Victor and Laura’s Love Story

I can still see her standing in her slip at the mirror in the tiny bathroom, putting on her lipstick and brushing her hair. I can even smell the steam from her bath, the Jergens hand lotion, and the light scent of her face powder as she smoothed the puff over her face. The tomboy that I was, I would watch her surreptitiously from the next room. Summer and winter, Mom would follow her ritual: at 3:30 on weekday afternoons, she would bathe, put on clean clothes, then do her makeup and hair. Once a week she would give herself a manicure, too, carefully applying a pastel shade, leaving the half moons unpainted. She would then go about preparing dinner. When Dad came through the kitchen door with his empty lunch box and a newspaper in hand, he would hug and kiss her hello. Not just a peck on the cheek, a real kiss.She was only 13 and he almost 18 when their romance began; at a church social one weekend, Victor bid on and won Laura’s boxed lunch. Their courtship years are well documented with old black and white snapshots of their frequent outings with friends. They show a beautiful young girl with a woman’s figure and a handsome, smiling fella with his arms around her; in some they are kissing for the camera. I suspect she knew early on that this was the man for her. After all, he had graduated from high school and had also been working since he was 13 to help support his widowed mother; yet he appeared to be a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He played guitar and had a beautiful tenor voice, singing for the pure enjoyment of it. Laura was not only beautiful, she was smart, funny and fun to be with.

They had four years of courtship, then four years of married life before starting their family. They were living far from their families and their many young friends, and of course, she did not work. She did work hard at becoming a dedicated homemaker. Even after four children, Laura took classes in cooling, sewing and candy making. Her house was always lived in but clean! Married during the depression, Laura was good at making do with very little. Neither of them would complain about their lack of money, but worked as a team to stretch what they did have.

We children took their love for each other for granted, but I can see now that they had a playfulness that not many couples experience. Dad often used teasing innuendoes, and I can still hear her warning voice, “Victor!”, but it was always delivered with a smile. They enjoyed each other, and enjoyed sharing good times with their kids. They took us on picnics, beach outings, fishing or just Sunday drives. In the car, she always sat close to him. Family dinners at our house with visiting aunts, uncles and cousins were a Sunday staple; we had home made ice cream (turned by hand) and played volleyball, croquet, badminton or bocci games in our big yard. Many times, we would sit around the living room and have sing-alongs with Dad playing guitar. He loved country songs like Red River Valley or the Crawdad Song and an occasional favorite hymn. Some songs were romantic ballads and Dad would sing them to Mom as she was working in the kitchen nearby.

They had been married for 61 years when she passed away. They were in love all those years. They held hands, said I love you a lot, especially when they knew their time together was coming to a close. They definitely endured some roller coaster years, financially and emotionally. They saw their children grow into capable, independent adults; grandchildren and great-grandchildren arrived to their great joy. They grieved over the loss of a son and faced up to Dad’s alcoholism and recovery. Finally, they bravely fought together the kidney disease that claimed her life at age 78. He missed her dreadfully for four long years. The first year she was gone, he would hear her call his name, sometimes stroking his arm as he dozed on the living room couch alone.

Victor and Laura gave their children a rare gift. They were committed and loving to each other; their family was their highest priority. They gave us not only the necessities, but a safe, happy childhood in a loving home. They also gave us the encouragement to reach for a better life, to lead independent and meaningful lives. They gave all this not out of duty, but out of love.

"Thank you for sharing this page" ~ Tammy