Friday, June 11, 2010

Goudey Played Stellar Game at End

How is it that a 101-year-old woman can have such an amazing memory for so many details. And why is it that she needs to share them ... over and over and over? It's not that I don't love to hear about her past. Like I've said, I'm the family historian. It's just that I've heard it so many times.

But today I actually heard a few things I hadn't heard before and clarified a few things I had. However, I still felt like I was bludgeoned with an emotional 2 x 4. How many times can a person revisit the tragic death of their father? I guess, interminably.

I understand that mom needs to share the details of her life, and that in some ways it's what keeps her entertained--revisiting her past--but will her grandchildren and great-grandchildren really be interested in hearing that she wanted to divorce their grandfather after the first year. At some point, yes, I suppose those details will be of interest to them.

Some of it reads something like a Greek tragedy.

"It was his senior year when I met him [at USC]. There was a little place on the campus, opposite the main building where they had cokes and I had my dad’s car and I was there, and he came. And that was when we first met. He said he fell head-over-heels-in-love the minute that he saw me. That was how we met. It was a college thing.

He and his friend were getting a D.D.S. and he just was remarkable...the things that he did and still found time to date.

He did a marathon, that he should never have done, we found out, because it was bad for his heart. He was on the dental school football, team. Of course, it wasn’t USC’s Thundering Herd, but it was the dental school. He played on that, and he wrote for the El Rodeo, which was our yearbook. And he was a reporter for the sports section. He wrote one article he called, “Goudey Played Stellar Game at End.” 

He was president of his fraternity. He was on the honor roll, in spite of the things that he was doing. He stayed out for a year to begin with, that was why he was a little late graduating…I mean a little older. He painted houses with his dad for a year. And then I guess he did have some help when he went back to school. Of course, there weren’t the awful tuition costs. Oh, they would say, if you were a graduate of USC Dental School, you were a wonderful dentist. And he was. I still have some of his stuff in my mouth, which is remarkable.

I was a freshman and he was getting his D.D.S. He used to flirt with my grandmother when he would come to have dinner. Of course, he lived in Hollywood, and I lived in Monterey Park, so he would come and stay all night and sleep with my brother.

It was 1926 when I met him, and I didn’t marry him until 1935. I would go with one and then I would go with the other [Bob, who is another story entirely]. I would go to a dance with a girlfriend to Stanford, and that was when Bob got serious about me. It was so complicated. I finally married Don because I thought it was the best thing. That he was older, he had his practice by that time, and I thought it would work. It didn’t. And he was unhappy and at the time. I said I will wait a year, and then I’ll get a divorce, but of course I never did.

I married him, because I thought…people kept saying, 'When are you getting married?' All the buyers in the invoice office. I told you how we did everything by hand, that we do by computer now. As I say, it seemed like it was the right thing to do, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t a reason to get married, because I didn’t share his passion.

I want you to know, then I changed and Stanley....we both wanted him. We thought we should have a child and we did, but then all the other stuff happened, but by the time you came along, I had completely changed, and I loved him, and you were a love child. You really were. Such a mix-up, it sounds like a soap opera.

I’m sure I’ve told you this. He talked to me after he died. He said, 'I can see her.' And then one night when I was reading, he called me by a special way he said my name. And then I saw him later. I was thinking, 'How am I going to take care of these children.' It was like he was saying goodbye to me."

Not so stellar at the end.

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