Friday, May 05, 2006

Matches




My wife Stephanie loved to travel. She's spent her senior year going to high school high school in Geneva, Switzerland, staying with an aunt and uncle who lived there. She took an immersion course in the Fench language because that's the language she needed for school. Of course she got all A's.

She showed up unannounced one day at my apartment in Boston. She'd hitchhiked from Ann Arbor, Michigan where she'd started college. She was looking for my former room mate Paul Band, a German guy she'd met on the boat coming back to the U.S. Yup, some people still travelled by ship in the 1960's. But Paul had moved on, and the best I could tell her was that he might be in New York. It was a cold November night in 1964 so I invited her in for hot chocolate. One thing lead to another and about a week later we got married. Her dad had freaked and showed up in Boston to talk her out of it, to no avail.

It was a strange wedding. The justice of the peace, as I remember, had studied to be a Baptist minister but never been ordained. My best man was a guy from my home town of New Bedford that I'd met mostly because he'd worked at Zeff Supply Company before I got the job. The photographer I knew in a most casual way, just from running into him here and there, and while he shot a roll of B&W his function, along with that of the best man, was mostly that we needed two witnesses. Stephanie and I were the only two white people at the ceremony, by happenstance, not design. Later that night about a dozen more of my friends came by and we partied. Stephanie had only been in town a few days so my friends were her friends.

After we settled in Miami we'd make the obligatory trek north every summer. Her relatives were in the Washington, D.C. area and mine in Massachusettes. In between would be jaunts further up the state of Florida, across to Naples or down the Keys. We did a lot of fishing and photography. Then her dad's employer transferred him to their facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Come the summer of '73 and Stephanie had Big Plans for our Great Tour of The American West! New sights to see and places to go. Elena had just turned two and had a great time. She doesn't remember a damned thing about the trip.

One thing that puzzled me is how a primitive mammal like the armadillo has managed to survive at all, They wander about at night and seem to like doing their travelling on modern paved highways. They freeze in the car's headlights making little effort to get out of the way. Come morning it's difficult not to run across the occasional squished armadillo on the highway. By later in the day the color is gone and there's really not much left of them as the steady stream of cars and trucks continues to pulverize their remains. This one was still fairly intact, making for an interesting design in the morning light. Like most old Ektachrome this one has started taking on a bit of a purple cast.

The happenstance 1964 match? Not the best perhaps. It produced two great kids and lasted about 15 years. She was soon back in school, first for accounting, then computers, finally medicine, and when she graduated medical school I was at the graduation with the children just as proud as if we'd still been married. Today she's in South Carolina happily remarried to hopefully a much better match.

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