John had not seen his high school classmate Helen since graduation day. Obviously, I had not met her or her husband Joe before. This warm conversation was just like the one with classmate Carol and John the previous day. We shared our experiences, with everyone being an equal partner in the word-flow. What a delight!
We enjoy hearing accounts of how couples meet and marry, so we asked them their story. Their mothers were the match-makers! Joe’s mother was a manager at Wanamaker’s, a big department store. Helen’s mother saw photos of the wedding of Joe’s sister while Helen was trying on clothes. Joe’s mother found out that Helen’s family had an ice cream shop, so she insisted Joe drive her there to get ice cream. As Joe pointed out, his mother could have easily driven herself there. That was the beginning of a lovely romance. We saw photos of their two daughters and grandchildren who still live close by.
Helen was a teacher. Lots of people know I admire teachers, so she started on a very high plane with me. She stayed home with the girls while they were growing up. She was concerned about entering the work force again, but her experience stood her in good stead. Many students were inspired by her during her teaching career. I am envious of her gardening experience. She loves to work outside, and there is evidence to prove it.
I was fascinated by the way Joe’s job affected their family life. He was an electronics engineer with very high security clearance. During the girls’ childhood years, he could not tell anyone about his job. When the children asked what he did at work, he had to dodge the question. After a serious crisis, he worked the 12-hour night shift for a while. Not only could he not say what he did, but he worked in the dead of night. It was only a few years ago that this was declassified, so his talking to us was permissible. After a lifetime of keeping important secrets, he wouldn’t be comfortable with my publishing his photo, according to Helen. You’ll have to imagine a very distinguished man who is easy to talk to.
After our satisfying visit with Helen and Joe, we headed for Long Island, to spend time with blood relatives and people who are our very close church family.