18 August 2010
The story of the rings
Thank you for the comments about my wedding ring.
It is a family heirloom.
My grandparents met while they were students at Indiana Teachers' College in Pennsylvania, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania. My mother tells the story that my grandmother was so poor she had two dresses, one of which was lavendar, and she never wore lavendar after that. She was pretty and popular and vivacious, while my grandfather was shy and bookish, very much the stereotypical school principal he ended up being. We have copies of their yearbooks, and she is all over the pages, while he was a quiet student making his way through school. But she saw something in him; my aunt told me, seeing him enter a classroom one day, she turned to a friend and said, "I'm going to marry that man."
He was the youngest son of a farmer and his wife. My great-grandfather died when he was an infant, and my great-grandmother raised him, with the other 8 children, with the help of her parents. My great great grandmother did not speak English, and it was from her that the kids learned to speak Pennsylvania Dutch (growing up with a smattering of phrases, the think I love the most about my dad's family reunions is that I am with people who understand me, LOL.). Somehow she managed to send a lot of them to school; my father's family is full of teachers. But my grandmother was sick her last years, and, for some reason, my grandfather had to take care of her, and that put the wedding off. Maybe it was the youngest son's duty to take care of the parents, maybe they didn't want to saddle my grandmother with the burden of caring for her mother-in-law, maybe she didn't want to do it. But they had to wait a good amount of time after they graduated from college to marry. I can't imagine how that would feel, knowing your mother had to die in order to marry your love. But they did eventually marry and were together almost 49 years. To hear my father talk, it wasn't an easy life. I'm sure it nearly killed her to lose two members of a set of triplets (my uncle died the day they were born from a heart defect, and then my aunt died when she was 9 months old), and there were times that they couldn't afford a Christmas tree, and so my grandfather would bring the school Christmas tree home after school let out for vacation. But they made a life.
This was not her first ring. Daddy said the first one wore through and this was the replacement. He said it's at least 50 years old, probably older than that. Who knows, it may have the gold from the first ring in it. She would do things like that. But it's hers. HTB had a ring picked out that is apparently very fancy. He asked me didn't I want that one. I told him we could always get that later--I have a coworker who wears her wedding ring, and an anniversary band. This is more precious to me than a new ring.