Searching for a Sanctuary

April 7, 2020

Thank you, God

April 7, 2020

An Improbable Romance

April 7, 2020
home office as sanctuary
Sunlight breaks through

After the wedding, my new in-laws and our best man visited over drinks back at the motel. They agreed that I was a nice girl, but they gave the marriage six months. They were wrong. It was a “death-do-us-part” marriage, lasting 46 years, three months, three weeks and one day.

February 1967

February 1967

We were an unlikely pair. I had a summer job at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times before my senior year at Baylor University. My salary was minimum wage—$1 an hour—and my parents required me to be self-supporting. I found a borderline garage apartment in a borderline neighborhood near the bus stop. Other than three classmates, I knew no one in the city. At work, a young photographer took pity on me and offered to set me up on a blind date with an older friend who had just returned from the Cannes Film Festival. We went on a double-date to a drive-in movie. At the end of the evening, Lev asked me to go to dinner the next night. And the next night, he offered to take me to church and then to the beach. Within a week, he spoke of marriage. We saw each other almost every evening for the next five weeks. And then I went back to Baylor.

A few weeks afterwards, I rode the bus to San Antonio to meet Lev’s parents. And a few weeks after that, he put a ring on my finger. Every Friday night he drove the 325 miles from Corpus Christi to Waco to see me, usually arriving just in time to kiss me good night before the dorm door was locked. We moved the wedding date from June to December. I persuaded the dean to allow me to take my final semester at a college in the Corpus Christi area. Daddy dispatched my mother to Waco to persuade me to move the wedding date back. We compromised. I agreed to marry on Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday night. Since there was no time for us to get home to buy a marriage license, Mama obtained it for us.

Lev and I were both in Corpus Christi by accident. For several years we daydreamed about where we would settle and what he would do. But we bought a house, made friends, had children … and one day we realized that Corpus Christi was home. He went into the oil business. I was a stay-at-home mom. We were lucky. About the time Lev turned 65, his health began to decline; but he went to the office almost every day right up to the day he died. In the last year of his life, we went on cruises in the Caribbean, the North Sea and the Mediterranean. And then everything changed overnight.

April 30, 2015

Postscript: Today is the eleventh anniversary of Lev’s death, and never have I felt more alone than now, isolated in a Dallas high-rise apartment as the coronavirus rages around me. I pause from this new routine of cleaning, scrubbing, washing, cooking to remember with gratitude our 46 years. This was the first blog I posted; it seems appropriate today, five years later.

12 comments

  1. I was there and we all agreed. First And last time I have ever been wrong. So glad I was. Love. Harry and Peggi.

  2. Brings tears to my eyes but yet a heart felt beautiful romance , you are a great woman and life will perk up , it just has to, air hugs Carolyn

    1. Yes, Carolyn, we must have hope that the future is good! Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. I cried as I read your post. Mine sweetheart has been gone 4 years and it seems like forever… I miss him today like I have every day since he died. Some days are better and some days are worse. This virus has made it worse because of the alone time in and empty house. God bless us both Ella.

    1. Thank you, Norma. That’s why I keep blogging. I know there are so many like you who also find this total isolation different without our life partner. Blessings.

  4. I think it a week end day, like a Saturday, and I was doing some work in the back yard. it was on the flower bed to the right of the of the lawn. I think you were planting some flowers and Mr. Prichard called you for something, your respond got to me, you said ” no, I am going to here working with leon”. I felt so important that day. when my daughters were young I wanted them not to believe what others would tell them and to believe only believe half of what they saw. I would like to say something about my marriage, but it was not meant to be. if someday you want to know about a lowly life, I will tell you mine. this was then, I just try to help others now. by looking at your tags, there is no reason to be lonely. you have the power over all or most of them.

  5. Ella,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I feel the love from your amazing marriage. You two have a legacy that will live on through your children, grandkids and great-grand babies.

    1. Rhonda, how very kind of you to write! Every year is easier but I don’t want to forget completely.

  6. Fabulous beginning to a beautiful love story! I want to read more! You drew me in with your title, which is how I would describe my own marriage. I am eager to read more! Great opening chapter.

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