Friday, September 14, 2012

Gus and Marge - A Love Story Part Deux

In case you missed Part One of this love story, you can read it here.

Reading the diary of my parent's life was very interesting, even though many pages were made of with, "got up, went to work, got home at 4:30, ate supper, listened to the radio, stayed home and went to bed early." Because every once in awhile I'd stumble across a lovely little nugget like this that my dad wrote.

"January 21: I went to Margie's about 3:00 o'clock and we went to show. I enjoyed both pictures. Gee but I'm nuts about Margie."

Or this one:

"February 3: Gee I'm nuts about Margie. I can't say goodbye and really leave. I say it about 50 times before I leave." 

My mom first took over the diary in April. She wrote about her two bridal showers and how she received so many beautiful gifts.

This is her entry on her wedding day, April 27, 1940:

 "The big day finally came at last. Our Wedding Day. We were so excited and happy. The wedding ceremony was beautiful in church when we took the sacred vows. After the ceremony we had our pictures taken, then had a bridal supper at mother ______, home. In the evening went to the reception It was a great success. Had a large crowd, and received many gifts. Everyone was so generous. Had Grand March, cut the cake, and the "big day" came to a close."

The next morning's entry read,

"Got up at six o'clock. It was quite early but we went to find a place to eat. We had our first breakfast together. The beginning of married life. Gee it's swell!" 

I just love the language my parents used - "swell", "gee", "nuts". Isn't that cute?

My mom even wrote in the diary during her honeymoon. She wrote about the places they went to, where they ate, and what they saw. They were only gone for 5 nights and whether this was due to financial reasons or work, I don't know. Mom wrote that she returned to work on that Friday but, "hated to part from Gus".

"Saturday, May5: We had so much fun when we got up in the morning at 10 o'clock. We cooked breakfast downstairs and worked around arranging everything all day."

So my mother and father settled down in their little apartment together. For entertainment they listened to the radio, went for drives, visited relatives or friends, or went to the show (about once a week). My father must of had an old car, for he was forever working on it - replacing the battery, changing flat tires, fixing the generator, had radiator problems, and one time the engine caught fire while they were out on a date! Dad had to have the car towed and took Mom home on the bus!

My father suffered from migraines as far back as I can remember, and I was surprised to read in the diary that he even had headaches back then - when  he was 24 years old! There were numerous entries of him having a headache. I am surprised he didn't write about his mother's home remedy: soak a rag in vinegar and wrap it around one's head. I assume the vapors from the vinegar would open the sinuses up. I just remember as a little girl who complained of a headache, hiding behind a closet door because I didn't want a stinky old vinegar-smelling rag wrapped around my head!

What was very evident throughout the diary was the concern for each other when the other one was sick. Mom worried about Dad when he had his headaches; Dad worried about Mom when she had a terrible cold and fever. They cared about each other.

My mom was laid off a couple of times during the year from the same factory, and when the work picked up she went back to work. No matter if she was working or not, she always made supper for my father. It seemed like she would take the bus home from work, then go grocery shopping, come home and then make supper. I don't know why she didn't shop on weekends, unless they didn't have an "ice box". My mother was the typical "housewife" of the 40's. Washed and ironed all the clothes, did the dishes, cooked, etc. Dad helped if she wasn't feeling well.

My mom was very close to her sister, Mary. Mary lived next door with her husband, Ed. Mary was pregnant and due in late summer. Mom would go over to Mary's house or Mary would come by Mom's house all the time. The two couples would go for a drive in Dad's car.

One day in the beginning of August Mom and Dad went over to Mary's house for a turkey dinner. After dinner Mary said that she wasn't feeling well so Mom and Dad left and went to the show. When they returned, their landlady told them to go to the hospital.

Mary's baby was stillborn. It was a boy. "Mary was very pale," Mom wrote.(Aug. 4)

"August 5: My dear sister died this morning. Am very heartbroken. The news shocked my mother and dad as well as the rest of the family."

This just broke my heart. I remember my mother telling me about her sister, but to read the words as my mother wrote them.........I can't imagine what she was feeling.

Mary was buried with her stillborn child in her arms. People came from all over to see this.

It was a hard few weeks for my Mother - I'm sure it was even longer - but the next few weeks she spent a lot of time with her parents.

Time went on and things fell back into place. What I am amazed at is that not once in the year did my mother write that she had an argument or disagreement with my father. She didn't know that this diary was going to be read by her family 72 years later!  I know that not only did my parents love each other, but they also respected each other.

They loved each other through 55 years of marriage; 6 children, raising another child that wasn't their's (Mary had an older child that my parent's raised), and  2 bouts of cancer.

Gus and Marge are now both in heaven, where I'm sure they are saying,

"Gee Margie, I'm nuts about you!"

"That's just swell, Gus!"


Monkey Man said...

this brought a smile....what a wonderful treasure you have here :)

Brian Miller said...

ha this is so fun...what a treat to read through this...def lets you see your parents in interesting ways we would have missed as kids you know...

Snowflake said...

What a beautiful story of love and devotion!!! I enjoy listening to my mother's recollections of when her and dad were dating and newly married, also in the 40's. She also kept a diary (and still does today) and kept track of all their purchases etc. A very interesting read!!!

kisatrtle said...

It's as if your mom was blogging her story for you! What a wonderful treasure.

Lynda said...

That is so precious and even more so for you since you are their child. Even though our kids will have our blogs, they still won't have the more tender details and emotions you found in their diary.

Eva Gallant said...

What a treasure that diary is!

Valerie said...

"Gee Margie, I'm nuts about you!"

"That's just swell, Gus!"

Oooh Pat, those last words brought a lump to my throat. Your parents were truly happy and it is a privilege to have insight into their lives through you. Thank you.

Ami said...

So very sweet to read. Thank you for sharing it. :)

Betty Manousos said...

what a treasure that diary is!
so very precious!
thanks for this great post!


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Aw, that's a sweet love story--those couples back then really knew how to make things work. They had good expectations (reasonable) and the right priorities.
How sad for her to lose a sister to whom she was so close.

Liz said...

How incrdible to have that diary!! Thanks for sharing their love story. It was so special to read.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Lovely post as was the first one. You are so lucky to find this diary. I remember my mom shopping every day when I was little -- there weren't supermarkets -- she just asked the grocer to get down what she wanted from the shelf. We had a small frig, but Bill said his family just had a small icebox (with ice delivered) until in the early 50s.