My parents were married for some 40 years before calling it quits. It wasn’t their first separation, but it was their last. I don’t recall seeing many photos of my parents together before marriage. Then, a few weeks ago, going through an envelope of my mom’s teenaged photos, there it was. A beautiful photo of my mom and dad pre-marriage heading out for a night on the town.
A Lovely Photograph Of A Happy Couple
I do not know the details of this photograph. The why or when are lost to me. Given my mom’s hairstyle, I’m guessing 1954, right around graduation.
It was taken somewhere in California, most likely in the San Francisco Bay Area. But where? I’ve asked around and cousins alive at the time don’t remember the house in the background. My mom and grandma moved around a lot. Perhaps it’s some place they rented.
What I Love About This Photo
My dad died in 2010 after emergency surgery. When I phoned my mom to tell her the news, she told me “you can’t have five kids with a man and not feel something”.
And, truth be told, my parents were better friends than spouses. After they separated, they got together for grandkid’s soccer and basketball games and family dinners. They enjoyed each other’s company a lot more unmarried than married. They even went in on gifts for their grandchildren.
They were better apart than together.
This photo captures something I’ve thought about from time to time. This is a happy couple. You can see it in their eyes. My dad was so smitten and my mom adored my dad.
Family tree picture frames are a neat way to display these wonderful family treasures. This frame is a available on Amazon.com.
How Did My Parents Get Together?
My mom came from a bad situation. She and her mother struggled after her parents divorced. My grandma worked, her father never paid child support, and they bounced around a bit.
My grandma loved my mom dearly and she did whatever she could for her, but she had her own life and her own boyfriends. She didn’t neglect my mom, but she wasn’t going to let parenting stand in the way of date night. By the time my mom turned 18 her brother was living in Wyoming and already starting a family. It was just her and her mom. I think she was ready to move on by the time she got to her senior year of high school.
My parents grew up in the same neighborhood, but my dad was 9 years older. However, by chance his brother, Eugene, had been held back a couple years in elementary school. They ended up in the same grade and became friends. They hung out a lot in high school, Eugene being older had a car and was able to drive them around.
Their was a diner in town the neighborhood that my mom worked at part time. The owner would end up Eugene’s future mother in law.
After my dad came back from serving in the army in Japan, he went tried to get back to normal. Sometimes he’d hang out at the diner. That’s how he caught my mom’s eye.
He may not have paid her any attention being so much older, but one day my mom saw him sitting alone at the diner and approached him. She asked him if he’d like to go to a movie and he said yes.
And, that was that. They were married a year after she graduated.
They Were Very Much In Love
I can see now from this photo that my parents were very much in love. Over time, my mom’s love faded, but in this moment in time, they were happy together.
They were very happy for many years raising their five children–almost not fitting on their friend’s backyard swing.
Things would get rocky later. But, in that moment in time, dressed up in front of whoever’s house that was, they were very happy and they didn’t want to be with anyone else.
They married, lost a business, moved around, and then settled into their lives and the house I grew up in. Yes, they were in love. But, sometimes love does last.
Their love may not have survived, but seeing this photo and remembering my mom’s words, I can see the love. No, you can’t have five kids with someone and feel nothing. It’s just that sometimes it’s not enough.
This photograph is one more piece of their story and I’m so glad I found it.