My mother returned to Virginia shortly after my father’s enlistment had ended and returned him to Ohio. To the family they appeared to be madly in love, and my father was desperate to reunite with my mother. He would drive to Virginia to move her to Ohio so they could start their new life together.
My mother had lived a quite unstable, yet interesting life by this point. My grandfather Tony’s career had taken them around the world from the time she was born in Korea to the time she left home for good. She must have been fascinated by my father’s family living on this homestead where 3 generations would imprint memories, secrets into the earth. Their roots were deep.
My mother did live at Lake Anne in Reston, VA at one point (I am not positive this is where she was living at the time but based on her description of Reston and what I learned over the years it was a very close timeline). What’s interesting about this fact is that I would live in Reston twice in my life. Once when I was 9 years old- I went to Sunrise Valley Elementary for a about a week and then again when we moved there when I was 14 years old. I would end up calling Reston home as I wrapped up what seemed like an endless tour of 30+ houses in 6 different states. In this place- I would find roots again.
I had thought that they had a shotgun wedding but they were engaged by September 1979 and I couldn’t have been conceived before November 1979. They really must have been in love.
It came to be that my parents were married at the justice of the peace in Ohio. My mother was pregnant with me at the time and the wedding preparations had been hastily made. Their small reception was held in G.A.R Hall, a historic meeting place for the Grand Army of the Republic and social gatherings dating back to the late 1880’s. Important events in history and social activism happened within those walls. I would like to visit there one day.
My mother looked absolutely stunning in the white wedding dress that her mother had made for her. It was floor length with delicate lace sleeves, her slight baby bump showing when she turned to the side. Her veil attached to a white sun hat and she clutched a handful of pink and white daisies. My dad stood by her side in a tuxedo and bowtie and a neatly trimmed mustache. Their smiles break my heart wide open.
There was heavy pressure from my grandfather Ed for them to get married and not have a bastard child. As a dedicated Catholic, I imagine my grandma Marie felt the same way. Free-spirited hippies or not, this marriage and child were happening.
I wish I had more details around the wedding but it was small and happened so fast that my aunts and uncles were not even in attendance. My grandma Donna, who would later be at my birth, is the only relative who is alive and in contact to tell me the story. It seemed to be a nice, simple affair. Both of my parents wanted to please theirs and they believed they were doing the right thing.
They were both dreamers back then and might have imagined a different life than the one which unfolded. They envisioned building a large garden, hunting, and living off of the land. Maybe they dreamt of writing poetry and drawing together in a field under the bright blue sky. That I would happily run around playing with my cousins and pups, delicately catching butterflies and blowing dandelion seeds to the wind.