Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Good Husband

He is handsome in his Army uniform.  The two of them together look as if they had just stepped out of a movie set.  My mother doesn't think she is beautiful, but she is.  Her hair is perfectly coiffed and her cream colored suit is impeccable. They are posed with heads next to each other.  So much in love on their wedding day, 4 November 1945.

My father was madly in love with my mother.  He wrote her many love letters while he was overseas.  They are starting to crumble now, but they are still in a box.

"I have a pearl handled revolver," my mom used to tease.  My dad had a female boss at his part-time accounting job, and he had a female employee, too.  They would sometimes go to Chinatown, Greektown or Little Italy for lunch.  My mom knew she didn't have to worry.  He was very frank about the friendship he had with his boss.  She knew she could confide in him about what was going on in her family. My dad was, as my mother would describe him, "a quiet man."  He would listen and not comment.

My father always listened to my mother.  One of his brothers  insinuated that he was henpecked, but that was never my mother's intent.   At the urging of my mother, my dad went back to college.  Got his accounting degree.  Later on he went on for a Master's.  He got a degree in Data Processing, and changed careers from being the assistant general manager of a grocery store to  professor of Data Processing and Accounting at one of the Chicago City Colleges..  

Despite financial struggles at the beginning of their marriage, my mom says my dad was always generous.  Never once asked her to justify how much something cost.  She, of course, never was that extravagant. They had both gone through The Depression, and it made a lasting impression on them.

My dad tried to go into business more than once.  One business was alarm systems.  We had one installed in our home.  Once when it accidentally got set off, we had a scene that could have been part of a sitcom.  The unit was quietly removed.  Unlike the sitcoms, however, my mom made him feel like an idiot for his failures.  

In his later years, my dad would always say about my mom, "we're lucky to have her."  Even as he retreated into dementia, he appreciated my mother.  Even as he expressed his resentment towards her, he knew deep down that she was doing her best to take care of him. More than that, she kept her promise to him to keep him out of a nursing home.  

Shortly after he died, my mom told me he sang to her again just like he had  when they were courting.  I imagine one of the songs was Twenty-Four Hours A Day

Sometimes love can conquer dementia and aphasia for a final expression of devotion.  Even at the very end, he was the good husband.  


  1. Just lovely. Thanks for this, it's beautifully written.

  2. Always sweet to be able to sing to a lover.


  3. I wish you could have heard my dad's tenor. Very nice.