34° 43’ 29.4996”N, 77° 20’ 39.4764”W
Mom joined the marines on her 18th birthday, finished boot camp at Parris Island, and stationed at Camp Lejeune, where she met Dad.
It was around this time, 59 years ago, a Saturday night in mid-February when Dad told Mom he was Catholic and he knew a certain method. She, being in love or in lust, (or maybe both), trusted him.
They married on March 25, 1963 in our hometown of St. Albans, WV, at the First Presbyterian Church, founded in 1868. The bride wore white. I was technically present at the ceremony, but I remember little.
Dad was overseas when I was born and the story goes Dad was on the phone and Grandmother pinched me so I’d make a noise for him to hear. As years passed, Dad insisted Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World” was playing when he first heard my voice. Dad swore I made his world wonderful just by being in it.
But he didn’t stick around to prove the claim. He was gone by the time Satchmo released the song in 1968.
Grandmother passed away 16 years ago and among her things, I found Mom’s USMC ring, a yellowed newspaper clip about the day she joined, and her service coat. I tried it on and it’s two sizes too small but the ring fit. I keep the clipping and ring in my jewelry box, her coat in the spare closet.
Mom says she has no use for these things. I really don’t either. But I keep them anyway.