Re: [MOL] /DEBATE [02116] Medicine On Line


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Re: [MOL] /DEBATE



Bridget, your note touched my memory banks too!  My grandparents (both from 
Europe) came here when they were little more than children (16 & 18 yrs old) 
and never saw their families of origin again.  They met, married, and raised 
there 14 children here in America.  They struggled through a depression and 
the loss of two children together.  It wasn't easy and there were times they 
were both very unhappy - with ea. other and with themselves.

 I asked my grandmother once if she ever felt like she wanted a divorce.  She 
said, "If it would have been as easy as it is to get one today, I might 
have."  She was also a devout Catholic, so I know that played a much bigger 
part than any ease or stigma would have.  But she said my grandfather teased 
when he got frustrated that he would leave her and go back to Austria.  She 
said, "Go ahead, only don't think you can come back afterward."  He said, 
"Sure I will - to see the kids."  She said, "I assure you - you won't!"  
Whether it was economics (with all those kids and little work to be had I 
doubt he had the funds to book passage back) or whether it was commitment, I 
don't know.  But he never went.  

Could be he was really terrified of not seeing his children again; in those 
days the mother could do that - and fathers could leave without going to jail 
for non-support.  They were married 50 years when he passed away in 1969 and 
she lived until 1987 and died at 90 yrs old (b. 1897).  Her last words 
expressed great pleasure at the hope of seeing him again.

I also asked her if she loved my grandfather when she married him.  She could 
barely seem able to comprehend the idea that marriage and love had to be part 
of the same deal.  She merely answered, "I knew we could 'come' along (she 
meant 'get' along) together and build a life together because we wanted the 
same things." Then I repeated my question, insisting she side-winded it w/ 
her narrative.  She said, "I liked him.  He was tall and handsome; and he 
seemed like a good and strong man."  She said she grew to love him.  I think 
our definitions of love (I was a young wife then) were different.  Attraction 
was not love, but she was attracted to my grandfather.  She respected him.  
She grew to respect him more as the years passed, and *that* was her 
definition of love.   -chris
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