Reunited and It Feels So Good

jan

Reunited and It Feels So Good

jan
Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited 'cause we're reunited, hey, hey

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Celebrating 65 glorious years in Heaven after being apart for five. It's about time, and Dad was never a very patient man.

I'm having an interesting journey exploring my mother's photos. She had a photo album, which begins in 1945 when she was still 14, and she had a boyfriend who eventually became her fiance, but not my dad, so obviously they broke up. When I first moved in with her in 2013 and she was still pretty lucid, we looked this gentleman up on the internet and he was still alive. Looking him up felt like stalking or driving up and down the Strip in your Chevy on a Friday night. Months passed, her dementia took hold, and on one occasion she insisted this other gentleman, W. was my dad, and was in a picture of my sister and me. Oh, no, I said, that's R., that's not W., you married R.

What I find most fascinating is how different W. was from my dad, R. The story unfolds that W. dropped out of school, never went through graduation, entered the army at 16 and went to Alaska at 17. He ended up in Texas and asked my mom to come down there and get married. She refused, saying she didn't want to have a wedding that far from home (New Jersey), and they broke their engagement.

My dad entered the picture, and she was married in 1950 at age 20. He was as different from W. as a person could be. Where W. seemed adventurous, spontaneous, unconventional, altruistic and outdoorsy, my dad was as solid and predictable as the Rock of Gibraltar, whose Prudential Insurance he sold for a living. W. volunteered for the Fire Rescue, entered the army at 16 and liked hunting; my dad volunteered to count money at church, entered movies theaters at age 16, and used a BB gun to shoot squirrels that ate our garden hose. The most intriguing element of the picture is that my dad, compulsive with his possessiveness and domination, even allowed my mom to have this photo album in the house with these old pictures still intact. It wasn't like they were hiding in a safe deposit box; they were just "out there" with her John Wayne scrap book and Johnny Mathis records.

Now I am on a journey that unfolds before me. The story gets more convoluted. W. married, had two sons and ended up living on the same street as my father's mother. This in itself is a freakish coincidence because we didn't live in Upper Podunk, but a very densely populated suburban New Jersey. A final twist in the maze of life occurred when my grandmother, too ill to live at home in New Jersey, had to move to Florida with my family. My mother rode with my grandmother in the ambulance up to the Newark Airport. And the EMT attendant in the ambulance was W.'s son. Talk about chills.

So now I am trying to locate W.'s family so I can return his photos to them. He passed away last year. I believe in keeping my mother's memories intact, but when MY belongings waver between the Storage Unit and Goodwill, I can't vouch that Mom's photos will be safe. They really belong with the people who could appreciate them best.

I'm hoping everyone involved will act like the adults we are and appreciate the children my mother and W. were at the time. It's obvious my life would have been radically changed had they married. I might be a boy, I'm sure I'd still be living in New Jersey, and I'd probably know how to shoot a gun.

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