Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Romance

My wife, Tycelia, and I have known each other for more than 40 years. We married just three years ago. When they hear the story, people typically say, “Oh, that’s the most romantic thing!” It is. It’s also sad. Here, let me strip away some of the romance in the telling:

I met Tycelia in September of 1963 in an empty apartment above a shoe store in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. It was my 21st birthday and I was transferring into Kutztown State College from -- well, from several other places which are not important here. I was looking at the walls of the apartment I was about to move into and share with one friend and several strangers. A noise, I turned and there she was. She had come in behind me and was looking for someone. Not me.

Of course I fell in love.

She, apparently, did not.

We went out a few times. Enough, I guess, for both of us to confirm our initial feelings about each other. As college relationships will, ours drifted apart. She started dating one of my roommates who shared that now-filled apartment where we’d met on my birthday.

She graduated.

I went into the Air Force shy of my degree. It was 1965.

By 1969 I was out of the service, recently married, living in Philadelphia and majoring in Theater at Temple University. I was happy.

I’d heard from mutual friends that Tycelia had married and was going to graduate school in Montreal.

She called sometime in the mid-70s, left a message on the machine. She was divorced and back in the States. By then I was working toward my Master’s in theater at Villanova University. I was still married, still more or less happy. I never returned the message. I knew what would happen -- at least from where I was standing.

A few years later, I divorced, moved to Minneapolis and, eventually, came to Chicago.

In 1999 or so an old friend from the Kutztown era interviewed me for an article he was writing for the alumni magazine. The article was about people who had been writers while at school and who continued to write and publish into their adult years.

He mentioned that he’d interviewed Tycelia for the story, that he’d found her through the alumni association. She was still divorced, teaching and living in a small town in Maine.

Would I like her phone number?

Yes. Sure. Okay.

I didn’t call.

Eventually, I did.

We began with letters, email, visits. I was still in love and, now, miraculously, she was too.
Several years later we married. We just celebrated our 3rd anniversary.

We love each other very much. We’re very happy together. While part of me laments the loss of 40 years of being together, I also know that at the time we met I (at least, I) was not ready for a serious relationship. Had we gotten together then, had we married... Well, I know enough now to know that while we seem perfect for each other, that perfection of fit took a good chunk of a lifetime to create. Had the two of us gotten together in 1963, I think Tycelia and I would be a distant memory. As I say, I miss those 40 years, but I am as happy as a human can be that we’re together today.

17 comments:

Mel said...

The hell it isn't romantic!
Although I think you're right about life fitting you to each other. It's a lovely story.

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Mel said...

Stooopid comment spammers.
:(

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Best. Post. Ever.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Oh, by the way, no one ever spams me. Not important enough, I guess.

Kevin Charnas said...

OOhhhh the humanity of it all...terribly romantic, I must agree with Melanie. Time couldn't even keep you two apart. I'm such a sap, I actually have chills. Thanks for sharing. I'm truly, truly happy for you, for both of you.

Larry Santoro said...

Gosh, Kevin, "the humanity of it all..." is about deck chairs on the Hindenburg" not about timeless love.

Thanks for stopping by...for peeking...for being chilled and moved.

Best to you, William, Bonnie, Clyde and the cockatiel brothers. And remember: When on elephantback, keep your mouth shut!

Kevin Charnas said...

I just meant how "human" the experience is...it made me feel for you both over the long years of seperation (which could possibly feel like a slow crash and burn aboard the Hindenburg, no?). I suppose it just makes it all that much sweeter now. Congratulations again and thanks for stopping by as well. We ate those cockatiels last week.

Larry Santoro said...

...with cockatiel sauce, of course!

Actually the years apart didn't feel so much like a separation. She was, of my post-adolescent years, the one who got away. While, like Mr. Bernstein, not a week went by that I didn't think of her, it was always with a sense of loss, loss irreparable. She had become a small place inside me that, in a sense, was me.

Now at 63 I'm suddenly new and somewhat different.

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Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that you two are happy together. It's nice to think that we human creatures can learn -- sometimes after decades of living with closed hearts -- how, finally, to open, to be available, to be there for another person, for reasons other than adoring our own reflections. Our flawed experience is that we cannot see the dimensions of the frame that surrounds us. When the frame is removed, the brilliance of the light is often either blinding or healing. Sounds like a healing for both of you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Larry and Mary,
You probably won't remember me but I attended Kutztown with you. I well remember both of you and the apartment and the shack in the field. Long nights of conversation with Jan and Fran, Germaine and Dave,and so many others over glasses of Paisano.
I found an old postcard of McGill University and Mary immediately came to mind. I googled and came across the exciting news of your career and marriage. It's a thrill to find good news about friends from long ago. And yes! a wonderful love story. "Paisano mean friend" Best to you both, Monica

Lawrence Santoro said...

Monica!
Tycelia, with a far better memory than mine, remembers you well. Why don't you email? Leave your email address... or check me out on Facebook or Twitter!

What I mean is: get in touch!

Larry Santoro said...

So...Monica... Here I am again. As said, please contact my via Facebook or Twitter. I'm Lawrence Santoro on there. I'll give you my email.

FYI, Tycelia (Mary, as you recall her) and I are still dizzy, happy kids living in genteel poverty in Chicago.

All the best.

Larry

Anonymous said...

Hi again Larry,

I remember Mary best as "Bird". But Tycelia is such a beautiful name I'm glad she uses it.

I'll try to reach you on facebook to leave my email. I'm not yet a member on facebook and I don't twitter yet either. But I'll get in touch with you when I figure it out.

The only person I saw again after Kutztown was Wayne Cardinelli when he was at Temple and lived in Philly not far from me .... long long ago.
Monica

Anonymous said...

You continue to tell untruths about Hazel. You keep making up a story of your own. Those photos are of Harry Kemp's, and later Sunny Tasha's shack. And your stories about Hazel are simply not true. Why do you insist on revising other people's stories to enhance your own?