The lady was strong, proper and stoic, holding a college degree, something rare in those days. She married a pastor in 1936; a pastor who loved the church far more than he loved his young beautiful bride.
She did everything right. She gave shelter and meals to whomever the pastor brought home. She taught modeling and homemaking classes to the young women desiring to marry the young pastors he taught at the bible college. Everything was perfect as far as the eye could see: the home, the meals, and the marriage. She raised five children on very little; sewing their clothes, cooking huge meals and making sure they always looked worthy to be pastor’s children. All this was done alone, as Pastor was too busy for her.
The wife was judgmental; expecting everyone else to live as perfect as she; perfect families, perfect dress, perfect lives. Every night she asked forgiveness for any sin committed that day, believing that if Jesus returned in the night and she was not forgiven, she would not make it into heaven. It made for an unhappy woman no close friends.
When Pastor became ill with Parkinson’s, she nursed him until the only option was a nursing home. He didn’t always remember her but she visited daily until he passed away.
I visited her and we ended up in her bedroom as she showed me her jewelry, wanting to know what I wanted when she died.
She opened an old, tattered black box, one from her high school years. Inside was a tarnished gold bracelet from her first love. He had been older, not a Christian, and someone she would never had been permitted to marry. They loved each other but it could not be. So he let her go and she boarded a train to travel across the country to Bible College. Before she left her gave her a bracelet.
For over sixty years, she carried this bracelet with her: always in the box, never to be worn. She longed for the true love of a man who would cherish her, put her needs above his work and be her soul mate.
My Grandmother died. When the family went through her things, they found a box with a bracelet that none of them had seen before. Inside was a paper with my name on it. No one knew there had been a man in her past that she had never forgotten. She had entrusted her secret to me and she now entrusted me with her bracelet.
No one ever knew her thoughts, her desires, and her hurts. Yet, she left behind and old black diary with torn binding and yellowed pages. There were entries from their first year of marriage that revealed the hurt and longing behind the stoic, judgmental woman.
In her elegant slant, she wrote,“I had a good time today but I was lonesome. I wish Hervy could be with me so I wouldn’t have to go by myself. Perhaps he will after this week.”
“I miss Hervy so much but I do hope the meetings are a success.”
In spite of all, she remained true and loyal to the man she had chosen to marry. I wonder, in todays world, if it would have been the same. There is something said for sticking to a commitment.