At 1:35 am, Alberta Glasner sat comfortably, half-asleep in her favorite chair in the living room of her home.
She is the ever-vigilant mother awaiting the arrival of her three adult daughters, all born within twenty minutes of one another.
She was startled awake, hearing her girls enter the house laughing and giggling as the smile grew across her face knowing her babies were safe at home.
The girls entered into the kitchen, from the garage stopping to raid the refrigerator for water and freshly squeezed lemonade. Firstborn Cassidy, second-born Carla, and third born Corina, who was scheduled to marry in two days, celebrated Corinas’ last to days as a bachelorette.
Cassidy walked to the doorway leading into the livingroom saw her mother seated in her favorite chair with her hands resting in her lap, holding a pencil and note pad.
All three daughters enter the living room, kissing their mother on the cheek with an embracing hug.
Cassidy and Carla sat on the couch, and Corinna sat cross-legged on the floor in front of their mother. Cassidy asked her mother what she was writing on the note pad?
Corina answers for her mother. “The final guest list for the wedding?
Alberta, answers with a smile, no, baby, I’m writing my annual anniversary love letter to your father.
I told you, mother, we should compile those letters into a book, revealing to the world the greatest love and marriage you and dad share.
No, I don’t think so. I leave these letters for you girls to read to my grand-babies as I have read them to you all.
These words of love reveal the importance of friendship, love, and commitment to marriage.
All of the girls nod the heads in agreement when Corina asks,
Mom, when did you actually know you were in love with dad?
All three daughters nodding in agreement, yeah, Mom, tell us when did you know you were in love with dad?
Alberta, smiles, and giggles, sitting up in her favorite chair to begin her story.
Well, girls, you remember me telling you all about one of my happiest days was when I graduated from the University of Maine on May 16, 1974.
I was, beaming like a star shining brighter than a thousand suns as I held in my hand my framed glass-covered diploma describing my Bachelors’s degree in English and a second framed diploma of my associate’s degree in 17th-Century Literature.
I had applied for a Scholarship and was accepted into the creative writing program at the University of Iowa.
I stood in the atrium of the auditorium, surrounded by family, friends, well-wishers, and my boyfriend Johnathan, your dad.
Johnathan had graduated with me as an engineering student the same day.
Still, as we posed for photos surrounded by our families, with his arm around me, your dad leaned in towards my left ear and whispered, “Alberta, will you marry me?”
I remember smiling for the camera when his proposal caused a surreal feeling of shock to creep within me and overwhelm the happy emotions we shared from graduating.
We still have photos somewhere in the house showing the before proposal smile, and the deer caught in the headlight look on my face.
For some reason, his question ignited my thoughts of my participation in the New York City’s Women’s Strike for Peace and Equality, March on August 26 of 1970.
That protest march inspired me to educate myself, and I felt like the feminist liberated woman every time I took my pill.
The marriage proposal for my generation was not the sought after pearl of a question I expected, as it was for your grandmother’s generation.
But, I’ll admit the marriage proposal was a part of a distant dream when I played with my dolls as a child.
I did not answer your father’s proposal right away, but his voice and question echoed in my thoughts as we began walking happily into the parking lot.
But, I began considering my life accomplishments, especially those of the past ten years, before my graduation day.
I thought of suffering through my most tragic day when the police arrived at our home to take my father away, leaving my mother and me alone when I was nine-years-old.
Later that year, on my tenth birthday, my father was convicted of possessing expensive items that did not belong to him. He never returned to our home and mother, and I never went to visit.
Your grandmother bless her soul. (Mimicking the sign of the cross across her chest.)
She filled her emotional void and the loss of my dad with numerous relationships with men. The weekly consumption of about a gallon of Seagrams Gin, allowed her to become a functioning alcoholic, using prescription and illegal drugs as appetizers to combat her depression.
Fortunately, from a distance, our neighbors saw what was happening and called family services, and Ms. Gloria Herd arrived at her home.
She became the beacon of light for my future life.
Ms. Herd, talk with mom and me, but her most important suggestion was I read books from the library and maintain a written journal to express my feelings about my life.
She brought me my first writing journal, and I began writing daily every day since the fifth grade.
Your grandmother would drop me off at the library after school and all day Saturdays, which became my baby sitter while she entertained daytime dating opportunities.
Suddenly when I was twelve-years-old, your grandmother stayed at the library with me all day on a Saturday for the first time.
She began buying me writing journals once a month, and she began joining me at the library after school until closing.
Journalling the details of my life and describing my feelings helped me navigate my life as your grandmother achieved sobriety. By my thirteenth birthday, my writings guided me into and through puberty to reach adulthood to become a college graduate.
As we posed for more photographs under a tree in the parking lot, again, Johnathan, your father, leaned towards me, whispering into my ear, asking, “Alberta, will you marry me?”
This time the words sounded so enchanting, I turned my head towards Johnathan and smiled. But for some reason, my thoughts again drifted this time to my second semester of college.
The image of me writing frantically in my journal about a horribly traumatic dating experience I survived.
I remember writing with so much anger, at 1:00 am, on a Sunday morning, which ended with four specific dating questions I would always ask before I dated again.
The rest of my college years, whenever a guy asked me on a date. I presented one or more of the questions, which always brought about the most perplexed look upon a young man’s face that was hilariously priceless.
Sifting through boys to discover men who sought my attention honorably became so much easier.
The formulated the following dating questions.
1) Do you have a great relationship with your mother, father, sister, and brothers?
2) Are you a romantic?
3) Are you willing to say I’m sorry and apologize sincerely when you are wrong?
4) Will you treat me the same way you want your sister treated on a first date?
The fourth question sent many would-be dates scurrying away.
Part two tomorrow. 🙂