Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Parent's Story (...or at least the CliffsNotes version.)


Most children don't get an opportunity to answer the question… “What do you remember about your parents engagement/marriage?” But for some reason, it’s a question I’ve recently been asked… so I’m just gonna take up the challenge and run with it.

To the casual observer walking the street (or more likely the mall), grandma and grandpa would appear to be a couple who have been married forever! Or more than forever! You know how people start to look like one another after they’ve spent so many countless moments and years of their lives together?

They claim to have been married for 50 some odd years!.. but then they like to toss in that little joke of theirs… “Just not to each other!” Come to think of it, they actually don’t really look like each other but perhaps I just see it that way. Because, in my mind, they have always seemed to be two halves of the same whole. I mean, I can never imagine one… without imagining the other.

But back to the original question… To be honest, I don’t have a CLUE where I was or what I was doing at the time of their engagement. I couldn’t tell you for a fact upon which day they were married. I was still caught up in that allotted time and space where nothing else could possibly be any more important than… self-importance. But I DO have some memories, ones which occurred briefly before those other momentous occasions occurred, which belong to me and me alone. And well, probably to grandma and grandpa as well.

I was in New York City at the time… acting out the role of the black sheep and infamous prodigal, which I was always so very good at back in those days… when I received news that my mother would (after all) be traveling across the country on a two-week long Church History tour. Her previous tour had been cancelled and I guess it was just on a fluke that this new one had materialized and she had somehow nabbed a seat.

(By way of trivia and interest… I also understand that a certain
David E. Salisbury had to be forcibly hoisted onto the bus by his children, as he had not wanted to go... at all.)

Here’s a picture of my mom and me rendezvousing in the lobby of the Milford Plaza Hotel in New York City in July of 1974.



Now, the hotel is smack dab in the middle of what used to be known as “Hell’s Kitchen”… but we won’t tell her that. But she’ll probably end up reading this anyway... At any rate, as brazen and bold as I believed I was at that young age, I still somewhat feared for my life in coming to meet her…

My memories of those few days are pretty cloudy and fairly disjointed. Mainly because, at the time, I didn’t realize I would be called upon in some far off and distant moment of my life to have to re-conjure them. I didn’t realize they’d be significant.

So I’m only going to focus on those few instances that are somehow, after all this time, still perfectly, crystal clear.

Later that evening, we took a stroll down 34th St. to the Empire State Building. Mom had brought along a newfound “friend.” Being a “seasoned” New Yorker and having learned to pretty much walk everywhere in order to get around with any efficiency I guess I led the pack… swiftly. I believe it was closed though and so we never got to go up. But years later mom would tell me that David had said to her… “I’ve never seen ANYONE walk as fast as she does!”

The next day, I joined her on the bus for parts north. There’s a lot of church history in that neck of the woods! The tradition on the bus was to rotate one row back on the left and one row up on the right… each day. That way, the travelers would have a better chance of being able to get to know each other. I don’t remember if she told me then, or much later, that she counted each and every day until she’d have the chance to sit across the aisle from David.

In route to the Hill Cumorah Pageant we made a brief stop at the historical Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass. This particular stop on the map gets particular attention, because to me it was a moment of extraordinary enlightenment…



We were walking the grounds, ambling somewhere between the candlemaker and the blacksmith, when suddenly we spied David and his friend (who we’ll call Dallas for now) enjoying the beautiful day from the deck of the local eatery.

If nothing else had smacked me in upside the head prior to this encounter… this one did for sure.

Have you ever seen your own mother behave like a raging, hormonal 16 year old? It is a thing surreal… and a thing that I hope nobody else ever has to witness in their lifetime. Just because it’s plain weird! At any rate… all I remember was trying to keep my eyes averted and trying to focus on something like…that discarded platter of french fries, the latest addition to the refuse bin that stood nearby, still smothering in ketchup and being swarmed by bees.

The next morning… the one after the pageant… I headed back home to New York City via Greyhound.

AND I GUESS THE REST IS HISTORY…

So there you have it… however, here is also where I begin to slightly distrust my memory..

Because I’m quite certain that it was in 1974 when they first met, during that July bus excursion… simply because I just checked my ancient little Hallmark calendar and it’s definitely right there... engraved in indelible ink.

And I’m pretty sure they were sealed for Time and All Eternity in the Los Angles Temple in February of 1983… because I have pictures… and I was with child then. And I’m pretty sure I was never with child prior to 1983...

So what was going on there… during all that time in between?

All I can come up with is… just as in that long walk to the Empire State Building during that summer evening in July of 1974… Grandma and Grandpa just really like to take their own sweet time...

Anyway… that’s my little contribution to our family history… and I’m stickin’ to it.

They don’t really look like one another... do they?



**Factual data just in!**
Grandma and Grandpa were married on Febuary 10th 1977.
...and sealed six years later to the day on February 10th 1983.



Submitted as an entry to our parent's 30th Anniversary scrapbook collection... to be presented to them by their family during our Hawaiian Island cruise of January 2008.

1 comment:

Whitney said...

1. You do walk pretty fast (still)
2. My mother acting like a hormonal teenager is something that I have had to witness in my lifetime I'm afraid.
3. Don't you think that if grandma reads this before January, the whole scrapbook surprise will be ruined? Oh wait, I already ruined it because I left my scrapbook page in the basement of their house. oops...