Archive for the ‘romance’ Category


A few snippets. It’s been a while.

OUTSIDE THE WINDOW of a friend’s kitchen on Monday, forsythia! She says it never stopped, the whole winter. That’s how mild it’s been.

* * *

I’VE BEEN ASKED the same question several times this week and I don’t mind one bit, but in case anyone else is wondering, here’s the answer: “Very well. His counts have returned to normal ranges.” After the weekly runs to Columbus ended in January, it slipped off main stage.

I plan to rewrite all the leukemia posts, tighten them up.

* * *

TWICE in one week I find myself in situations where I am “in my element.” It takes me by surprise, both times. I think it would nice to be able to wrap that feeling up and give it as a gift to people. It’s something a lot of people could use and I would like to tuck several instances away in my bag, to pull out and distribute, as needed. Just a random thought, that. (And gifting is not even my love language.)

* * *

ON THE LEVEE yesterday afternoon, a car pulled in so slowly I wondered if the driver was coasting on fumes. Heads barely visible above the dash. I went back to my book. But later saw they’d come to feed the ducks. An outing. A date. A bag of bread. They held hands going down and climbing back up. Sweet.

* * *

SUN creeps up earlier and earlier these days and streams across a just-made bed. Photo opp.

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THIS IS ONE OF THOSE ACTIVITIES that goes on here that nobody else sees, the plants gathered together at the kitchen sink, brought from all corners of the house.  They always seem to look healthy enough without effort, but there is this intentional tending, the every-now-and-again 15 minutes of looking-over, trimming and feeding. A small slice of time.

I think they are happiest here, close to water and light, but it’s impractical for them to remain.

Living things benefit from on-purpose attention.
We’re off to a marriage retreat this weekend. Same basic idea.

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under her grade school team photo
and prepare to address invitations.
Looking forward.

Oh, there will be
extensive pen wrestling
(until the right one is found)
and practice
on pads of paper off to the side
and then…
…then I’ll fiddle some more
before putting pen to envelope,
holding my breath.

I glance up at the photo,
looking back,
remembering afternoons spent on gymnasium bleachers.
And then I return to task.

All this looking forward and looking back,
it’s all part of the process,
an important part.

All this pen and paper
in a quiet room
at the back of the house
is part of my
and turning
and looking back
and watching for her, looking forward, to appear,
to make the long trip down a short aisle
across all the years that have gone before.

Already for me,
the sounds of that day,
the first chords.
I hear them.

I am savoring every bit of it.

You might also like the post with the CAKE PICTURES!

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Heavy traffic on Memory Lane these days. Today, a short musing.

* * *

I overheard him
talking on the phone
with his mother

after some discussion with my best friend,
we both agreed
about boys who talk nice to their mothers,
that they’ll probably be worth the keeping.

Turned out true, that. :-)

Off to visit the woman on the other end of that conversation,
mother-in-law to me near 38 years now

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Continuing on from Engagements, Real and Imagined . . .

and talking marriage.
She was noncommital.

I’m not the girl for you.
You don’t really know me.
You’d be better off with the girl from Hoboken.”

But it had broken off,
that engagement –
ring thrown back at him
and he didn’t offer it again.

She liked him well enough –
his manners,
how he looked in his uniform,
how he never criticized her drinking,
and mostly,
the way he could mix in.

“He was at ease around people
and I wasn’t.
Being on his arm
paved a way for me.”

* * *

THERE WAS the little matter
of the fellow from Philly
not heard from for so long.

to her one day
when I was a teenager
and a boy I liked was going away,
“Do you suppose it’s true, what they say,
‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’?”

she said.
“For some OTHER guy!”

Funny, how these things come back.

Word had come
from his parents.
He’d been injured in Okinawa,
and was returning to the States.

And soon after,
a letter
from a Naval Hospital near Philadelphia:
“I am badly wounded,
want nothing more than to see you,
will understand if you don’t want to visit.”

But she did visit,
every weekend
from April to August 1945.

* * *

with high hopes
of marriage,
neither getting a commitment,
both kept at bay
with protestation,
“I can make NO plans
while this war rages on.”

My biggest worry
was that one of them would discover
I couldn’t cook!”

But then the war ended
and the time had come.

* * *

THE TRAIN RIDE from DC to Philly was short
and what would she say
when she got there?

Her exact words,
forgotten now.

His response,
never forgotten.
“I know why you’re marrying that other guy.
He didn’t lose a leg.”

