I believe that there are no coincidences; there are only truths or “meant-to-be” situations. For example, my parents probably would never have met but for one small turn of events.
My mother grew up in poor circumstances in Maine, the youngest of five children. Her grandparents raised chickens, and all their vegetables and fruits came from their garden. Her brothers hunted and fished, but venison was usually the main meat on the table. Mom hated it, but back then you ate what there was and didn’t complain. “Store bought” items were few and far between.
Her mother was divorced, and she worked hard to make ends meet. As Mom’s brothers were all much older, she was the last child left with her mother. Her mother had several jobs, and she had to make every penny count. There was precious little time for fun or shows of affection. Mom once told me that she craved her mother’s attention and wished that her mother would just put her arms around her, or say that she loved her. She promised herself that when she had her own little girl, she would smother her in hugs and kisses and tell her she loved her every day.
Mom’s mother died of liver cancer when Mom was only 14, and she went to live with her oldest brother and his wife. When that didn’t work out, she lived with her closest brother, who was only six years older than she was. Along with going to school, she did all the cooking and cleaning, and their apartment was always neat and sparkling clean.
Mom wanted to go to college more than anything, but there was no money for it. She married her high school sweetheart at 18, and had me a year later. They lived in campus housing while her husband was attending college, and she did all the cooking and baking, and kept their home clean and organized. To make extra money, she sold her delicious homemade beans and took in laundry.
As promised, Mom never let a day go by without telling me she loved me, and she hugged and kissed me several times a day. She was a good and consistent teacher, too. I learned everything from her, and the her lessons have stayed with me all my life.
A few years later, she knew that her marriage wasn’t working, so she got a divorce. She and I were on our own for a while, and at no time did I ever feel deprived or ignored. She had an old big black car, and whenever we were in it, we sang and talked together.
She landed a job at the new Bangor, ME television station as a swap show host. Although I don’t remember this, Mom was so nervous each morning being live on the air that she was always sick to her stomach each day until it was over. But she made a good living, so it was worth it to her.
During this time, my soon-to-be dad was sitting in a reception area in another state, waiting for his job interview. While he waited, he read the paper. A small ad caught his eye; a new television station in Bangor, ME was advertising for an announcer.
Without hesitation, he got up and walked out the door without having the interview. He got in his car and drove to Bangor, ME. He got the announcer job, and later on he met my mother, and they began dating. I was about four years old, and I liked him right away. I went wherever they went, and I remember thinking how happy my mom looked. Some months later, Mom got an opportunity to take a better-paying job in Portland, ME. She explained to Dad that she couldn’t pass it up; it meant a better life for us.
Long story short, Dad proposed to her. He also wanted to adopt me, which he did right after their wedding on December 27, 1955. We were a team from that moment on. Dad was everything a father should be; loving, kind, responsible, patient, consistent and a good teacher. He explained things to me, and taught me many things that he felt I should know how to do on my own; change a tire, use a jack knife responsibly, set a good camp fire and put it out properly, and to be responsible.
As for my mother, she blossomed being married to Dad. She became the kind of woman who knows she is loved and cherished, and her confidence in herself grew. She and Dad became more than partners, more than husband and wife, more than friend and parents–they became their own state of joy, happiness, truth, kindness, love and strength, with me in the center.
Over the years they worked together running two businesses, they played together, danced together, laughed together and made all the decisions together. I always felt enveloped in their love. They gave me a happy, healthy, wonderful childhood; they helped make me who I am today.
And to think that all this came from one small ad in the paper. Coincidence? No–it truly was a meant-to-be.