Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Has it Really Been THAT Long?

     Wow.  April 27, 1968 saw me getting married - to young Philip G. Leavy, Jr. (please see - or not - photo to the right)  And this was not some '60's, rad, impulsive act.  We'd met at Georgetown University, although did not begin the 'dating ritual' until my senior year.  He was a second year medical student.  We'd been through "Camelot" - the Magic Years and then the beginning of the always rudely unexpected relationship with the ugly aspects of reality.  I guess even then we were "Strange Bedfellows" indeed.  He was most amusing - witty, ever the optimist, roll & frolic with the punches - and the Beatles.  I was given to musing, always quietly questioning but outwardly very, uh, 'outward', I guess those who were around me would say.  I, too, laughed alot, searched for the just right bon mot, loved to dance, sing and, naturally, suffer fools not at ALL.  So we were "a good fit", "nice match" and everyone seemed a tad surprised by this.  And as the Good Lama used to quip, "Who's to say if this is good or bad?" Whilst awaiting the nuptuals, he studied in D.C. and I was a Coronary Care nurse in N.Y.  and even as the "hearts grew fonder," I would sometimes find myself thinking - in silence, of course:

(I once told you "Everything old is new again".  This is still true.  Like if I were going on about my "musing tendency".  Same ole, same ole in 2011.  Just this morning, as is my wont, I checked my horoscope - ALWAYS, that & the Obits and if I don't see my name in the latter, I proceed with the former.  TODAY, the missive was "You go out of your way to gain mental perspective.  No one can accuse you of missing the forest for the trees."  AHA! So THAT'S what I've been sensing lately.  When I'm musing.  I feel like Woody Allen walking down the street, turning around in circles, not knowing whether I'm being followed or I'm following someone else.  I'm being JUDGED.  Can't you hear the whispers?  "Does she even SEE the forest??  Look at how she focuses - over and over - on-each-tree?  See? "  Not so fast, my would-be friends. I may LOOK like a disoriented Woody Allen but what you are witnessing is an individual - as she has ALWAYS DONE - going-out-of-my-way-to-gain-mental-perspective.  That one characteristic which revealed 'where the I stopped and the Thou began' re: my lifetime bud and me:  Lorane was always ANALYZING;  Phil concentrated on just LIVING. )
     Of course NOW, the nay-sayers are saying, "Can you BELIEVE those two have been married for FORTY-THREE years?"  And the sages are only too happy to footnote THAT "Mad Magazine"-like commentary with desultory - and un-invited - observations like, "Please.  They never wore a sign on their backs.  Didn't HAVE to.  It was SO apparent, to the truly aware, that they were ONE, they were/are STILL best friends and totally devoted to each other, their marriage, the kids.  They are what MARRIAGE IS."; or the equally 'never-requested-profundity' along -and between - the lines of, "God works in mysterious ways.  In Phil and Lorane's case, He was uncharacteristically candid.  He blessed this beautiful union."   Can't help but wonder, with all due respect, of course, what the HELL was 'He' doing/dawdling re: the USSR?  THERE was one union that was neither blessed nor beautiful.  The bottom line, I think -realizing full well that my thoughts/musings can ONLY be but 50% of the 'picture' - is that, at least in OUR relationship, ABSENCE was a helpful little success "insurance policy".  I'd ask Phil to weigh in on this point but he's not here at the moment. 
     Apres honeymoon, we moved into our 3rd floor walk-up in College Park, MD, which we shared with 2,436 roaches and an Indian family, roughly 22 in number; Phil went off in his starched whites & I in my washed RN couture to NIH/National Heart Institute to perform research on the "dying heart syndrome."  Pd well.  Good thing b/c Phil needed the VW & we were LUCKY enuff to find/buy "The Pig" - some very old navy blue sedan for FIFTY DOLLARS!  The Pig & I barrelled along in the right lane each morning doing 35 mph - EASY - just to see if the other 'highwaymen(&women') had REALLY had their coffee.  Finally, graduation, Long Island surgical internship AND pregnancy.  The TRIFECTA!  I worked as charge of Meadowbrook's combo Med/Surg ICU until I could no longer see my toes (got to 196 LBS!) which was a good thing b/c we REALLY had to supplement Phil's $4K/yr. intern salary.  So, @ 37 wks., I retired to our on-campus, rent-free townhouse.  AND.  To keep me from getting bored/lonely, Phil brought home a 6 wk-old mutt puppy, brought in by one of the Maximum Care nurses.  Hence, "Max" became a fun pass time for toeless Moi re: potty training.  (Had to go down 1 flight of carpeted steps to get out the door.  Max never got passed the LAST step.  So, I cut the carpet off of that step, put it out on the grass, and WHAT LO!  By December 16, 1969, when first-born Philip arrived (after 23 hrs of labor; LaMaze sans coach who was doing surgery; posterior - crown-of-head on Mommy's spinal column), new Daddy, Dr. Phil and potty-trained Max built a snowman on Max's fav spot.
     Then on to OTS in Newport, R.I. (had to pay ye ole Navy back & Phil was SO hoping to get on The Hope) after which we were shipped to Norfolk, VA.  The Hope was pulled back; Phil deployed for 9 mos. on the USS Harold Ellison destroyer & young Philip and I went to our initial classes of "Daddy's not home" School - degree STILL unearned but training INVALUABLE re: sustaining a 43 year-old marriage which ushered FOUR children into this world.  LITTLE COPERS, FOLKS.  That's what you want.  To BE and to RAISE.
     (So far, that's how I ANALYZE our marriage.  Especially around anniversaries.  When we all tend to take a look and check on ". . .what condition our condition is in.".  Indeed, I DO see "the FOREST".  AND  I go out of my way and, who knows, maybe even gain the RIGHT  mental perspective.  At least I'm trying.  VERY, according to some. I'll ask Phil - when I see him.  I mean REALLY see him, like "the FOREST".)


Later, L. . . .
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