Monday, June 2, 2014

Abby Meets Martha


     Sitting in the doctor’s office this morning I was reminded that: love songs matter, love is not obsolete, true love will last forever and it truly takes a real woman or man to know that nothing trumps love.
     Running exactly five minutes late for my doctor’s appointment, I arrived with a bountiful amount of unused energy and found myself seated next to eighty- eight year old, named Martha. Soon Martha and I began to chat as I devoured my yogurt cup.
     I learned she was the grandmother of three, two twins’ girls, Martha and Elizabeth named after their respective grandmothers and a grandson Grayson, all in their late 30’s.  She was the mother of five, three daughters, Katie, Claire, Josephine (named after Napoleons Josephine like me, she loved the love letters they exchanged), and two twin sons, Brick and Branch. Martha love Cat on a Hot Tin Roof thus the name Brick and  L'Armour books).
     She’d until a month ago been married for sixty five years to Hugh. Hugh is now deceased and buried at a local cemetery, in plot 35, across from her parents and an older brother who died during the depression. Martha visits Hugh every day. She takes him flowers, talks to him and keeps him updated on the family “goings ons”. Though she is looking for another husband very soon. She figures to continue visiting Hugh daily until next Spring when she moves with her daughter and new husband to Florida. Until then she wants to ensure Hugh gets lots of her time. She want be coming back to visit his grave or the city one she leaves.

     Hugh was a good man says Martha. The two met and married within two weeks. It’s hard to describe the feeling that arise when an eighty-eight year old woman tells you she was driven by “passion and unquenched fires of sexual tension” to marry a handsome young Navy man ten years her senior.  Hugh was an excellent provider so says Martha. He was an electrician who owned and operated his own thriving business for more than forty years.  Now the twins own and operate the family business.  
     Hugh and Martha, settled in marriage she said after the passion died down and began to raise a family. Martha worked doing the books at the store for a couple of years, then she became a high school math teacher when she was thirty. By that time Hugh was forty he encouraged her to go back to school. Apparently Hugh got his “groove” own with a blond named Shelly, hired in the seventies as a store clerk. Sending Martha to college was a way for High to spend more time “letting his passions flow”. Hugh told her about the affair when Shelly got pregnant and had an abortion. Hugh wanted the baby. Shelly did not.

     Hugh ,before he died, gave Martha permission to date and marry again; within a year of his death would be considered respectful. Given she is such an outgoing and vivacious woman, he did not want to keep her from having a man in her life. He did, however, suggest she see if Bill Reynolds was available. Bill was the man she fell head over heels in love with when she was thirty-five and left Hugh for. She and Bill were together for fifteen years before Hugh wooed her back home and to the family she left behind. Martha told me those fifteen years were the happiest of her life. But she got to missing being a mother to her own kids, who were preteens,  so, she left her lover for her husband. Martha laughed at this point. I just smiled. She and Hugh got back together and at fifty she deliver her change of life babies Brick and Branch.
   The twins were conceived on the night Bill married Caroline Olson. When Martha learned of his marriage she got misty eyed, started missing Bill “something terrible”. She bought an Al Green record, got drunk and wham-bam she and Hugh hooked up. Bill and Caroline were married twenty years before she got breast cancer and died. His second marriage lasted five years and ended in divorce. About a five years ago when Hugh was diagnosed with cancer the two reconnected while Hugh was being treated. The two have been “discreetly” seeing each other since before Hugh died. Hugh apparently never knew. I suspect from his death bed proclamation Hugh knew.

      Life for Martha now days consist of remembering the good times. As she and I sat talking and being ear hustled by the entire doctors office, including the nurses, Al Green began to play. Martha blushed and smiled. She told me every time, Al Green  comes , she remembers the love she has for Bill. I finally asked how she could leave Bill and she confessed she did it for the kids.
     Her love for Hugh was over long before it began and she had her regrets about leaving her kids behind. But, she did not feel right taking them from Hugh. He was their father and a good man. At that time, there were only the three girls. Soon she found Bill could never have kids and she wanted to be mom. Her fairytale ended to soon.  So one Saturday she and Bill made love all day to Al Green and the next morning she left the only man she truly loved for her kids. Things between she and Hugh were good. Separate beds, yet, there was harmony and happiness. She truly believed it was the right decision and the fact her girls and sons were in life long marriages and never divorced proved it to her.

  Martha soon settled back in her seat and listened to Al Green as a tear slipped down her face. As Martha sat remembering life with Bill, I realized that love songs are the key to so many wonderful moments in our lives.
Everyone has a favorite love song. Who can’t remember the song that was playing  when they met that special someone. Love songs are the light in which through yonder window comes forth the lyrics of love.

By the time Al Green got to the course of “I am Still in Love With You,” Martha (who has a wonderful voice) was singing and crying. Soon the whole waiting room was rocking with Martha as each of us contemplated the life of an eighty-eight year old woman still moved by a love song.  

When I think of love I think of Bill Withers "My Imagination".

Rock on Martha.



© Abigail Madison Chase

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