Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Reunions

I am blogging from home. I don't feel well, so I left work early today. I think I'm getting a cold, thanks to the rapidly fluctuating weather (50 degrees one day, 85 the next) lately and the buckets of pollen coating everything here in a Chee-to-like dust. Throw in some stress in my personal life, and you have the perfect cocktail for an instant, sicky feeling. Blech.

In between coughs, I have been napping all day, so now I'm wired. Hacking up a lung and wired. Thank God for Hall's Fruit Breezers cough drops, though. Have y'all tried these things? They ROCK if your throat is scratchy and irritated. Mmmm...and they taste good. Not all menthol-y like the other ones.

Before you stop reading this ultra-boring post, I do have one thing to ask my readers. I recently found out that although this year is the 10th anniversary of my high school graduation, there are NO plans in the works for our reunion. I am kind of miffed, as I probably would have gone. But at the same time, part of me isn't even interested in going. Makes no sense, I know. There is a rumor that a small group of people are scrambling around, throwing together a far less formal get-together for this summer. So hopefully that will happen....?

My question to you is, are these things even fun? Did you go to yours? Was it lame? You think I should go if/when it happens? Please tell me your experiences in the high school reunion department. And keep in mind that my high school was basically like "Beverly Hills 90210". No exaggeration. So I don't know if going would leave me filled with envy or total annoyance. Or maybe they've all become human by this point. Who knows.

Ok, story time. This also has to do with reunions. (See, who says I bounce around topics in my posts? There are over-arching themes, people!)

The first time I heard this story, I cried. So go get your kleenex, ladies. I'll wait.

Yes, I know, it's sad, yadda yadda, but it's a good story. This is probably the saddest story I've ever heard in my whole life, btw. Except for maybe Old Yeller. Sad dog stories always trump sad people stories, in my book.

Alright, are you sufficiently mentally prepared? Good.

Time: 1945
Place: Kansas City, MO

My Grandma Virginia (yes, I am named after her) was dating this guy before WWII broke out. (I think his name was Charlie?? Carl? Something with a C.) They were crazy about each other and had planned on getting married. The two families were very excited about this, as Virginia and Charlie had grown up together and the families were very close.

Then WWII happened. Charlie had to go to Europe. They decided to wait and get married until after the war. He gave her this gorgeous locket to remember him by, complete with his picture on the inside. It is a large, gold heart-shaped locket, with a mother-of-pearl cover and a delicate chain. He even got the back engraved with "From Charlie to Virginia with Love" and the date. (We still have it.) Then he left.

She was sad, but kept herself busy. One day, she stopped getting letters. Then she heard through the grapevine that he was missing in action, presumed dead. She was devastated.

So, to try and move on with her life, Virginia got a job. She moved away from home and all the bad memories in Kansas City and went out to the Seattle area and worked at the big Boeing plant there, where they were building all the planes for the war. She was a secretary at the headquarters office. One morning, she was working as usual, busy at her desk, when a very tall, thin man with blue eyes walked up to her desk, leaned over and said, "How 'bout a cup of coffee, babe?"

Virginia looked up. "I'm John S. I'm a reporter and I'm here to interview your boss. Now how 'bout that coffee?"

She smiled and got the coffee. She didn't realize it yet, but she had just met my grandfather. They were married about a year later, in January of 1945.

After the wedding, they packed up and headed to New Orleans for their honeymoon. That night, back in Kansas City, Virginia's mother got a phone call.

"Hello?" she answered.
"Hello, is Virginia there?" a male voice inquired.
"No, I'm sorry, she's on her honeymoon," my great-grandmother explained.

*long silence*

"Oh......alright. Sorry to bother you. Thanks," he said. Then he hung up.

My great-grandmother hung up the phone and turned to Virginia's sister, who was sitting at the table next to her. "Oh my God. I swear to God that was Charlie. He must have come home from the war. He's not dead. I know that voice," she said.

They decided never to tell Virginia that Charlie wasn't dead. They never did tell her. The only reason I know the story is because my Grandma Virginia's sister told Czarina one day after my grandma died.

Grandma never got rid of the locket. She kept it hidden in the back of her jewelry drawer and would take it out on occasion and look at it. My grandpa was always jealous of Charlie, and it would have upset him to know she kept it all those years.

I wonder what happened to Charlie, though. I'm sure he got married to someone else and led a wonderful life. But this is still the saddest story ever!

22 comments:

Virginia Belle said...

as usual, i leave comments in last post right after i post a new post. does that make sense? i don't know. i have a lot of nyquil in my body right now....

BTW, everyone, Wednesday Skank has been over every night this week. Except tonight....

ugh. i hate her.

Coco said...

That was very touching. I live in KC-not that that really means anything, but it made me go "yeah, I live there!" . . .and I cried a bit, as you said. Maybe it's just because I've kind of been doing that all day anyway . . .

But, at any rate-what a nice story, thanks for sharing! And yes, even though I don't know her, I'm sure WS sucks.

alison said...

What a sweet (but sad) story. I can't believe he called right after she got married. If it had been a little sooner....but then there'd be no Virginia Belle, right? I'm sure Charlie did have a wonderful life. I admire the fact that he never tried to contact her again---he realized she must have been happily married and there was no sense in ruining that for her. What a nice man.

It reminded me of the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks (I just saw it on TV again the other night). It broke my heart that his fiance eventually moved on and married another man. It has to hurt when it was the love of your life.

How can Wednesday Skank not be there on Wednesday night?! It is obviously not meant to be.

cmk said...

