Happy Valentine’s Day
I guess I never thought of Mom and Dad as having a romantic relationship. After all, they were just Mom and Dad with lives of work and raising my brother and me. I realize now, as I look back at what took place, that their romance presented itself in various forms.
Mom married Dad after meeting him at The Rostrum Club dance. She was an officer of The Jolly Missus (yes, Missus) Club and he an officer of The Rostrum Club. For the most part, what they did was arrange dances and fundraisers. Mom and Dad met at one of the dances. “He didn’t have a job, but I knew he was the one for me.”
After they married, they lived in Providence’s Academy Avenue neighborhood in a three-tenement house on Wealth Avenue, one floor above Mom’s parents. In the sixties, they bought the three-decker in partnership with my aunt and uncle and rented my grandparents’ tenement. In the seventies, they sold it to move into a single-family dream home in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Two homes over 60 years, and in those homes much love and joy.
When one has family memorabilia, the question is always what of it do you save. I often wonder what my children will save of mine. Fortunately, our Dad was a saver, and I have many of his things, most of them pictures, letters and cards.
Recently, I came across a number of missives that my father sent to my mother when he was courting her. Looking through them, I came to know the love and shared understanding that perhaps they were too busy to demonstrate when we were growing up. Or maybe as kids we were just unaware.
I have eleven of Dad’s missives. My Mom was his sweetheart; his term of endearment in the ’30s. Most of the cards he addressed to Anna and signed them Pete.
A Valentine card of February 1935 was different. This card had a raised fabric flowery heart in the center, a pink bow and was signed “Peter.” The quotation marks were his, for emphasis I guess because they were then engaged.
I love the words of the Rust Craft writers of Boston; the punctuation as it is on the card.
“I love you dear!” The phrase is old,
Yet those four little words still hold
The sweetest story ever told,
And nothing else that I could say
Would quite express the tender way
In which I think of you today…
There is more in the card, and there was more love over the years. As I look back, there were many moments of endearment and romance, not like the days of Dad’s missives or the club dances, now more in a partnership lasting so long.
Expressions of love change over the years, but once established and nurtured, they are present for all to see.
All you have to do is look.