P. S. Gifford
Copyright 2005 by P. S. Gifford
As Harry strolled down the crowded city street he thought back a long forty-three years ago to growing up in the Bronx- New York ... He recalled with clarity the first time he had really seen Mary, a girl he had known since she was five, and looked into her sparkling green teenage eyes and realized he was in love. As Mary glanced back at him he knew that she felt exactly the same…
However despite it being a very modern 1912 neither parents approved of the relationship. Mary was a strict Irish Catholic girl and Harry was from a very English protestant family and there feelings could never be truly fulfilled.
Over the next few years they could share nothing more than furtive glances, exchanging love letters, and their fondest memory of all –one stolen brief kiss behind the high school bleachers.
In time Harry left to go to College in San Francisco to study journalism. They both held back tears the day he left both sets of parents who refused to even acknowledge the others existence seemed content that this ill fitting match would never be fully lit.
It was September 1st 1955 when Harry had received the curious letter. Mary, who at this point was living in Los Angeles , had happened by chance to have come across a short article in a local newspaper by a Harry Wilmington. Her heart skipped a beat. Surely this could not be her Harry?
Still it was a chance so she promptly put pen to paper. She wrote about how her heart had ached for years after he had left to San Francisco . She wrote further of her parents attempting to match make with every Catholic Irish boy in town. She wrote how she had finally had met Paul and how he had seemed a little different. She wrote of their courtship, and how she fell in love with Paul, not the passionate heart wrenching love that she had experienced before, but a safe comfortable cozy form. She shared how she had married him and had bore three children. Then he had been called up to go to Germany towards the close of World War two. She wrote with tears streaming down her cheeks the day there was an abrupt knock on th front door and she knew at once by the grim faces standing there it was tragic news… Finally she wrote that despite how she had felt for Paul there had only been one true love in her life…
Harry sat there in disbelief reading the letter. Then he too quickly put pen to paper. He wrote that he had studied like crazy upon arriving in San Francisco so they he would not have an empty moment to think about her. After College he attained a job as a cub reporter for the San Francisco Gazette. Eventually he slowly moved up the journalism chain and became the chief sports writer. He had been introduced to Pamela by a colleague. He told how he too had fallen in love again -yet with him too it was a watered down emotion- safe and unexciting. He wrote how he also had children- two strong .handsome sons. He wrote of the day of the car accident, when his Chrysler had skidded in the rain, he told how the accident had not appeared bad, and he told how Pam had died instantly anyhow…Finally he too wrote that h had only ever been in love with one person…
A series of phone calls quickly ensued. It had been just three weeks later that he had proposed to the woman he hadn’t seen face to face to in 43 years. Without hesitation she accepted. And at 59 years old she was happier than she ever had been. Neither of them told there children or even there grand children. They surely would not have ever of approved. And this time they did not care what their families thought-This was their last chance at true happiness.
They had arranged to meet in Fort Lauderdale Florida . Harry had arranged a cruise ship to Barbados where he had rented a modest weather battered cottage upon the white sandy shores. He had also arranged for the boats captain to perform a very simple wedding service on the way…
Yes, as Harry and Mary contently strolled down the
crowded city street arm-in-arm towards the Harbor they both fully
understood finally at age sixty what true happiness was…
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