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Death of a Blythe Spirit

Chapters

The Letter

First Sib Meeting

Dreams of Love

Family Origins

The Making of a Batterer

I Care for Him!


Barriers

Keeping Company

What Price Love?

Wedded Bliss?

The Honeymoon

Newlyweds

The Honeymoon's Over

The Babies Come

Home Sweet Home

Moving Again

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Other Mat'ls

Thoughts on Mother's Poetry

Mother's Essays

Penny's Vampire Chronicles

Gina's story fragment

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Wedded Bliss?

Mother and Father got married less than six months after the first goodnight kiss. Itís probably not unusual, but it does strike me as a bit desperateÖMother made no secret of the fact that she set out to capture his heart.

But Father was very ready to get married. In a letter written in the 1950s Mother implies that Father left home at 17, at least his mother was no longer caring for him. If so, he had by 1934 been on his own for seven years. As a borderline he would have been desperate to find a woman who would reflect back an admirable image of the self he longed to be, a woman against whom he could project his bad feelings, his floundering ego.

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July 3

My wedding day! The culmination of my dearest dreams. I have at last attained my heartís desire. Thereís only one earnest prayer, one humble supplication at the bottom of my very soulómay we always be so completely one, always and forever so happy.

 

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Dearest!

I hope you donít mind my usurping your private property [written on a page from an old 1928 diary], but I feel the urge to write you a note so I dropped in [my castle] and here I am, installed with the radio going (but I do wish youíd install this desk lamp, I can barely see!) Went over to see Dad and he was more hurt and indignant than angry. You see, some people from the [dkjlj] had seen us leave the City Hall and told him. He of course said they were crazy until they called him up today and referred him to the newspaper.† I imagine he felt like a silly ass, denying the fact and then have it in black and white. I listened to the lecture as patiently as I could without actually exploding. Ah well, you know the song and danceóI finally gathered that writing the news to mother would result in her doing something foolish---so what would you think if I went up there next Wednesday. Mind you, whatever you say goes, I write the letter and am leaving it here to meet your approval. Anything youíd like to change or add go right to it. Itís only a [limited] draft of a letter. Canít stay tonight, best beloved, but donít forget to come tomorrow to get that certificate straightened out.

Oh yes, Jere, could you stop on your way to get me a 5 cent and 3 cent stamp. Please donít forget, I must have them.

Well, good night my darling. See you in dreamlandósay, what did you mean by that note--! Canít I have a wee little say about it at all, you must let me be a little eccentric!

With all my love,

G

Please donít forget to change your underwear and bring the soiled ones over.

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Hello, darling, or is it ďgood morning gloryĒ by the time you read this? Well, lover, so much for thatóeverything is packed except your razor and comb; be sure you look neat when you get over here! Oh yes, I looked at that room to be sure itís nice and big and airy, but Jerry darling, you wouldnít be happy in a big room like that. Especially when you are alone. Thatís what I liked about Elm Ave. Itís airy and compact and it makes you feel at home easily. A couple of months youíll be able to stand and I think the atmosphere will do you good, too! Itís good for you to be up on your toes, when I canít be after you all the time. The house is definitely refined and genteel and believe me it will get so you will actually like that, type of [community], heaven help me!

Iím a bit warn out and hot and in a [tizzy] so the style of this m.s. is not so very, well, you know, Iím actually too weary to know a meeting thought let alone write legible. I didnít close the one suit case on purpose. You might want to use the robe (he said to put it back nice if you do) and stick comb and brush in if you can. Youíll be able to shut it Iím sure. Leave everything as is. Iíll be over tomorrow (or is it tonight?) style='mso-spacerun:yes'>† night and unpack it again. You might ask Mrs. Lawrence if there isnít a place to keep the suit cases. I left the keys on the dresser. Gosh, itís eleven oíclock already. By the way, ďclockĒ say, if you know somebody you dislike very, very much, make them a present of that [dratted] alarm of your auntís. I took your laundry and the white pants. Give me a ring tomorrow afternoon. I might have time for you then! I guess thatís all. Good night lover. See you Wednesday and hope to hear you tomorrow.

