The story of how my parents got married always makes me smile every time it comes to mind. Not your every day type of proposal by any means. But first let me give you some background. Today would have been Gloria and Jimmy’s 61st wedding anniversary. He passed away in the middle of April and my Mom has said many times that she thinks my Dad’s timing was a bit off. In any case here’s the story.
My Dad was a bit of a player. He had tried to enlist several times to be part of the World War II troops, but was not accepted. That left my father free to be one of the few single young men in his home town and I heard many stories about all his dates. He had a friend Herbie that he palled around with and they sometimes had more than one date per weekend night. They felt it was their “duty” to entertain the women at home while the other men were away fighting for our freedom. Ha ha ha.
Time passed, the war ended, but my Dad was still a hot ticket. My Mom met my Dad through her friend Evie who was seeing my uncle Gay (Dad’s brother) They all went to a dance. Gloria and Jim dated on and off for over two years in the late 40’s. My mom said Jim didn’t seem very interested in getting married.
At one point she was frustrated with her job and her man, so she went on vacation with my grandmother for two weeks. They were in Miami and having such a good time, Gloria decided to stay longer. She quit her job. She met and dated many eligible bachelors and thoroughly enjoyed herself. Before she knew it, two weeks had stretch into two months! However, none of those men captured her heart like Jimmy had.
Finally it was time to return home to Connecticut and not long after she got back, my dad was buzzing the front door intercom of her apartment building. He said something like, “You’re finally back.” Gloria replied “Yes.” Jim asked, “Do you want to get married?” Gloria responded to Jimmy by saying “Yes.” Jimmy said, “Then come on downstairs and we’ll drive to Maryland right now and get married there (no waiting period for the marriage license.)
My Mom was quite surprised by this turn of events. Apparently absence does make the heart grow fonder. She looked at my grandmother wondering what to do. My grandmother gave her the nod to go.
Gloria threw some things in a bag and went off to elope with Jim. She told me that so many people told her it would never work out. “He’s not the marriage type,” they said. But my mom told me she didn’t care how long it would last. She loved him like crazy and would take the risk. They were quite a couple in love and devoted to each other right to the end when he passed on April 17th.
At the funeral service, my Mom spoke about what a great husband Jim had been. He wasn’t big on saying I love you or remembering birthdays. But in her words “He showered me with gold and diamonds, travel, parties, and unwavering love and support” through their nearly 61 years.
Real love is out there, and even if you can’t have 60 years with someone, whatever time you can share can be so enriching to your life. I hope you will consider Jimmy and Gloria’s story and do what you can to find that kind of committed love for yourself. I found committed and enriching love after 40, which is why I know you can do it to. (My 12th wedding anniversary is tomorrow May 5th)
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.