Sad story...I wonder how many families have similar ones?

Anyway, on to class reunions. I have been to both my 10th and {horrors} 25th reunions and if I had to do it again, I would never have gone to the 10th. The reason? We were all still too young--hadn't grown up enough. All the petty little problems that were there during high school were still there 10 years later. At the 25th, we were able to sit and talk and reminisce in a good way, with no back-stabbing and no one-upsmanship happening--and it was nice. At least, this was my experience.

The Frog Princess said...

What a sad, tragic story.

I don't know if we're having a ten year reunion but if so, they'll have to have it without me. I spent four years trapped like a rat in a cage with those people and while I might lower myself enough to do some MySpace stalking, you can rest assured that I won't be at any reunions.

Matilda Jane said...

Wow.... that musta taken a lot of strength to hang up the phone and go on with his life instead of creating a scene.

Yes, it's sad.... but when you think about it, she met and married the person she would spend her life with... and it wasn't C. Just goes to show you that time mends all wounds...

Megan said...

That is such a sad story. Sweet, but still very sad.

And I doubt I will attend my 10 year class reunion. I didn't like many of those people then, so I doubt that 10 years has changed much.

Sorry to hear about the Wednesday Skank...

~Moi~ said...

Indeed a very sad story. But somehow bitter sweet. I love hearing stories of the past of how ppl met, and how things worked out. I guess its true - no one ever forgets their first real love....

Single guy blogging said...

Wow - what a sad love story! Sounds like something you see in a movie, huh? Actually, I watched Castaway this past weekend -- the ending of that reminds me of this story.

As far as reunions go, they are pretty lame. I went to my 10 yr, and everyone just kept talking to me about their new house, their kids, and you just know that nobody is anywhere near as happy as they put forth. Also, the only people that show up at those events are the ones that have actually done something with their lives. The alcoholic-stoner-losers never seem to make it. :) The only good reason to go is to make fun of how much the cool pretty kids uglied-up with age!

* meish * said...

It sounds like a sad movie love story. And it totally reminded me of Castaway, too.

Sorry to hear about Wednesday Skank. Time to turn up the flirting power, and start doing things outside in a bikini!

lenfercestlesautres said...

I need a kleenex.

Scott said...

Wow, very sad story. I have heard of a similar story (whole thought you were mia and never coming back). Makes you think of how many times this actually happened?

Class reunions.. I went to my 10 year last fall. Was actually a pretty good time, would definitely go again. Mostly hung out with the same folks that I hung out with back in the day, but was cool to see what everyone was up to.

As far as Wed Skank... ugh

Jess said...

I'm actually planning my 15-year reunion with a couple of girlfriends. We had a great time at our 10-year, but not at the reunion. After it finished up, a bunch of us went to someone's house and sat out by the fire until 5:00 a.m. THAT was the fun part.

So, we're trying to recreate that with our 15-year reunion. It will be casual and cheap and basically just people hanging out. It should be noted that I went to a small, rural school and we didn't have quite the clique structure other schools do. That sometimes seems to make a difference.

PawleysIsland said...

My high school graduating class totaled 35 people. We did not have a 10-year reunion. It would not have been a big event. I would have gone though. I think it would be fun to see what your classmates are up to. I doubt we will have a 20-year reunion which would take place next year. Am I that old????

That is a very sad story. It just makes you wonder if there is only one true love for each of us. In some ways, I would like to think so.

Phantom Hater said...

"I'm sure WS sucks"
That's probably why HN likes her so much!
I guess she's not really Wednesday Skank anymore, now she is more like Weeklong Skank.

I say go to your reunion. I missed mine. My dad just went to his 50-year reunion in Kentucky. 1/3 of his class were dead, but all the living ones made it.

I hope you feel better! God, I love Nyquil!

Mieke said...

That was soo sad. Sometimes love just doesn't work out the way we want it to. I hate that. I think it's good she never knew Charlie called--it would have made her feel terrible and possibly be conflicted.
10 year reunion, huh? I missed mine but heard that most of the "cool" people had grown boring or had never left the small town we were from, which made me feel better. It's kinda fun, I guess, just to satisfy your curiosity. If you don't have anything better to do, why not?
Phantom Hater was right, WS has become "weeklong skank". Sorry about that.

Coco said...

Phantom Hater-I totally thought that as soon as I posted that! :)

also, forgot to post about reunions-I went to my 10 year, the reunion itself was a snooze-as others have said, everyone just bombarding you with stories about kids, houses, and how extremely happy they are . . .blah, blah, blah . . .but afterwards we went to someone's house and just hung out for awhile and that was a blast. So, I guess it depends.

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

My 10 year was pretty lame. I was vegetarian at the time and they had a BBQ so I didnt eat BUT it was BYOB so at least I had decent beer. The cliques all were the same. I didnt last long so my friend and I left to go bar hopping in Raleigh. There was a 5 year but I didnt go to that, really too soon. 20 years is only 2 years away. I have no desire to go to that. Maybe 50th...

Lynn-e said...

I'm delurking...

What a story! Made me weepy - at work!

I went to my 10 year reunion and had a blast. I did not want to go but my husband (now ex) made me. So very glad I went. Just a matter of your expectations.

teahouse said...

Awww...poor Charlie!!

I'm really sad now.

Meghan (The Declaration of MY Independence) said...

Awww that story was like something from a movie! As others have said, I do admire that Charlie never kept calling though. He sounds like a good guy, and I'm sure he led a very happy life.

Good story.