I went on a visit with a coworker a few years back. The couple we were going to see had been married over 70 years! Think about that. Over S-E-V-E-N-T-Y years. That is a very long marriage. They lived on a farm. Everything looked well kept. They looked to be doing okay getting everything they needed. They had family who cared. They had friends who visited. I don’t even remember why we had to go to this investigation. Doesn’t matter.
They invited us in and sat us down to talk. I was pretty much just an observer. And homes like this make you feel comfortable as soon as you walk in. You just know it’s “normal”. While we were sitting there, the husband was talking with us. Suddenly the wife popped out of her chair, took a look at each of us and left the room. The husband kept talking, oblivious to the movement, not showing any concern. There was nothing really to be concerned about, other than the oddity of her popping up and walking out. A few minutes later she walks back in. Sits down. I looked at her. She looked at me and did a wife smile that all wives surely recognize and said “sometimes I just get tired of hearing him talk”.
My coworker and I did not dare look at one another. I looked at the wife and surely uttered something. But I don’t know what. The husband just kept visiting with us. Nonplussed. Not bothered. Not upset.
Later she and he offered to show us around their home. The photographs spanned decades, and by now, centuries. Whenever I go in to someone’s home who is approaching 1-0-0 I am awe struck by the history they have lived. I often tell myself that I am touching history myself. These people touched the living lives of parents and grandparents who lived through the 1800’s, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. They lived before phones and electric. Or before the common use of them. They lived with those who traveled by horse only, or their own bare feet because that’s how we all use to travel. They lived to survive. They lived lives where they grew what they ate, or most of it, made clothes, recycled? They used what they had until they didn’t have it anymore. There was nothing to recycle! So here we are being shown this wonderful house from the past. I don’t think there was a stick of furniture purchased after the 1950s, maybe the 1960’s. But it was all well kept. Clean. Used. Nothing was there for show. They had chairs because they sat in them. Phones? They likely went from never having one, to… cell phones? Computers? Laptops? Interactive TV. Surely they remember when radio was a miracle!!
She took us to their bedroom. Beautiful antique furniture. I mentioned something to that effect, that is was beautiful antique. She looked at me with a surprised smile. “No no honey, it’s not antique. We got it when we got married.”
Over seventy years ago.
It wasn’t old to her.
I miss the life they had.
I’m glad I got a glimpse of it.