She married young
Lived life to the fullest
A pearl surrounded by sand*
I am from sturdy stock, an American with roots homegrown and from places once considered far away. My sons consider me strong, stubborn, and steadfast.
My maternal grandmother and my mother’s eldest sister were my models as I grew to be the person my mother in law met the night her oldest son asked her to take a drive to get to know me without family around to comment.
We drove to the entrance of the beach access in East Quogue, out on Dune road in the Hamptons on Long Island in New York. We were far enough from houses or condos, so traffic intrusion was unlikely to disturb.
It was a chilly starlit night in mid-May of ‘65. Paul and I had been dating nine weeks. Early on in our relationship, we determined we wanted to have a life together. We never seemed to run out of topics to discuss, nor an end to wit or laughter. We thought we would marry in the Fall because we didn’t want to preempt the marriage of a cousin.
Paul felt that his mother could handle our news and convey to his dad that we were to marry and sooner than anticipated because I was pregnant. We had decided on a Justice of the Peace because, thou Christian, we were from different sects. Neither of us wanted a large wedding or wanted to insist on our own church Our first compromise.
Jeanette aka Mom was not shocked. We had spent every evening together in night college and into the wee hours of the morning from the night we first dated with one night off to do taxes. Her reaction was, “The first child arrives at any time. The rest take nine months.” She welcomed me to the family. The only thing she insisted on was that we marry in church. Our second compromise.
I wore my mother in law’s veil, my borrowed and old, my suit was new, white and powder blue. Never to me, in the start or throughout our marriage, did a cross word ever pass her lips towards me. I have attempted and at times failed to follow in her footsteps.
She arranged to call their Pastor for our meeting to marry. She arranged inviting local family and she opened her home and provided our reception. Graciousness personified.
Everyone called her Mom, so I followed likewise. Several years later she handed us the key to their home upstate so Paul could return to college at Plattsburgh. During our marriage, she and I wrote a letter to each other once a week, a void never filled after her abrupt passing back to God, twenty-four years ago.
She bore seven children and always loved her children around her. We were her gypsies and not only followed in her and Dad’s tire tracks, we traveled the US and lived in six states.
She already has one daughter, and this year, two sons, one being my husband, back with her in eternity.