being there, her man had followed her! He was by

her elbow!

He told her his name was Ted and asked if she wanted to dance? The song

Lu and Ted danced to was the already ten year old song from the movie,

“Flashdance.” That song is, “What a Feeling,” sung by Irene Cara. She

made the couples’ dance that night. They still think of that as “their song.”

She proudly told us, ‘cutting to the chase!’ I married that man!

His name is Ted and he is such a good man. He stuck by our family through

a lot of hard times where some men would give up. We all have worked there

less than 5 years while Lu has worked there for 20 years so we all don’t know

each other’s stories or backgrounds.

Lu proceeded to tell us that her daughter was very young when she got leukemia.

She thought it was going to be the death of their marriage because she had to take

her all the time to doctor’s appointments. There were lots of bills getting stacked

up and they fell behind on a lot of them.

Lu said that her daughter, Theresa, was crying so much at the babysitter’s house

and in kindergarten that Lu felt she had to quit her job.

Lu stayed home, took Theresa to school, took her to the doctor’s and just

was a wreck emotionally. There were several fights a week over money and

also she says she is embarrassed to tell us, that Ted thought she was spoiling

Theresa!

Lu was blunt: “Our sex life went down to nil, nada, nothing!” I could not

even kiss him and think of Ted in a romantic sense. She was totally ready for

his announcement that he wanted a divorce! She had a sister who had been

divorced and he had had a brother who got divorced so they were acquainted

with the danger of it. These family members had sought extramarital affairs

to add fuel to the fire.

But the announcement never came! Theresa went into remission and Lu and

Ted are happily married for 26 years “and counting” she added!

Another Love Story

Standard

I met Sandy at a nursing home in 1994, so next year it will

have been a twenty year friendship. She is a nurse who comes

across as a stern, strict, and ‘no fooling around’ kind of gal. I

loved her because she really took charge and made a difference

in the wing that she would be assigned. My activity assistant and

I would give her a list of the residents that were going out the

next day and she made sure that they were up, had eaten and

had the nursing assistants dress them in presentable, “going

out” clothes.

One day, after a long but fun trip to the Park of Roses, I found

Sandy on the back patio, with her feet up and drinking a diet

cola. She was very friendly and asked questions about our outing.

I thanked her, as I usually did, for her great efforts to help us have

a successful activity, no matter what it was.

She sighed, told me that she and her good friend had just bought a

house together. She was looking content, a little bit more happier

than I had ever seen her. She then told me a beautiful love story

between her and an antiques auctioneer.

They had lived up the hill from this very nursing home, neighbors

on different schedules. She was coming in at night and her neighbor

would be leaving. She said that they started talking about having coffee

sometime together. They commented on each other’s choice of pets.

Sandy has had golden retrievers and her friend had cats.

Her friend was a hippie at heart with some natural roots. You could tell

from Sandy’s tone and her demeanor that she was very enthralled with

the memory of their romance.

Sandy described their meetings as like strangers across a room. Only they

would pass each other for many months before they started to hang out

and fit their schedules together. Sometimes talking while one was getting

in their car to leave.

On their first time to share a cup of coffee together, Sandy had her dog come

along as a guest. The golden retriever, Aspen, took to one of the host cats,

Serena, right away. The two new friends looked at each other smiling, she

commented, with such a fond smile on her face.

I wanted to hear more! I felt very lucky that Sandy, who seemed so distant

while working, was warming up to tell me their story.

They had several visits filled with great talks, good discussions, and intense

debates. Sandy is a Democrat and she has been an EMT which created

more conversations. Her new friend was a Republican and from a devout

Christian background. Sandy had tried a marriage with someone whose

family was like this new friend’s. Sandy and her ex-husband had served

in the Air Force.

Sandy explained that relationship ‘fizzled before it ever sparked.’ It was more

of a ‘trial and error’ situation. She tried and it was a mistake!

Sandy said she and her new partner were both private people. They did not

think about any kind of future or consequences from getting to know each

other.

They would joke when they would call to see if the other were busy, “Hey, do

you want the pet parade to begin?”

Sandy was from Cleveland, a big city girl (Parma, Ohio) and thought they

could be more open and free once they got to know each other.

Suzie was from a farm in a county close by and she was very much raised by

strict parents. If there were ever a love affair, it would have to be behind

closed doors.

