February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day tribute to Vinny and Ava...

        The story of Vinny and Ava in FORTY YEARS IN A DAY represents my parent’s story and the story that resonates the closest to my heart. My parents were just shy of 20 years apart in age, and they died within 10 months of each other. I think that in itself is not by accident, but the consequence of true love. I grew up with loving parents who loved their families and each other...but there are skeletons in every closet.
        When I was in my teens, my sister told me that our father had been married before. Initially, I thought she was joking, but she convinced me that she had recently found out herself. I was shocked that I did not know this significant fact about my father. What else happened that I should know? Over the years, I wondered about his previous wife. Who was she? What did she look like? How did they meet? Is it possible they had children? Why did they divorce? My mother vaguely answered my questions, and my father, I don’t know if I even asked. I questioned aunts and uncles about his first wife, but I sensed there were bits of their life, and everyone’s in our story, that were swept under a rug.
         It was over twenty years later and the night before my mother had brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in the center of her brain when she told me to look in the safe in their home; there was something she wanted my siblings and me to see. The next day my mother underwent surgery and was never the same. We would have found this curious envelope that was tucked away in the safe when my sister, brother, and I were cleaning out the contents of their home, my childhood home, but for some reason, my mother had wanted us to know that she wanted us to know—if that makes sense. It was a few days later, maybe a week, by the time my sister and I went to their home. (My father was living with me at the time and had dementia). What we found in the safe was our parent’s Marriage License — they had married when my siblings and I were in our teens. WHAT?! Impossible! We were all illegitimate children!
        The next few years were sad ones, and when my parents died, I felt more compelled to delve into their past. No one alive could tell me the whole story. My parents were now dead and took their story with them to the grave. I should have asked more questions when they were alive. I should have been more curious. Well, the story of Vinny and Ava is conjured from the pieces of stories I had put together, and I filled in the rest. I think it is the story, especially emotionally, of what had happened between them.
Happy Valentine's Day!