Nothing she said could persuade him otherwise.

“I can’t understand why anyone would write fiction
when what actually happens is so amazing.” – Nora Ephron

* * *

I have wandered a rabbit trail and gotten far afield of my original purpose in telling some of this, but wanted to tie up the loose thread for those of you who have been reading along.

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Picking up from MUDDY SHOES….

wondering if he and his friends
(mostly him)
might run into her and her friends
(mostly her)
when they came back to DC.

He just might.

Calls were brief,
long-distance and all,
not to mention the waiting line.

There was one phone
on each floor of the barracks
so when he called
on a Wednesday night,
everyone knew it.

“Man on the phone for you!
I think it’s that guy you met at the Mayflower party. Again!
What did you do? Cast a spell on him or something?”

“Shhh. Don’t be silly. Anyway, he’s engaged, I think.”
“Well, so are you!”
Minor details, these.

* * *

it came up.

There was a girl in Hoboken,

his future there,
no definite plans until after the war was over.
An agreement, that.

And there was a fellow in Philadelphia,

her future there,
no definite plans while the war raged on,
she’d insisted.

Technicalities fuzzy there,
him assuming an engagement,
not so much a case of her ever actually saying yes,
as a case of whenever he future-spoke
“so after we’re married….”
she didn’t correct him.

Tons of letters
had gone back and forth,
but then he was shipped out,
not a word from him in months.

* * *

Want to gather a bunch of girls and meet up with us?”

“I’ll ask around and see if anyone’s interested.”

Interested people
would be easy to find,
DC being an open door
for men and women in uniform,
especially on weekends,
several gatherings on each block
each one better than the last.

“One time
President Truman strolled into the USO
when we were there –
the White House just a few blocks away –
and sat down and played the piano for us!”

Yes, there were always
groups heading over to DC on a weekend.
There’d be no problem finding interested people.
That wasn’t the issue.
Something else was.

“All the girls were friendly enough.
I’d gone places with most of them,
but anyone who’d ever criticized my drinking,
that was it for them.
They were OFF my list.”

So she chose as closest friends
those who would not find fault.

(Next post in this series: RING THROWN BACK)

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at a dance
in D.C.
on a night
SHE had planned to stay in
and write letters,
rain being in the forecast
and nothing GOOD ever happening when it rains.
A firmly held belief, that.

But some girls in the barracks
cajoled her into coming out.

“You can’t just sit around all the time,
reading books and writing letters.
You’re young.
Come out,
have some fun…”.
Familiar words, those.

* * *

Scattered sprinkles turned steady
as the young women hopped onto the bus in Arlington
for the short ride across the Potomac.

And then
partway there
a cloudburst.

The bus became crowded;
the girls lost track of each other.
The hotel
whose ballroom was the site
of the evening’s activities
sat mid-block.

On the corner just before the hotel,
she got off,
but her friends didn’t.

Through the downpour
she ran to the hotel
and stepped inside
to wait for them.

* * *

HE CAME on the train,
an hour’s ride
from Quantico,
part of the sea of uniforms
that arrived in Union Station
for a night in the city,
and reached the hotel
just before the rain began

The lobby was swarming with GIs,
the party warming up.

* * *

Her umbrella,
drenched and dripping,
had been of little help.
She brushed herself off
pushed her hair back under her hat,
then caught sight of her shoes, a mess!

A Marine approached.
After all, her, standing there,
appearing to be an unescorted female.

“Looking for someone special?”

“Just some Marines I’m with, thank you”
she said, barely glancing at him,
continuing to stare out the window.

“Well, I’ve got a Marine for you!”
he said,
signaling across the room
to his group of friends
and one fellow in particular,
seeing he was being motioned over,
set down his drink,
snuffed his cigarette
and started across the carpeted lobby.

“Ah, here’s HUGHIE now. Let me introduce you.”

A nice looking fellow, she thought,
(the one approaching, that is).
Good glory, what must he think of her shoes?

“You two look like you’d make a nice couple,”
said the fast talker.
“Now I’ll leave you to get acquainted.”

Just then
through the revolving doors came her friends,
soaked and laughing,
We see you didn’t waste any time meeting someone!

“How about I get you all a drink?”
he said.

“Either you grab him or I will!” joked one of the girls.

Nice manners on him, Mom thought.
And ‘Dewey’….she’d always liked that name……

* * *

Hugh with Grandfather Albert, 1945. These are the two who made the trip to Barberton 10 years earlier. Remember that?

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