I need a dose of loving memories! I told you I would tell you about the impression Gene made on my family and about the traffic light proposal and today seems like a good day to do so!
When Gene came to spend a couple of days over Christmas with my family they should have guessed I was serious about this man ....but they didn't. I had never brought any man to our home to see where I had grown up or to meet my family, but they graciously received him and were very kind even finding him some Civil War books as Christmas gifts. Later I heard he wasn't very talkative nor was he very exciting, sort of dull. Oh ye of little knowledge! Think they what they may, I knew something was special here.
Skip ahead a couple of weeks to January 14, 1985 a Sunday. We had discussed such things as what Gene would name a son as well as how serious this relationship was getting very fast, and that if we got married wouldn't Thanksgiving be a great time of year to do it. I was pretty insecure and wanted a lot of reassurance that he was serious before I got major league hurt. I have always struggled with hopes and expectations and then reality didn't live up to my imagination and I didn't want that to be the case here. So Gene came by my apartment to pick me up for church and we got to the first stop light [the one on Rt 13 and Isabella Street for you local yocals!] and he stopped for the red light and turned towards me and said, "I want to say something", I looked at him and he listed off his four biggest faults, the things he judged himself most harshly about. Then he said, "you know these things and I have told them to you again just now, what I what to know is, knowing these do you still want to marry me?".....................................ooooooboy did I make him wait [I think it might have been 3 maybe 4 seconds.....YES! Oh the romance oh the memories oh the [well you name it, but the light had gone green and we proceeded to church!] But everything was different. I do not particularly remember sealing it with a kiss but I suppose we did! I don't remember going anywhere special after church--maybe I had to go to work, I don't know, but that is okay. He announced that if I did want to marry him he wanted to be married in March not next November. Later he padded a key ring and gave it to me as an engagement token [and NOW at work my insulin bottles clinked and clanked like the other married and engaged nurses!!!!] It would be 17 years and two wedding rings [I lost one but found it again much later, but not before he replaced it] before he surprised me with a ruby engagement ring. Why at 17 years of marriage you might ask? I asked the same thing and he answered, "because I thought of it"!
In March we were married and in May we attended the wedding of my sister and also introduced Gene to our family gathering spot, affectionately called the pond. My cousins lived there and all the cousins that could would gather for holidays particularly Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. We would fish, swim, catch snapping turtles, canoe and sail. And try to sink one another whether in a boat, on the raft or on a floating log. There were 14 cousins within about a 12-15 year age range. Also on the farm was a hay loft where we swang out over the tractor parts far below us and horses, always horses. Gene had heard stories and had brought his saddle along with us because he has ridden all his life, having owned one horse [named Ugly] and having a grandfather who raised, trained and bred harness racing horses. [Jellybean was a favorite] So he brought his saddle and asked Cousin Anne if he could ride her horse. She misunderstood and while carrying a bowl of macaroni salad toward the picnic area at the pond she told him she would get her daughter to catch the horse later and we would give Gene a ride with Liza leading him. I remember there being a bit of discussion and then Anne and I went down to join the group at the water's edge leaving Gene, Liza and a can with some grain in it up at the barn. Maybe 20 minutes later all were chatting and floating and fishing and down and around the farm flew Gene on fully saddled steed and riding at a gallop! Well didn't my mother's eyes light up as that rather dull fellow with nothing much to say encircled the pond and then proceeded to give everyone of the younger kids as well as any of the grown ups rides and then rode off in a gallop again, put everything away and brought his quiet little self to the picnic!
Tonight Gene's hair began to fall out in a very big way as we knew it would after the radiation treatment. This is difficult for him in addition to some pain and his gut not working properly and thus he has to keep taking some very nasty medicine so we needed a dose of happy thoughts for which
I am Thankful.....Every .......Day!