After over a year, some changes were noticeable between the two friends.

It had become more than what looked like a long friendship. Sandy said

one night they were watching a movie, when they leaned sideways towards

each other. They held hands and Sandy swears a ‘spark flew across our

shoulders where they touched.’

Jumping forward to the middle years that I knew this couple, I would approach

them in restaurants sitting on opposite sides of the table. Each would stand and

I would hug each one of them.

This simple public display of affection (PDA) is unusual because this was not

in the fabric of their relationship. They were discreet but intense lovers. There

was a time that Sandy said, “My breath caught in my throat when I saw her

lying in my bed. I never imagined this to be so, but our love is a true and faithful

one.”

Sandy and Suzie have a beautiful life together. They enjoy decorating their yard

at Halloween with graves, skeletons and haunted images. They spend hours

setting it all up. They enjoy the children coming up to get their treats. They are

thrilled when they get to know them from year to year. There sometimes is a

wistful tone when they talk about children. I think that they both wish there

could have been more than the pets.

Their home is in a nice neighborhood, kept well with beautiful trees, a privacy

fence for their current dogs and cats to roam around in. They decorate it all

with unique talent for every season and I enjoy the Christmas decorations the

most. Suzie has placed many special antiques throughout the home with a

few natural and rustic details also.

My Mom has met this couple a few times. She is very open minded and says

they remind her of the days that she would visit her “maiden aunts.” They

were not related, Mom remembers, just lived together in harmony. Her own

mother, my grandmother, would say, “That couple makes others feel so good

just to be around them!”

My mother says she was an adult of over 26 years when it hit her like a bolt of

lightning! She now says, “That’s when I realized they were gay!”

Sandy works at another nursing home and is more stout than when I met her

and Suzie is still thin with long, flowing hair.  Each wears a wedding band on

their left hand with no official document to prove its meaning.

They have what I want: unconditional love.

Touchy Subject

Standard

I could have started by saying this is also a weighty subject!

Weight is such a sore subject!

I have taken to carrying around a picture of myself from when I was in my heavier

form. I went through a rough time during my late forties and it was not until a doctor

said I would have to start taking an anti cholesterol medicine if I didn’t lose twenty

pounds that I even thought about taking action.

(With a remonstration that if that didn’t work, I would have to lose another

twenty the following year.)

I show this picture to my latest online dates, saying a little white lie, “Here is a

picture of my dear sister.”

I love to wait to see what the man says. A recent man said, “I don’t see the

family resemblance.” The next man said, “Is this your twin that hates to stand

next to you when she gets in the family photograph?”

When I said, “This is me!” The first man apologized. I then explained that it was

taken while I had been going through the “change” and that I was also juggling

teaching five days a week, going to college to complete my Master’s and waiting

tables at Cracker Barrel to save my home and marriage. The next thing he responded

back with was, “Did you sample the food there too much?”

That irritated me, “No, I would have one corn meal for a seven hour shift as my

reward for working 2 jobs from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m.” I would add, “Have you

ever heard of stress cortisol? That is weight that gathers in the middle due to your body

experiencing stress. I didn’t even drink beer or overeat to gain almost forty pounds

in two years!”

The second man got a little more of the backtalk than the first. It upsets me because

in the picture I am holding my newborn first grandson, Skyler, and my smile is so

big! I look happy, in my opinion! My daughter, Skyler’s mother, says I look ‘radiant’

when she reviews all of my early grandma pictures.

My Mom, on the other hand, (I can now crack up and laugh about this!) gave me

an entire CASE of Slim Fast for my gift on Mother’s Day during this period of time.

Even my ex-husband chuckled during those years because she would (seriously,

I am not kidding nor lying!) give me two Rye Krisp crackers and a piece of low

calorie mozzarella cheese while preparing appetizers and hors’ d’oerves fit for a

king or queen during the holidays.

Well, needless to say, I decided to kick butt! I was no longer going to eat those

stupid replacement snacks, take the darn meds or listen to my own already

crazy depressed lectures in my head. My goal the first year was to lose twenty

pounds. We would hope that was enough to get the cholesterol reading to drop!

