When our family traveled to California this summer, I was determined to try to record a story or two from Jeff's grandparents, whom I love dearly. From the first moment I met them, they welcomed me into their large and growing family with open arms and open hearts. Likewise, I was smitten with them.
Although there are so many things to love about them, probably what I love best is their utter and complete devotion to one another. They have been married for 67 1/2 years, having married "late" when Grandpa was 30 years old. I love and I respect their commitment to each other, to their marriage, to the love that they share.
Old love is beautiful.
June 22, 2012
(Grandpa didn't know I was recording him. I warmed up with getting him to talk about the Fair for awhile, then somehow we started on this story:)
"In 1938 I went to Italy with my dad and I met this little sweet tooth. I was in church and god she was good looking and god, I--
She left before I did, so I went out and caught her -
god was I brave!
and we spent about -- oh gosh, well -- it had gotten serious.
She never did tell me that she had TB.
And so I left her with the question that if she started getting well, I would come to get her in a year.
Well in 11 months she died.
So It could have been a whole different program."
---(Anne interjects) Well, I think you got good one, Grandpa. I think you got the BEST one.
[Editor's note: the timeline seems a little off in the next bit of the story. Bear with him, though, because the important details are solid. This is an impressive 97 year old mind with strong memory for the details!]
"Yeah. I do. I'll just admit it now! 'Cause she's listening now! (laughs and laughs some more.)
Yeah, then we went back in 1938 -- to 1973 and we bought a car.
We went all the way down the line, stopped at all these places.
That was a good trip, boy.
We came out of Austria, moved to Italy -- driving -- and in 1938 I drove with a right hand drive car all the way down the Mediterranean coast and up the Adriatic."
--(Anne) How did you meet Rita?
"Oh, this is a good one! We knew this church man, he knew Rita's family, and he knew me and Dad, and ah--
His name was Reinhart.
He kept pestering me.
He kept saying, "I gotta a coupla girls I want you to meet."
He come by one day and it was drizzling and so I was repairing tools when I had bought the lower end of this ring.
And so he says "I'm going up the mountain," he says ah, "you want to go with me?"
And I says "No, I gotta --" Pretty soon, Dad was in the shop way back -
"You better go!"
And so I went up and met this one over here (points to Rita) and 8 months BANG the hammer came down on the anvil.
He had two other ladies, and I knew one of them, and this last lady over here on the Reinman Ranch before you get to the freeway--
and you know one night she was getting ready to go to church and her car--
somebody cut her throat
and they never condemned anybody. And I think I can tell them who it is.
There was a young attourney who married into that family. And he wanted the book to that ranch, and she wouldn't let him have it.....
--(Anne) How many years have you and Grandma been married?
67 years in August.
--(Anne) Quite a legacy.(happy laughter, kids giggling in the background, Grandma's sweet voice talking softly to Pax).
"Well, I didn't start chasing her around till I was 30. And I think Dad saw it. (Laugh) And he didn't care for it, but he did his chasing around (more laughter)."
Leo pauses to look up at Rita, watches her, grins at her with love exuding from every ounce of his compact self.