November 30, 1957.
Here’s my father, George J. Kimmerling, Jr,. dancing with his mother, Mary (nee McKenna), at the wedding reception which followed his marriage to my mother, Amelia (nee Fritz). Today, September 12, 2015, would have been his 95th birthday. He died in 2010, a day before their 53rd wedding anniversary.
This morning, I recalled a beautiful conversation I had with Dad, years ago, via phone, about the engagement and wedding plans. It may help to know that my mother and father married at ages 36 and 37, respectively. In 1957, they may have been considered a bit long in the tooth for such things.
Introductions had been made, years earlier, through siblings and cousins who attended school together. But, there was quite a span of time between meeting and marrying. An intervening bout of TB caused my mother’s parents to send her off to the Trudeau Institute, on Saranac Lake, to “take the cure”.
Upon her return, the story goes, she left a note on his windshield (though another version holds that she wrote on his windshield in lipstick; I like that version) proclaiming “I’m back”.
Dad told me that when they reunited, he suggested they make marriage plans post-haste. Mom was for a Spring wedding. Dad’s retort: “Why wait?” Dad’s persuasive nature (he was a successful salesman all his life, it seems) won the day.
As he and I continued our conversation, I remarked on the impact of his desire, and their decision, to marry without delay. We would have been a completely different family had they waited ’til spring of 1958 to marry. I, for one, would not have been born on December 1st of the following year. Somewhat like the “Butterfly Effect”, multiple subsequent configurations (marriages, grandchildren, etc) would have been vastly different in the years to come.
For me, this story is about the eagerness of love. How it propels us into action. How it changes our history, the history of those around us, and of those who follow us. Indeed, my parents’ love began my history.
I am not suggesting that pure love is our only motivation. We are human, after all. I have been propelled by far lesser and more damaging desires. The desire to accumulate. The desire to judge. The desire to be right; the sort of right that makes others wrong. The desire to hide from my truth. To wallow in solutions that harm instead of heal.
But, when love propels us, beautiful things ensue. I thank you, George J. Kimmerling Jr., for the power of your example.