Lorraine & Oliver
Today in 1947 these two youngsters began their life together. They met on a blind date, set up by Oliver’s aunt. Lorraine was a huge fan of Clark Gable and she fell hard and fast for this guy. They’d be so proud of the loving family they started and continue to inspire. While they’ve been gone from our lives for over fifteen years, I know they are together, somewhere out there.
Here’s the poem I wrote twenty-three years ago for their 50th anniversary.
They were married fifty years ago, back when promises were kept,
When married wasn’t something you got,
But something you ate and drank and slept.
In the sixties, Mom wore a uniform. So did my dad I guess,
Of some new man-made fiber.
They called it Permanent Press.
Mom worked in my school cafeteria, so her uniform was white.
My dad, a maintenance man, wore darks,
Making sure my school had heat and light.
Now my folks were sort of gushy, you know, that cuddly kind,
Who were openly affectionate.
Which only their children seemed to mind.
One day Dad came by Mom’s kitchen in his Permanent Press pants and shirt.
He’d just stopped by to say hello, so
“Don’t mind the grease and dirt.”
After a brief exchange of pleasantries and probably something to eat,
He reached around and with both hands,
He lovingly patted Mom’s seat.
Mom went back to work of course, at the oven, stove, or sink,
But when she heard the other cooks laugh,
She didn’t know what to think.
As you’ve probably imagined, there were handprints on her dress.
My dad had left his permanent mark
On her uniform of Permanent Press.
Mom wore those marks forever, for those handprints would never come out.
They stayed despite Mom’s scrubbing
In the days before Biz and Shout.
That couple were and are my folks, together fifty years.
I guess some things are made to last–
Even pats upon the rear.
After fifty years they wear the marks of Husband and Wife, of Dad and Mother.
The laugh lines, the tear tracks,
The Permanent Press of one another.