She opened the door and greeted me with a smile. “How do you like your hot dogs,” she asked me. I awkwardly tried to hand her the apothecary jar filled with mint pillows I had bought at the drug store. She served us not hot dogs but steaks, and we dined in her tiny apartment at a folding card table set for two. The salad bowls were purchased with S&H green stamps, she explained. After dinner, I suggested a ride along Collins Avenue at the beach in my 1955 Chevy convertible. “It’s a warm night. We could put the top down,” I said.
“I heard violins,” she told her best friend the next day.
After a few dates, she said wanted a serious conversation. About children. Okay, I replied warily. “I’ve noticed the way you are around children,” she began. “You love them. Clearly you are comfortable with them, and they are with you. I think it’s important for you to know that I’m not very experienced with children. I’ve never been a baby sitter.” She mentioned her childhood polio. “I’m not even sure I could have a child,” she went on, “and even if I could, I wouldn’t be a very good mother.” I told her I thought she would be a wonderful mother, but I don’t think she was convinced.
We were married that August in 1962, on my 28th birthday. Three years later, Katie was born. Two years after that, Beth arrived. Then in 1969, Evelyn was born. Three wonderful daughters, and a mom once skeptical of her mothering skills, doing just great at it, thank you.
Now 55 years later, our three daughters, now in their 50s, all happily married with two children each, sing the praises of their loving mother. And so do I.
As we come upon yet another Thanksgiving, it feels natural for me to reflect on so many blessings that have enriched my life through the years, but one in particular outshines them all. For all these years, Betsy has loved me as I love her and continues to find ways to show it every day. Words can’t express how very thankful I am for our shared life together, every exquisite, precious minute of it.