Love as always

G

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[letter from F to J inserted in diary]

July 4, 1934

Best Beloved!

How does it feel to walk around and tell yourself youíre a married man! Oh darling, darling, Iím still all agog, I live and relive that memorable twenty-four hours. Iíve rushed oh I donít know how many times upstairs this morning to look at that certificate and my ring. Iím as pleased as punch and as happy as a child on Christmas morning. Think of me, heart of my heart, think of me real hard, in this mutual communication I find my only solace, it is so very hard to be apart from you. But Iím not complaining, we have so much more to look forward to at each consecutive meeting.

Oh, love me always, husband of mine. Everything seems so hazy and unreal, as if Iíd dreamed. I canít wait to put my hands around your face again and read your devotions in your eyes, then I can believe, I want so very much to caress you, to know itís real.

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[undated, handwritten pages on lined 8-1/2x11 notebook paper]

Marriage under favorable circumstances is more or less a venture and gamble. Under presiding conditions (mine is a hazard. If that certain day in July, which started out so lovely, was any omen as to the future, I may as well prepare myself for the storm center of a hurricane and either cultivate a broad smile for protection or place a standing order for overshoes and umbrellas.

But we were happy that first month, even under those difficulties we managed to have a glorious honeymoon. And it was hard to move back to his mother. I only dimly realized just how hard it was going to be. But fortunately I am sensible and what's more understanding. That lover of mine gave fair promise to be a young husband of dependability and quality, the kind, you know, that you can trust to feed the baby at regular [times] and empty the icebox pan, and this going back to an indulgent family either ruined those potentialities entirely or set it back considerably. I haven't the nerve to analyze it. I've had my choice--kindly but firmly insist on his shouldering his responsibility and stand on his own feet and I do loathe a nagger, even in kindness, or be yet another one to aid and abet in spoiling and indulging [hooked] from a different angle it meant all the difference of having my lover and husband wholly or not having him, of having a husband who thinks he needs me to having an indifferent even resentful one. However, I must admit to--now if I had fallen into the common [trap] which most young wives fall, by being blind and conceited enough to think I was absolutely essential to my husband's health and welfare, I would have made an unforgivable blunder that meant doom for our marriage from the start. Fortunately I felt instinctively that Jere could have struggled along quite blissfully and content without me. Mind you I didn't say without my tender ministrations, for it is just that, the [aim] to make life smooth and easy for the object of your love that cements and holds together the tie that binds two lives together.

The first discord in our harmonious association came because I hadn't learned not to take your in-laws seriously. You can take 'em any way you like, as long as you don't take them as a major factor. If you do, there's bound to be grief, unless one has a sensible partner.

Now in spite of my previous and extensive knowledge of the family, I was foolish enough to be sensitive and go into a huff, just because I was snubbed like any other member of the family, that one would have a mad on. There's nothing SO unreasonable as the 'mad' of one member of a family for another, and I should have known and treated the situation as such instead of sulking.

Of course it was indirectly his fault, for the very reason that I kept in mind all this while. Returning to his family he expected the same service$ and Obeyed orders as before. services that they now expected me to perform (which I do whenever possible) and orders which they resented .

Naturally that created a great deal of friction, and first thing; I know I was the storm center. I don't like being a storm center so I rebelled. I must say, I went at it in a curious way. I couldn't have chosen a worse one if I'd spent a sleepless night selecting. Incidentally I made myself the miser ablest time, I wouldn't care to repeat ever.

I promised my loved one peace and gave him the kind that sells at twelve to a dime instead of the same satisfying genuine article. Well, one learns, that's why it's good to look back occasionally and think a little~.

The second lesson was even more important, in spite of what [smiley sine] wives tell you, whether they're married ten days or ten years, don't let anyone tell you that it pays to deceive your husband. And if t hid to save trouble I did it [unconsciously] and couldn't take it back, the trouble it got me into loomed far bigger than the original. In other undo it didn't work at all. And I have never been SO damned in my twenty-two years of life as at that breathtaking minute when Jerry so calmly informed me of my misdemeanors. Not only because I thought that fact buried and forgotten but because of his very calmness, he didn't approach me, nor question, and it cut me to the core. Never have I felt so ashamed or regretted anything as much as I did that half thoughtless lie.

