He was born in 1910. She was born in 1914. It’s an old story.

I wish I had been curious and wise enough to ask the right questions, to draw out their love story and lay it out for you here. I didn’t and I can’t.  Their story is timeless and painful.

I met them in another life when I was living out my first love story. It was a time when I was young and barely concerned with the complications of real life. I married into a family of rare generations, both fascinating and confusing. Because I was genuinely self-centered in those years, every family reunion was spent relearning who belonged to whom, their places in the family structure and trying to appear as if I knew everyone when I only saw them once a year. They all knew my place and probably knew my character flaws as well.

Anyway, I married into the early end of the lives of Arthur and Marie. Arthur, nicknamed Poddy, was my husband’s uncle, his Mother’s brother. We visited Poddy and Marie on occasion. Poddy was soft spoken, with a nice smile and he was a skilled craftsman in his wood shop. Marie was a homemaker and not soft spoken, with no smile and a sour disposition. No matter how friendly your attempt, she didn’t seem to care. I wrote it off early on, as old age.

How wrong I was! We learn life lessons in jarring ways..

Their marriage produced three children, a son and two daughters. The first was Shirley, born in 1936. Next came Freddie in 1938 and lastly Connie in 1945. In my imagination they must have had a pretty lively household with two toddlers, probably during some lean years. I like to think they were made of grit and grace, an average family, living life. Along came Connie and made her place as the baby.

Living life should be so normal and uncomplicated, but sometimes living life is just about the most cruel ordeal no one can ever prepare for. Such was the case for Poddy and Marie.

I can’t begin to dress down the tragedy of their lives. Some people just face more than should be endured…. I haven’t the details; they hardly matter. The facts are that Shirley died of rheumatic fever in 1949. She was 13. In 1952, at the age of 14, Freddie died during an operation.  In 1964, Connie died in a car accident – age 19.

And in some miraculous way for Arthur and Marie, their hearts continued to beat.

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