Voices on the Wind
Voices from Home
The Story of Those Two
by Leslie Clark
We kids heard it a thousand times—-how our parents met.
It was at the wedding of their best friends, our future mother in pink satin.
Though she had a lifelong hatred of hats, she was bedecked with a floppy
pancake of one, perched precariously on her short, wavy hair.
Future Dad was handsome in his white-coated tux, bow tie jaunty under
his cleft chin, grinning confidently, displaying all his dimples,
while she, characteristically, displayed an uncertain, lopsided
half-smile in all posed wedding party portraits. They stood far
apart in those photos, though apparently, at some point during
that nuptial, gravitated closer.
A seemingly unlikely pairing, those two, he a WWII veteran
and high school educated factory worker. She was proud of earning her family’s
first college degree and teaching certificate. At twenty-five, she was gratified
to avoid old-maiddom, while he, at least according to war letters home
had to fight off various girlfriends. She towered over him by a good
four inches—-doomed to a life of flat shoes—-and was always self-conscious
about her height and slightly crossed “lazy” eye. He wore the easy
confidence of all good-looking men.
A year later, there were different wedding photos—-those two—-she clad
in ivory lace this time. They were flanked by her sisters, his brother,
an Army buddy, and the two friends at whose wedding they met.
Their best friends were safely ensconced in the first Levittown,
but my parents chose to live in Dad’s hometown—-maybe their first mistake.
She was originally perceived as “that city girl Nels brought home,”
though eventually, with her third grade teacher’s job in town,
seemed to fit in comfortably enough. We traversed thirty miles weekly
to visit her side of the family, and became seen as outsiders there.
They still seemed oddly matched, those two, but their sexual bond
was obvious to all.
Twenty years and three kids later, the union of those two ruptured
when she allowed herself to be seduced by a playboy who sold her a car and himself.
All of us but she foresaw the dismal future of that liaison. My father grieved,
fumed, and turned spy on her new life. He made stringent loyalty demands
on us kids. I had escaped to college by then—-my sister and brother not so lucky.
Eventually he recovered and married the town hysteric, living screamingly
ever after. My mother spent the last twenty years of her life
as a scandalous, twice-divorced woman
Not an unusual story, at least in today’s world, but to those of us
who lived it, it was anything but mundane.