Siblings often have different experiences growing up in the same family, with the same set of parents. This is the case with my sister Grace and me. Ten years my senior, she knew a side of my parents that I did not. She remembers them as a relatively young, buoyant, adventurous couple. When she read my post, “My Father’s Two Wives,” she e-mailed me her recollections of our father and his first wife–our mother. Her memories add more depth and texture to our parents’ relationship. Here is what Grace remembers:
“I do remember Mom and Dad being young and romantic. He always brought her flowers and wrote poems. When we first moved to (unnamed northeastern town), they went out all the time and played tennis. They gave dinners and parties. They took vacations alone maybe once a year and left you and me with Marie (our housekeeper). Also, the year we lived abroad, Dad surprised Mom on her birthday with a mariachi band AND 12 dozen roses–YES! 12 dozen!!! They loved dancing and were very good. People liked watching them and cleared the floor. And don’t forget that Dad proposed to Mom on their first date! He was 23 and she was 30! She told him he was too young. He bought a ring and whipped it out at a gas station soon after. It was a very short engagement.
By the time you came along, they were certainly leading separate lives–but the loyalty and devotion remained.”