The third and by far the most serious quarrel between us could easily have been avoided if I had penned this [article) before and kept some of its points in mind.

Now I suppose it was a well [precedented] law of nature that woman should love wholly, completely and absolutely, and I don't know should I [curse] or rejoice over the realization of that fact. I don't know, I only know that life without Jerry would be a totally empty meaningless void. I won't go into it, it sounds a little stilted, but nevertheless the very thought panics me. Yet knowing all that I jeopardized my own happiness by stubbornly and stupidly opposing him. I knew what the outcome would be, I knew dammed well, I'd give in, then why in the name of all that's merciful did I whip my nerves into this frenzy. I can only explain it as [indinpisement]. I always do things then that in saner moments I wouldn't.

One can be a bad cook and still a perfect mate or be in ignorance of the correct way to iron a dress shirt, what are laundries for anyway, but try and neglect a manís soul and he is on his way for a mistress or a divorce.

I gave my body into my husbandís keeping to humor, to clothe and feed and protect, he gave me his soul. To ease and comfort. Therein lies my path to happiness and perfect understanding and an immortal marriage.

The first hot flush of passion wears off and it is what follows that counts for all the years together. And though I regretted at first the seeming neglect I knew it for what it pretended and revealed in the past whenever I felt in doubt and knew the real work to build a perfect understanding and [immortal] marriage had begun. And whenever doubts assailed me or courage failed, I reveled in the past; luckily we stored up so much glorious happiness so many [smaired] [delirious] hours to borrow from.

And if I have made several bad breaks, it only goes to prove that a perfect mate is both born and made and one without the other is just half a measure and because I was given that wisdom and that doesnít mean I got perfection [overnight]. Iíll have to struggle and how I know that, and fight hardest of all myself.

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July 15

I should really keep this [chronicle] of ďa romanceĒ up. We are not out of troubled waters by a long chance. And things are always happening. While I confide most of my thoughts to my darling husband, somehow it relieves me to write it out. Life is so confusing and has upset all my finer calculations. Iím such an entirely different person now. I have to adjust my perspective on things in general all over again. Without realizing Iíve acquired a new dignity and a better understanding of life. It is odd that in something you gain a [vriting] that leaves you positively breathless. I know I have never known such utter contentment. There is happiness and peace only in the presence of my beloved counterpart. He is so very much a part of me that even if we are temporarily separated, he seems to be right next to my heart. What matter the disagreeable things that somehow sulk at the bottom of our [ourp]. What do the environments matter or even the common pesky little annoyances.

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We each took up a stone and threw them together
To build this Wall of Anger ever higher
(The fault was as much yours as mine, Dear,
And I would not be the one to judge which is the greater,
Your fault or mine)
But I do know this
Someday that wall will shut out my face forever
Nor will the ice around my heart melt under your smile

Reflect.
Is all this worth the price we both pay in sorrow and Regret.
This building up and tearing downÖ and the days fly by.
Why donít you come over and cultivate my garden
And let me plant my roses in yours
Instead of ruthlessly digging up the tender shoots
I lovingly tended that some day
They might grace our common Life.

Where and when did this diabolical change take place
That made our Love grow claws to tear each other to pieces
That makes us meet each other like two alley cats
Ready to fight at the drop of a hat

The Shining Hour grows ever dimmer and harder to rememberó
When I said ďI doĒ and vowed to make you happy.
Did you not also promise to take this woman for better or worseÖ
Or did you vow to make me over in your own image for better or worse?

Know then, Oh MY SPOUSE, I am thine one true love and thou shalt have no other love beside me.

Thou shalt keep my person and my personal belongings inviolate.

Thou shalt not fail to remove thine shaving paraphernalia and other masculine articles from mine kitchen which is mine own sanctum sanctorum.

Thou shalt not fail to put away thine nightclothes and other soiled or discarded articles of clothing.

Thou shalt respect the dogs which are mine friends and rememberóthey are members of the family

Thou shalt NEVER criticize mine person nor yet the food I have prepared, in front of others.

Thou shalt not lose thine temper over trifles.

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 Page last updated on 05/17/2007

 

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