Their mothers are delighted. What a suitable match! The mothers have been friends for many years, having attended high school together, and with three more girls became what they dubbed: The Merry Hearts.
In the summer of 1946, the girl and the man were in one another’s company after some years had passed. In the fall, they would be back in school, he in university, she in high school. Today, most of us would consider him a boy, but this boy had returned home after World War II, and while he didn’t see combat, he most certainly was not a boy.
When many years later one of their teenage sons asked, “Mom? When you and Dad got married, were you a virgin?”
His mother’s tone was bland. “Technically,” she said. After a tick of silence, she added, “At the time, the fear of pregnancy prevented nice people - who were very afraid of displeasing their parents - from fulfilling their desires. It was not the done thing. As time goes by, it seems that many other ideas have gone by, some very good, some very bad. That’s what life is: Change.” She left him to ponder the vagaries of time and life.
That dust in your home is most likely sloughed skin - yeah, skin. The only thing that will never change is change.
What is the point of this story?
Had this girl and man been this couple today, the man would be in trouble. So would his mother and his father, considering he lived in the family home. Years later, the young - not middle-aged - man would declare to his own children that if they weren’t out of the family home before the age of twenty-three, he would help them move. As well, he mightily disapproved of sexual proclivities outside of wedlock.
Marriage is quite old. The idea was to benefit the man who too often thought of women as chattel. As well, it was ill thought of by some of the early Christians who believed it was a sin what those married people were doing. For those interested, there is much information about how our forebears thought of sexual intercourse within a marriage, one consecrated by God and in front of witnesses. (See website below.)
The word obscene is thought by some to derive from the Greek ob skene, which means off-stage, events being acted too horrendous for an audience to see. However, ob is not a Greek word. That noted, most of us know what obscene means. Why did I bring this into the blog? Because it seems to me that so many weddings today should be off-stage, that they are obscene.
I remain appalled at the attention paid to marriage plans, few of which seem to settle on what marriage is “supposed” to be (depending on one’s culture). I could ask: “Instead of spending so much money on a wedding, how about a down-payment on a house?” Some of today’s weddings are outrageously expensive and often celebrated after a couple has been living together for many years. While I have no objection to sexual expression outside of the marriage bed, why not obtain a license and a judge - or at least keep things simple? Clearly, none of this is up to me and I’ve happily celebrated marriages after the fact a number of times, and with my own children.
And then there are those with enormous amounts of money who evidently need to make a display. Too often, and not too much later, there seem to be rather sensational divorces.
As time goes by, we make adjustments. The adjustments made in this new world order (or what feels like one) are exhausting when there are so many losing their homes, non-human habitat being despoiled, caribou killed as sport, wolves brought down by shooters in airplanes, hunger always present . . . as time goes by, will fulminating kindness return, will planet Earth recover?
Doubtful. Very doubtful.
So why am I always so happy, so grateful? Because for the more immediate past I’ve found that living alone is exactly what I need. Selfish, I know. But when the airplane gives us those oxygen masks, we must save ourselves before we can save others. That works very well as a lesson: Save yourself before you try to save anyone else.
Someone said that the definition of maturity is the ability to adjust. That’s lovely so far as it goes: Adjusting to the acceptance of evil is absolutely not the idea. Here is a story my mother told me. Probably her mother told it to her.