‘A match made in high school heaven’
I once read that some people are so freaked out by the number thirteen that many buildings just skip that floor. Kinda makes you think about that dentist on “14”, eh?
Well, apparently my parents weren’t freaked out — or maybe they just liked to tempt fate — because they were married on the thirteenth. I don’t know how many times their anniversary fell on a Friday, but I do know that their umpteenth-gazillionth would have been this past Sunday. I say “would have been” because my Dad, unfortunately, is no longer with us to celebrate. Interestingly enough, The Dude’s parents also got married on the thirteenth. Of, maybe, November. (Why not ask The Dude, you’re probably thinking. Well, I did, and he said “Heck if I know.” Men.)
I called my Mom anyway, because hey, any excuse to call my Mom. She is remarkably fun to talk to. And it gave me a chance to quiz her on some family marital lore.
For example. I had always known that my Mom and Dad didn’t have a fancy wedding, but I wasn’t totally sure of the circumstances. Were they poor? Were their parents mad at them? Turns out that it was a Religious Thing. My Mom’s family was Lutheran (but you knew that), and my Dad’s was Catholic. Not Seriously Catholic, but enough to nix a Church Ceremony.
Also, I knew that my parents were high school sweethearts. I also knew that my Dad took my Mom to the prom in a milk truck. (The Henrys didn’t own a car, so yes, they were poor; not desperately poor, but perhaps enough to give a girl’s family pause.) I even knew that, out of a total of twelve kids in my parents’ graduating class, four couples married each other — and stayed married. That must have been some high school. What I didn’t know was that two of my Mom’s aunts didn’t, well, approve of my Dad.
One was my Gramma’s sister Annette. She’s the Aunt, you may recall from my story “Great Aunts and Glorified Rice”, who wore a hair net. Which is why we kids thought she was called “Aunt Net”. She was a Lutheran Deaconess, which is sort of like being a Nun but without the cool Sally Field outfit. So, natch, she wouldn’t have liked a Catholic Boy.
The other one, Aunt Nellie, was, according to my Mom, “one of those people” who like to “boss other people around”. She’s not quite sure why Nellie wasn’t fond of her Boyfriend-before-he-was-my-Dad (maybe it was the Poor Family Thing?) but there you have it.
Of course, my Mom wasn’t exactly hard on the eyes either.
I also knew that both my Mom and my Dad dated other people after high school. I discovered this scandalous fact when looking through a big box of old photos on a rainy day when I was a kid. “Who’s this guy?” I asked my Mom, discovering a snap of a guy with his arm around my Mom. “Oh, that’s Jim.”
Turns out Jim was totally smitten by my Mom when she was in nurse’s training. He had red hair, which you couldn’t tell from the photo, it being black-and-white. I remember being fascinated by this, since I didn’t know anyone with red hair. “Gee, if you had married Jim, would we have red hair?” I remember asking. I can’t remember how she answered us, but at least she had the good grace not to tell us that, red hair or not, we wouldn’t have existed if she’d married Jim.
There really wasn’t much danger of Mom marrying Jim. For one thing, Mom’s Older Brother Ronald used to refer to him as “that pasty-faced redhead”. So there’s that. For another thing, according to Mom, Jim liked her more than she liked him.
So bye-bye Jim, and hello again Dale. They got married, disapproving Aunts be darned, on not-a-Friday Thirteenth. My Dad got his engineering degree — and me — at about the same time. After which they moved to, as I called it, “Vine Grove Tucky”, where they lived over a garage, and Dad (who was an ROTC Guy) was stationed at some air base.
Their marriage went on to be full of many adventures — way too many to relate in one measly Tuesday-after-their-anniversary post. (Check out “Kissing Daddy Good-Night” for a real doozy.)
And so what if they didn’t have a fancy wedding? They sure got to go to plenty. Here they are enjoying my Middle Younger Brother Roger’s. Looks like my Dad has the same smile on his face as he did at his own wedding lo these many years ago.
New York City. January 2019
21 thoughts on “Lucky Thirteen”
This was such a fun read! You brought them all alive with their stories and I particularly enjoyed how you still like talking to your mum, because she’s fun!
Hey thanks, Debi! Such a nice comment! One of the fun things about talking to my mom is how she brings those long-gone people back to life with her recollections. She’s the one who brings them alive — I just write the stories down (!)
Good for you! It’s a great way to keep the family history alive 🙂
I read some research that the amount you spend on a wedding is inversely proportional to how long the wedding lasts, so if you have a cheap wedding you’re (statistically) more likely to stay together for a long time.
It sounds like your parents case was considered by whoever did that research!!
p.s. In Japan, sometimes hotel room miss off rooms with the number 4, because four is pronounced the same way as the word “death.” I guess that is their version of 13…
Oooo…I love that stat about unlucky numbers in Japan. I didn’t know that! I also didn’t know that about the research into wedding cost/marriage longevity (!) The Dude’s and my wedding expenses consisted of the cost of a Carvel ice cream wedding cake ? and we’re closing in on forever in the marriage-length department — so I guess they’re right!
Such beautiful people! My mom’s SIL never approved of her either. There’s one in every crowd!
Thank you, Susie. So true about one in every crowd! So glad our parents didn’t let family disapproval sway them!
Or we wouldn’t be here!
Loved these pictures, Alice!
Aren’t they fun? I especially like the one of my Dad as best man at Somebody-or-Other’s wedding (!)
Such fun–and so nice that you have so many photos saved! I remember seeing photos of the guy (a med student–oh la la!) my mom dated before my dad snatched her up and being fascinated, too!
Yes, isn’t it fascinating — even now that we’re grown — to imagine your parent(s) with another partner? We tend to think of them as ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’, not a person (!) Thank you for reading — and commenting xo
Alice, What a lovely story. And your description of your Lutheran aunts…..wild and crazy!
Thank you, Cathy. I wish those aunts were still around so I could tell them how wild and crazy they were. In a nice respectful Lutheran way, of course (!)
Wonderful story! Again, I find connections with your writing – I love it. I am Lutheran (as you know), and I married a Catholic, good-looking guy. He had some great-aunts that refused to go to our wedding because it was under our Lutheran pastors (we were married outside). I wonder what they would have thought if they knew that my husband had joined my church before we were married. 😉 Those same aunts did not attend their own sister’s wedding (my husband’s grandmother) as she married a handsome Jewish man.
Ah, Erin! You are so right; those similarities abound! I almost can’t believe the coincidence that it was aunts who tried to put the kabosh on your nuptials — especially since (and I’m guessing here) that you two are waaaaaaaaay younger than my Mom and Dad! And it’s so too bad that their lack of enclusivity would keep them from attending their own sister’s wedding. (Big heavy sigh goes here) But it IS comforting, nonetheless, to have something in common, yes?
Yes, finding common ground is always comforting. And, it was their loss – in all instances. ?
Looks like a couple of good looking people!
They were indeed a couple of good-looking people! Thank you, Cherie (you’re pretty easy on the eyes yourself!)
Thanks Alice 🙂