My father was not the overtly affectionate type, and I think I can speak for my mom when I say he wasn’t the romantic sort. But when I was a baby, he did turn on the charm for Valentine’s Day.
I can only guess that this was my first Valentine’s, since there is no date on the card. Dad refers to me by the nickname he gave me, “Wee Tookie,” a term of affection from his Irish upbringing. He signs the card: “Lots of love from Da Da,” which I remember calling him when I was very young.
The card is in excellent condition 40-plus years later, and is something I will always treasure.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.
My parents may never have been the most passionate of couples, but their love for one another endured for 40 years, and that’s saying a lot in today’s world. I remember being one of the only kids at school whose parents had NOT divorced, and all of the pain and suffering broken marriages inflict upon children. I don’t believe parents should stay together for the kids, because children are way smarter than we give them credit for and can see through artificial arrangements like that quite easily. I’m not sure what the answers are, but I think we have many more selfish expectations now about our ideal relationship, and when reality strikes, we are more than willing to jump ship.
My parents’ generation was different. A marriage vow was taken more seriously and literally. Sure, there were still divorces, but the vow wasn’t nearly as disposable as it is now. When my parents married in 1971, at 34 and 39, they were quite a bit older than the average marriage age for their generation. They found love later in life, and my dad may not have been the flashy guy with the cool car, like the type my mom had dated in the past. But my dad intrigued my mom, with his Irish accent and striking dark and handsome features. Dad was always more mum on what attracted him to mom.
Their relationship was not always perfect. There were fights, there were threats of divorce, but it all blew over and for the last half of their marriage, they had settled into a comfortable companionship. They were dependent upon one another yet independent in certain aspects, at least until my dad became ill. And the way my mom sacrificed to take care of dad, the toils of caregiving, the long trek to see him in the nursing home, she deserves a medal in my book. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what it is.
So happy Valentine’s Day Mom and Dad. You taught me more about love than I ever gave you credit for.
With it being Valentine’s week, my mind turns to my parents and their romantic relationship. My parents were married in 1971 when the ‘Love Is …’ cartoons were quite popular. The single-frame cartoon series launched in the L.A. Times the year before, and in my childhood, I remember countless clippings of these cartoons that my mom would keep around. I liked them because the drawings and words were simple and I could understand many of them, even at a young age.
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My mom would say that the cartoon couple somewhat resembled the two of them, with the boy figure’s shock of dark hair just like my dad’s and the girl’s longer hair was the way my mom had kept hers back in the day. There is a sweetness and innocence about the cartoon series that appealed to my parents, who didn’t have that storybook romance, but found a safe and comforting companionship with one another. Oh, and they got me out of it, I think they would include that as a bonus!
As simple as the cartoons are, they often carry a universal message of love and good advice about relationships. As an adult, I can see why the series has been so popular for so long throughout the world.
Anyways, the whimsical image of the ‘Love Is …’ cartoon couple is forever burned into my mind and it always makes me think of my parents in a warm and fuzzy way.