Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

There's the best man, Dad's cousin Frank Butera,
then Dad (Mickele Edward Nicolazzo),
then Mom (Bertha Erma Huckabone – you heard me!),
and her maid of honor, her sister Gladys Huckabone.
The bridal party is standing left to right.

My parents would have celebrated sixty-three years of marriage today, had death not parted them fourteen years ago, when Dad died and Mom's Alzheimer's became screamingly apparent.

But let's pretend that Mom had remained her normal lively self for those last two years. Would she have celebrated the anniversary without her husband? I guess not. She surely would have noted the day. I still think it's awkward to talk about dead people. To say I loved my mother seems wrong, and yet to love someone who doesn't exist – at least not on this side of the Veil – seems if not wrong, at least ... ineffective.

Well, to say my parents would have celebrated is strange, too, but on their birthdays, I always count it up. Wow, I'll think, Dad would have been eighty-nine today. Yeah, well, he died at age seventy-four. Surely when I'm seventy-four, I won't think, Wow. Dad would have been a hundred and two today. Or will I?

But back to 1948.

Mom was a Baptist and Dad was a Roman Catholic, so they had to get married in a Catholic church, but she couldn't approach the altar. They were married somewhere else. The priest's office? A side chapel? A broom closet? I don't know. I'm pretty sure they had to sign a paper – or maybe it was only she – swearing to raise any kids Catholic. I wonder if she worried over that or just signed the damned thing. Seeing that my brother Jim was a premature baby, as many were in those pre-Pill days, I'm guessing she signed as quickly as possible.

And now, apparently, she's rotting in Hell, because while the first three of five children were baptized Catholic, none of them was raised that way. By the time my parents left this vale of tears, my Dad was a Bible-beating fundamentalist of some sort, a Brand X, or even Y, of Protestantism, and Mom was simply a smiling, compassionate agnostic.

But what an odd phrase is "rotting in Hell." The whole point of the afterlife is that we won't, after all, rot. What good is damning someone to Hell – or to Heaven, for that matter – if they're going to rot anyhow? Their punishment – or sparkly reward – will be too short, and I'm pretty sure we're promised ETERNITY here, whether it's a teeth-gnashing sort of eternity, or a harp-playing, sweetly swaying one.

Well, that settles that, then: Mom's not rotting in Hell. Whew.


Anonymous said...

Love this picture. I'm sure you recall Mom telling us that she is standing on a book.
I AM happy that hairstyle went away and hasn't returned again (so far). Didn't flatter no one!
~beth ann

Barbara said...

NO! I did NOT know Mom stood on a book, but of course I'm not surprised. I WAS thinking that Aunt Gladys and Dad are about the same height.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm glad you worked that out for us. You know how I worry. BTW, cool picture. --Gale

Anonymous said...

I appreciated the photo. I've been thinking lately about my own mother and father, who were married on January 20 -- which was also my mother's birthday. My dad always brought home our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, so "Santa" could decorate it when he came to bring our presents, and so it might still be fresh enough to keep it up until the weekend nearest January 20, when my aunts and uncles would be invited over for the annual anniversary/ birthday party. My parents' wedding photos predate yours a bit; they were married in 1934, when my mother was 30, so now she would be 107. They had been married for 51 years when my dad died at 78. (He was 3 years younger than she.) They were both brought up Protestant, and were still members of Presbyterian churches when they died, so there were no issues regarding how my brothers and I would be raised. Sometimes I wonder how we three siblings would have turned out, if our heritage had been different; none of us ever strayed very far from "the fold," not for lack of information about other options, so much as out of respect and love for our parents and for what we learned from them during our early years. Probably a boring heritage from some perspectives, though my own life has been anything but boring! -- Eunice

Anonymous said...

To me it is not "loved my mother". I still love all the memories of her-love looking all all her pictures-love thinking of her. No, I still love my mother. Her wedding dress was alot like your mom's. Great picture. Diane

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