Yesterday, June 6th,would have been my dad’s birthday. I wanted to share something I wrote for my parents 50th Anniversary. It is a true story about two people who were destined to be together, Hope it brightens your day!
A true love story
“Be my valentine. You are the sunshine of my life.” The words written in perfect script were almost never read. At first glance, Don hadn’t noticed the hand-made valentine from Judy, his wife of 48 years. He almost tossed it away in the trash without a second thought. Even after all this time, she still surprises me, he thought, as he got up and hobbled on unsteady feet from the kitchen to the bedroom.
Judy was in there, still putting on her face. She heard him enter the room and thought he was coming to get something that she could have more easily brought to him.
“What do you need? I’ll get it,” she asked.
“Nothing,” he said. Then smiling at her added, “You are the sunshine of my life too.”
Judy’s face relaxed into a schoolgirl smile. Having left it on the kitchen table before she went to bed, she had forgotten about the card.
Some people are destined to be together. Sometimes the clues are more obvious than other times. With Don and Judy, the signs went back to even before they met.
When Judy was in eighth grade, a seventh-grader named Joyce McCue sat next to her in class. Judy thought that was a nice last name, and liked the way it looked when she wrote her first name with that last name. She practiced it over and over: “Judith V. McCue”.
Joyce’s Uncle Don had no idea he already had a wife.
Don was talking about marrying Judy before he met her also. When he was in Koreaplaying baseball in the Army, mail call was always an exciting time. The expectations were always high. No matter what you got for mail, it was good to get. One day, Don received the latest issue of The Illuminator, a newsletter for employees of the Hartford Electric Light Company where he worked. On the cover was a picture of a kick-line in a Rockette’s-style dance show. Don said to one of his buddies, “I’m gonna marry the one in the middle.”
His friend said, “Oh yeah? What’s her name?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know? Haven’t you met her?”
“Well, what if she has a boyfriend?”
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Back on American soil, Don worked in the store room at the light company, and was sometimes called upon to deliver appliances to people who had bought them through the company. When he had to go to the building on Pearl Street where Judy worked, he would try to time it so that he could ride in the elevator with her, so that he could see how much taller than him she would be in heels.
On one of the hottest days of the year, the company had an outing. The guys were playing baseball and Judy was watching from the bleachers with her friend Barbara Modine, who at the time was going with Don’s nephew Billy Adams. The heat was unbearable. After the game, he came over and Barbara introduced them.
He had a beer in his hand. Judy wasn’t much of a beer drinker—never cared for the taste, really—but she had always heard people say how good a cold beer tastes on a hot day. She was melting form the heat, so she asked him if she might have a sip of his beer.
It sure was cold.
She still didn’t like it.
At a sports banquet that year, the guests were seated at very long tables. Judy and her friend Norma were sitting down towards one end, and Don was down toward the other end, but on the other side of the table. The person sitting next to Don got up to go see someone, and Norma said, “Ooh, there’s a seat open down there next to Don McCue…I’m going to go sit next to him!” and headed off down one side of the table and around the end.
Don looked down the long table and said to himself, Hey, there’s a seat open down there next to Judy Van Ostrand…I’m going to go sit next to her!, and proceeded to walk down the other side of the table and around the end.
Norma never spoke to Judy again.
After they went out a few times, Judy didn’t hear from him for awhile. Her mom asked, “What ever happened to that McCue boy?” Judy just shrugged and said she didn’t know, but figured that he just wasn’t interested, so he stopped calling. Judy wasn’t really looking for anyone. She had given up on ever finding anyone, actually.
Too bad though. She liked him.
Since his family didn’t really know they were dating, she was unaware that the jaundice that he brought home fromKoreahad landed him in the hospital. Don didn’t want to worry his mother, so he kept wearing the same yellow shirt day after day. When she would mentioned that he looked a bit yellow, he told her it was just the reflection off his shirt.
One day, Judy and her family were visiting some friends inNew York, and Don was calling her all day. He had finally gotten a car, and he couldn’t wait to come show her! Now they could go on dates without having to coordinate it with his friends so that someone could take him to pick her up. They had gotten home pretty late, but her dad let him come over to show her the car.
The coincidences didn’t stop there either. Riding the bus on her way to work, she was talking to a lady named Joan Blais. Joan asked her if she was seeing anyone, and Judy said that she was sort of dating someone. When Joan asked to see a picture, she said, “Oh my god, that’s my Uncle Joe’s brother!” Small world!
Soon after that, Don asked Judy, “What would you like for your birthday? Do you want a hope chest or a diamond? We’re getting married you know?” Always one to be practical, she chose the hope chest.
Naturally, she got both.
Fifty years later, they are still happily married. Not to say that they didn’t have their trials and tribulations to get through, but neither could have gotten through anything without the other.
Theirs is a love story that has stood the test of time. It is a true love story, and it goes to prove that destiny is real. This is however, not a story written for aHollywoodmovie, but something that truly happened to two of my favorite people.
Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!