My teaching assistant, Karen, and I decided to eat mini meals of proteins with

veggie snacks. We loved eating celery with low fat ranch dressing and cheese,

along with turkey or sliced beef. We would pull these out while the kids drank

their milk and ate their cookies, rice crispy squares or other things served at our

school. We would always grab two extra milks and drank those also.

All the way to school and back, (forty minutes one way) I would take my extra

large water bottle and lift and lunge with it while holding the wheel with the

other hand. I would lean forward, tucking my belly in. I would crunch my butt

at least 100 to 200 times. I would listen to loud, obnoxious rock and roll music

and while the lyrics spoke of sex in their overt way, I would picture my soon to be

svelte body.

I did not do a tailspin when we went into foreclosure due to my husband’s being

out of work for 2 and a half years. I did not go insane when the OSU Dean told me,

“You will not make it to your Master’s if you don’t take a sabbatical from teaching

and buckle down for the last fifteen credits.” I was able to maintain my composure

when both Ashland University and my alma mater, BGSU, said they could not get

me to the 2008 deadline of No Child Left Behind with a Master’s degree either.

If the worst thing that happened to me was to have to retire from preschool special

education, so be it. But, by golly, I would look good going out!

The end of the story is, I did lose forty pounds in two years. I look much thinner

and maybe not too bad now. My cholesterol dropped almost fifty points from an

all time high of 265. My teacher assistant bought and lifted five pound weights

and she was able to also lose almost that amount.

We both felt good physically but emotionally, we were basket cases!

We wept on the last day of school while clinking our espresso coffee cups together

as we had developed a seven year friendship with a five times a week tradition held

for seven years. My teaching ‘neighbor’ came over and took a picture of our morning

coffee routine that last work and cleaning the classroom day.

“We had a ‘good run’ together,'” I said. And she choked both of us up by

saying, “I won’t forget these days, they were the best there ever was!”

 

Side comment that makes it all come into perspective: The last years while I was

scrambling to save my job, my other teaching ‘neighbor’ was trying to hold onto

her life. Jean, we will always remember you and your wonderful teaching ways!

 

Being a sister from another mother

Standard

My friend, Cecilia, calls me “sister.” She and I have known

each other for almost five years. She came to America from

Cameroon. She is so loving and friendly, along with being

an amazing nurse and mother. She has a family of 4 children

and came from a family of 10 children! Her parents had 5 girls

and 5 boys! Amazing!

Cecilia went to Findlay to nursing college yet fills her other hours

with cleaning the bathrooms in Advance Auto D.C. I know she has

goals, she has grit and determination! I am filled with awe at her

energy and positive feelings given to almost all around her.

There is a story that may sound self-serving that has forever bonded

her to me. She was sitting (literally) in the cleaning closet on our day

at work we were celebrating Thanksgiving, 2008. On that day we were

having the meal catered in the break room. I went into the dining room

and got in line for my meal. When I got to the serving table, lined up

with the bigwigs in the company, I asked the CEO of our building, Scott

M. if I could take a plate to Cecilia? He answered, “They are not Advance

Auto employees, we hire them out.” I said, “Surely we could give our extra

people who bring us the food in the vending machines and the cleaning staff

some Thanksgiving dinner?”

Well, that upset me!

I ate my meal quickly and went to the closet to tell Cecilia. While there, another

friend who eats later, Lori, overheard me and came out of the stall to say, “Let

me see about that!”

Lori went to get “her” meal and brought it to Cecilia. The 3 of us were so excited

about her breaking the rules!

Cecilia called us both “sisters of another mother.”

Her son, Brian, subs for her and calls me “my other mother.”

I would like to recommend a film that is so wonderful, powerful and underrated

entitled, “Lilies of the Field.” I was all of eight years old, my brothers were six

and a half and four years old when we saw this movie. It has Sidney Poitier acting

as a handyman and luck/fate/God brings him to a farm where German nuns are

working in the fields. It shows perseverance on the part of the nuns, with a lot

of spunk thrown in by the head nun, played by Lilia Skala. It won Sidney an Oscar

award and is beautifully done.

I equate Cecilia’s determination with the nuns in this film, made in 1963. If you

haven’t checked this out, I hope you will. It is a sincere, gentle story of what

water dripping onto a rock can do with the human spirit. It has a lot of HEART

which makes it perfect for Valentine’s Day!