Writing is an unnatural act, as Charles Darwin observed. It is so for me as it was for him. I remember living in Binghamton when Ingrid was 3 years old. We both enjoyed taking a stroll down Leroy street. One day in Spring of 65 while we were walking, a small dog (small to me) crossed our path. Ingrid said with the firmness of a 3-year-old “I don’t like dogs, and I don’t like bugs.” Short simple, and properly constructed in English. We all have to work hard to write, even our own name.
Writing about Margery and myself is difficult. I loved Marge. In college, she would ask me why I loved her and I could not say why. I just knew. It was not love at first sight, though I liked her ever since the “Pigeon Letter” I posted about in the beginning of this site. During the summer of 1958, I owned a car, and worked at the Lake Placid Club during the summer. I did date some different girls then, but somehow, I didn’t care for any of them as much as I did for Marge. Comparison shopping? Maybe. When we re-united in the Fall of 58, I knew she was the woman for me.
Writing about us is trying for me because Marge exhibited more than one personality. If so, which one am I writing about? I acknowledge that even this view represents a gross approximation to a complex person. Marge possessed at least two personalities, and perhaps two different worlds. Her older sister, Pat wrote to me about Marge “I view her in retrospect as an amazing person who touched many lives for the good.” During her funeral service in her church, and at her graveside memorial, many friends and family members extolled her virtues. All True.
To one world she was as a loving mother, a true and lifelong friend, a helper to others. She volunteered her time in our small library in Coopersburg.She volunteered for many responsibilities in her church. In her work life she helped others by becoming a Legal Assistant helping lawyers make better use of their time and training. She worked as a tax preparer for H&R Block helping clients to navigate the thickets of IRS filings. She worked as a Mediator for Clark County assisting clients to resolve interpersonal disputes. She worked in this capacity including the years when she was dying with cancer, and never quit. She was fired “in absentia” for using too much sick time. She died at home, shortly after that.
The above description is true for that world and that personality. In the other world, our life together, she was sometimes quite different. I posted her 1990 (approx) personality report previously. People can and do change as a result of feedback about themselves. I believe that Marge became more comfortable in the 90’s with herself, me, and the two of us together. We did have some very good times, some nice times, humdrum times and bad times during our married life. Subjects for subsequent posts.
When we married, society provided us with a foundation to build our future life upon. In addition, it provided us with the raw materials: the wood, plumbing, and appliances, to build this life . It was up to us to assemble our life together by ourselves. We were, I believe, poorly prepared for this. We each brought our own memories and impressions from our own family lives. We did stay together, slipped, tripped, and fell along our journey. We eventually forgave each other for our errors of both omission and commission, and that is the most important thing to say here.
My sister-in-law, Pat, once stated that Marge had informed Pat that she and I were truly meant for each other. I agree 100%. We were meant for each other. It took a long time to realize this.
“Thickets of IRS filings”–I like that turn of phrase! I’m so glad you and Mom were willing to build a relationship that ultimately was able to withstand the storms of life. You two made a good home for Louise and me and we love you for it!!
Thanks for your understanding and support. You were probably too little to remember Leroy Street or that little park on Beethhoven St. with the little had powered (by dad) merry-go round. Have you read Scott’s comments? he has been quite encouraging as well.
Robert, I just returned from a visit with Janice 97 year young Uncle in Az. I only say this because he spoke to us about his parents, brother, his life with and without his wife. He says he spied her in a tobacco shop, and knew she was the girl for him. On a more personal note, I saw Janice at a YMCA social, and knew that she was the girl I wanted to spend my time with. Notice I didn’t say married; because at 17 that was not even a scratch I was about to itch! If it makes you feel any better, I don’t think I could tell you why I thought she “was the girl for me” All I can say is that is “not a guy thing. If you asked Janice I am sure she as a female could list all those reasons. SMILE.
PS: My brother in law ( who was married to Janice sister) is thinking about writing a book ( of some type) about all the “crap”( my words) that a husband of a dead spouse has to do in order to “clear the deck and inform all that needs to know that she is now dead” Something you have learned a lot about. He already knows from me about this blog that you are doing. I told him, so it is now food for thought for him.
Take Care, Allan & Janice
Alan, thanks again for the support you are and have been in encouraging me to keep on with this. When I started this, I HOPED that it was more than my own little scribbles about my own life but included personal emotions that others could relate to as well. Your comments about you and Janice mirror that idea quite well,and I thank YOU for sharing as well. My blog form may not be for everyone, but it seems to work for me. It might for your brother in law as well and as it is up there in the “cloud” and I have no restrictions on my readers, He is welcome to look at as much or as little as he wishes. I took a course in memoir writing years ago and gave it a try but lost my enthusiasm. this way I have a general idea of where I want to go and for me it is easier to tell just a little chapter at a time. Not so overwhelming as a whole book.
Sy “HEY”to Janice………Bob
Hey Uncle Bob– After falling behind in my reading about you and Aunt Marge’s life together, I’d gotten the will to catch up after your last posting. I found myself wanting to learn more about yesteryear. First off, I admire what you’re doing because not many people would be willing to do what you’re doing. Secondly, I can honestly say that I know you miss Aunt Marge, but you’re not the only one!! Lastly, I think it’s cool about how you’re writing about my Mom!! I never knew that about her. In the meantime, PLEASE keep on writing because it’s not only useful for you, but also those who love you, too. HAPPY WRITINGS!!! Love, Scottt.
Derar Scott, Your last comment really gave me a boost!! I am taking a different and in my writing can easily weave some more in concerning the family. do you remember moving from Penn Yan to Syracuse after Paul had divorced your mother? Or back some time later while Marge was visiting in Florida, I drove up to where you two had moved to and we went to a small lake neareby, did a little swimming and caught some rays? i can weave that into my story as I recall quite a bit of detail. Your comments have really encouraged me to keep writing. Uncle bob
Your writing always amazes me!!! Please keep writing!! You are encouraging me to start writing again. You really do inspire all with your intricate details which flow from one to another with grace. God Bless YOU and your kitties too!!!!
Kathi, your comments are the rescue boat coming to a drowning sailor. i am TRYING to become a better writer, and it is truly TRYING on me. Very encouraging and your comments mean a lot to me.
Just wanted to say that I am very proud of you for writing this story, Dad. It is hard work, I know, but most things that are worthwhile doing are hard. Love you
Thanks Louise, it is hard work. I am trying to get to a style that, while personal, tells a story that represents truth to me, as well as a generalization that some others can relate to as well. I am slowly working my way through two books. One is “the sense of style” by Pinker, as well as the second edition of “clear and simple as the truth…….writing classic prose” by Thomas and Turner.
Love you too
Thanks for that remark, it is hard work but worth it I really believe.