So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much!

p.s. my mom now refers to me as the family "chronicler" - getting down all the family stories. How I love that title!! :)

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

FLAG DAY - JUNE 14 -Special to me

This national holiday is also the day I  married Hugh Barry Beall from Rockmart, Georgia. As I have said before on this blog, we met on July 4, 1963. So these summer holidays have a special meaning for me.
Dressed in my going away  suit

Barry never forgot our anniversary and always brought me a card that he carefully hand-picked so it said what he wanted to say. In the early days of our marriage we made a big deal of  our anniversary, going out to dinner and pledging our love again. But as the years passed, our celebrations became simpler and quieter. However, he never forgot and always gave me that special card. I wish I could say I never forgot, but I had a couple of times I did. 

I used to tease him and say, "You have never written me a love letter. Why don't you write me a love letter?"
His answer was, "I don't write. You write. I don't write."

But he had little ways of showing  his love. When we were together, he never let me cross the  street without taking my hand, and he often held my hand while we walked on the street. When we were in a crowd, he always knew where I was.

Gay Council, Glenda Council Beall, Barry Beall, Richard Beall

Nobody in my  family ever publicly showed their affection for each other. That was just not done. Mother was a loving person and showed her love in various ways like cooking our favorite dessert for  our birthdays. And she was a hugger.

I never saw my brothers kiss their wives or show any special affection. But Barry was never ashamed to kiss me in front of my family. He came from an affectionate family where his mother and father were outwardly loving to their children, kissing their sons and hugging them. I was enthralled with that type of behavior. He did not shy away from the word LOVE which I never heard in our house when I was growing up. 

Of course, today I think it is bandied around so much and so often it has lost its meaning. I think it sounds fake when people use it all the time to everybody they know. Some people say "I love you" to friends as they drive away and then turn around and speak of them in a manner that says otherwise. Friends who enjoy being together and have fun together talk about loving each other, but I don't think it is the  kind of love that is deep and meaningful.

I  am not afraid to tell those close to me that I love them. And I have learned in my Third Act what love really means. I suppose that wisdom comes to us as we draw closer to the time when we might lose them or they might lose us. I am happy that I finally broke that unwritten rule in our home and I was able to tell my siblings that I loved them. 

Why is it hard to tell our siblings how much they mean to us? One of  my brothers called me and told me he had been diagnosed with cancer. His voice was shaking and I'm sure mine was, too. Before he hung up, he said I love you and I said the same to him. What a huge step in sharing his emotions. He had bottled up his feelings most of his life. 

I'll never forget one of my  brothers kneeling beside my older sister just a short time before she died. He knew he might not see her again as  he lived many miles away. He poured out his heart to her, telling her all she had  meant to him in his life and telling her he loved her.

I was in tears as I  knew that was a milestone in his life and hers. I just hope that anyone reading this  post will not procrastinate, putting off  speaking to someone they love. We never know when that person might be gone and we will not have the opportunity to see them again. 

Nothing is worth holding a grudge for life. When I hear of people who don't speak to  their sisters or brothers or parents, I know there is anger and hurt that won't be resolved until they talk. And both parties suffer. Even when I  knew one of them was in the wrong, I did not stop loving my brother. 

But I have strayed from writing about my anniversary. Today we would have been married 53 years. We didn't have that 50th big party, but on our 40th anniversary, my sweet sister and brother-in-law took us on a wonderful weekend where we stayed at the Opryland Hotel and were treated to two days of great fun with two of  our favorite people. 

Barry taught me so much about loving someone and showing that love in my everyday life. I'll always be grateful for that.
Barry's greatest act of  love for me was bringing me to the mountains in 1995. We had some wonderful years here.

Are you holding a grudge against a family member? Do you want to let it go?


DJan said...

A very thoughtful and insightful post. I say "I love you" to my sister often, yesterday being the most recent time (on FaceTime). I don't hold grudges either, but there are many things I neglected to say to people who are now gone, and I regret my reticence. Thank you for reminding me that it's important to say it out loud. And Happy Anniversary to you both, even if he is no longer with us.

Glenda Beall said...

DJan, I said I love you out loud for the first time to my father when he was unconscious on his death bed. I am glad I got to say it even though he probably did not know it. He was a hard man to approach.
Thanks for the happy anniversary. I did enjoy my Flag Day.

Abbie Taylor said...

Glenda, it sounds like you had a wonderful husband. I enjoyed reading about your relationship because it brought back memories of my own late husband. I don't think Bill ever said, "I love you," but he showed his love in many ways, and that's what counts.