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I remember being little and you guys saying when I went to college you'd get a divorce.
D: Who said that?
You said that!
D: I said that? I never said that.
Then Mom said that. Why didn't that happen?
M: We never had a lot of savings. When people get divorced, one person gets an apartment, and the other person stays in the house. There was no way we could ever have done that.
D: If we'd gotten divorced, you would have gone to Queensborough Community College.
M: Money gives people options. That was a lot of it. And we also were very dependent on each other in different ways. We didn't have an identity, outside of college, of being a single person — having an apartment and paying your own bills. That's the difference between us and younger people. It's very different now. It's better. It doesn't have to be so symbiotic, like everything is we, we, we. We were together a lot more than other couples. We had the same kind of job. We came home at the same time. We left together. Daddy would drop me off. We'd come back and share the horrors, have a snack, watch soap operas, and take a nap.
It sounds like the first couple of years sucked.
D: It got more difficult after we had your sister. I remember that.
M: A lot of people got help, and we didn't have that. My mother was already very sick with dementia, I did not have a reliable sister. I was always hustling, selling paintings, and subbing. Other people's parents came over and babysat. We never had that.
Because you didn't like Dad's mother.
M: We had different values.
So you really think it was lack of money that kept you together?
D: It was a big part of it.
What about love?
D: We had that too. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow.
M: That's what people don't understand. There are waves. It's not like this romantic love all the time. And Daddy's parents' divorce was very traumatic for him. He wouldn't leave, even when I asked him to [laughs]! A lot of this was because his father left the day Kennedy was assassinated.
He did? That's some shitty timing.
D: I guess he had planned it the day before. I came home from my after-school job and I was shocked over Kennedy, and my father's bags were packed. He was leaving.
M: It was like losing two fathers. Thus his feeling about divorce.
D: It ain't happening.
M: He doesn't really believe in it.
D: But here's the good news: things got better, and we decided to have you. This explains why you and your sister are nine-and-a-half years apart.
Are you glad it worked out the way it did?
D: It's just going over all this stuff — it isn't fun. This has been very wrenching.
M: And this only was like chapter one.
If you think about your whole marriage, all forty-three years, what was the happiest moment?
D: The day you were born. Don't tell your sister I said that.
M: No, I think it was after you were born, when it was the four of us. I just wanted to go home. The hospital made us stay six days. I had a little post-partum depression, and I remember a nurse saying, "Why are you crying?" And I said, "I want to go home." And Daddy snuck Addie in, because kids weren't allowed, and they came in with a stuffed white seal. I wanted to go home. And then finally I did.
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