After I completed Basic Training, I came back to Syracuse, of course. I stayed for a very short time at James and Lodi. Our old flat had been taken, but the landlady had a little one bedroom place that was way up in the attic, angled ceilings and all but it was a place to stay until I got something else. I think I had left what few personal belongings I had with her when I left. I have no idea of what I did with my car. In the spring of 1959, I had traded the Plymouth in for a 1955 Packard. It was a 4 door sedan so more spacious than the Plymouth. I have no idea of where it was, or how I retrieved it. I got it back though, so that was all that matters.
I did find a place to live. It was the upstairs of a duplex at 204 Cannon Street. I recently did a Google search for the address and there is nothing but grass there now. Burned down, torn down, who knows? The neighborhood was an older one in 59, I guess you could call it blue-collar. Last time there maybe 25 years ago during a visit to Marge’s sister Pat, we drove around there. Peeling paint, poverty, depressing, no-income, I never went back.
The flat was unfurnished, though it did have a kitchen with a stove and a refrigerator. both were ancient even then. The refrigerator was a GE with a monitor top which is our image today. Remember them? Probably not. The heat exchange coil was located in a circular housing on the top of the refrigerator body. I actually found some for sale on eBay and one in working condition with all original shelves, etc. was asking $3000. Sounds a lot, but when you discount for about 80 years of inflation, probably equal to what it cost new. The stove was ancient as well. It stood on 4 legs, I think they were sort of a pea soup green shade. The nice thing about this design was that the burners and oven were at the same height and you did not have to stoop. Of course, there was nothing but empty space underneath so that design was discarded for the style we have today, with the oven under the burners. Saved space of course. How efficient.
What was not efficient was the coal stove for the flat. We had one when I was in Dannemora and I knew the basics. Mostly though, when I got home, the fire had gone out and I had to build a fresh one. It was heating good by the time I went to sleep and had to bank it but was difficult to keep going while I was at work. Hope I never see another one again.
There was no furniture, but Marge’s mother said she would send us some furniture she did not use much if I would pay for moving. Sounded like a good deal to me, so I did that and we had the basics of our own flat, all to ourselves. Of course, Marge was still at S.U. and she had to live in a dorm.
The whole concept of my own apartment brought a subdued thrill. I had my own full time job, not a summer one, my own apartment, albeit blue collar working class, not freshly new in the suburbs, but I felt independence from my past. Of course, Marge and I were not a”we” in the strictly legal term. In our minds,our souls even, if there are really such, we were a “we”. Marge was all I ever wanted, even if I did not know that I had such a deep want. How could anything get better than that, or so I believed and wished for.
Marge’s mother, Dorothy, had sent a couch/day-bed and I guess I slept on it until we got a bed.
Our first disagreement, what kind of a bed did we want. Since we were both tall a king size was easily agreed on. BUT, Marge wanted one firmness, and I wanted another and we went back and forth on this quite a bit. We were definitely keeping the bed after we got married, so we wanted to get one we each liked.
An enterprising salesman came up with a solution I had never seen before, and never since. The store sold what they called a swing-frame bed. This was composed of two different king sized singles that were attached to the single headboard with a hinge at each end. The single beds had Industrial sized zippers on the edges so they could be zipped apart for changing linen cleaning, flipping etc., then zipped together to form a king size bed each side with the firmness each of us desired.
Why do I blather on about bed design? Well, it solved the immediate problem, and of course we were both very anxious to try it out in situ, as it were. Beyond that, there was an object lesson that we did not learn. To Wit: if we have a disagreement, lets discuss what each of us wants in a civilized manner and find an option that works for both of us. It this case, there was a helpful salesman who offered a solution neither of us had been aware of. The swing frame. So….it was really a win-win-win situation where each party got what they wanted, Marge,I, and the salesman.
If we had only remembered this when at later times we got into inter-personal conflicts, we might have avoided a lot of un-necessary stress.
I do not have anything of Marges from that exact period to share. However, I do have an English paper she wrote for a class in April 1959 in a stream of consciousness style. I will share some of that with you.
He sleeps so deeply… why his forehead is even damp! those little boys I used to care for slept just that way. They always seemed to have a ray of light upon them–bright in the way that Gabriel or Michael must be…I wonder how he looks when he sleeps. an eagle, soaring and carrying flame, that was the only way to describe him…he was like a flashing stream in the sunlight–but there was depth to him too. The waters of this slumbering one surprises me at times, with their depth. Funny for one who knows so much and is so sensitive, he never will speak of it. I never know what he’s thinking.
So true, so true, that opposites attract. Look at those two–bright haired, dark haired, slim and quick, solid and steady. The one infatuated with people–the other barring the door of his soul to them. Yet they were drawn together, the dark to the bright. I am not sure that he truly understands himself–can darkness ever comprehend why brightness must be bright?…I tried to make him mine, tried to make an eagle whose whole abode was the free heaven and keep him in the cage of myself.
The bright eagle was a herald, crying that the lord was to come. The hearld is dear because of the message he bore–but the lord is come, and is a treasure beyond value. Most precious is he; so lovely sleeping beside me……….
( A young woman is sitting beside her sleeping beloved, and she begins to think about the man, a good friend of the other, whom she had been in love with once; and whom she had idealized. She discovers herself comparing the two men, and her thoughts show that even though she ‘idolizes’ the one, the loves the other. Finally he wakes up, and in response to his question she brushes off her thoughts as… ‘nothing.)
So now, separated by the dark and ever shifting black clouds of death, the unknown depths of the waters of the hereafter, I am trying to speak off that which I did not speak before. Possibly they are being heard.
Wow, I at one time considered myself a writer… I read of what you both have wrote, you now in the present and Margery way back then, and know that I was right in my self assessment that a Writer I was NOT. I still wish I never threw away the book I wrote though. Oh about you, very neat, you make be “feel” like I was living right alongside you in that time.
Thank you Al, I really appreciate your feedback. You have hit on what I am trying to do, invite the reader to get on their time machine with me, and Marge, we we all travel back in a time that is long gone, but really not that long ago.