The nights would drag on as I sat with my dad, trying to keep mom from getting agitated. As the evenings would close in, the night terrors would get worse. As we’d talk, occasionally she would have a glint of recognition in her eyes and say something that could maybe apply. But mostly she would wander, opening and closing drawers, look out the front door, then sit back down and start the routine all over again.
One such evening as the evening wore on, I asked dad how he and mom met. This is the story he told me.
”We met at a restaurant across from Immaculate Conception Church. My brother, Bill, and I would have lunch there. Your mom and (Aunt) Jane would go there. We’d follow them back down Miller Street. You see, we lived on the same street with Oscar and Agnes, about four houses down from where your mom lived.
The night I asked your mom to marry me, we were driving the old red truck that they used to push cars around with [the Hood boys owned a garage]. It was a 29 Dodge with a hydraulic hook, and had Hood’s Garage written on it. Your mom was wearing my signature ring, wrapped with tape so it wouldn’t fall off. The date was December 13, 1946, Friday the 13th. We went to Oscar’s Steakhouse on St. Louis Road.
As we were leaving the restaurant I asked for my ring back. She thought something was wrong and got very upset. I told her ‘this ring won’t fit over it’ and gave her the diamond ring.
We were going to get married the next year, but her brothers Cy and Tony, and then her sister Jane all decided to get married. This was too many weddings in one year. So we waited until the next year.”
Among photos I have been scanning, I found hastily scribbled notes in my own handwriting from this conversation. I had totally forgotten about it. I remember now that the story is disjointed because of the number of times we would follow mom out of the room, bringing her back to the safety of the kitchen. Damn Alzheimer’s! But I am thankful that I have this much of the story.
Their love story continued for 60 years, with dad showing the ultimate love of devotion, dedicating his life to caring for mom until the end.