Relationship

February 27, 1969

February 27, 1969

 This entry captures my skewed priorities during my senior year (aka known as my Great Depression). Getting accepted at UCLA was momentous (and kind of crucial, since I neglected to apply to any other institution of higher learning). It was truly life changing.

Reading acceptance letter from UCLA
Reading acceptance letter from UCLA

That said, my obsessive focus was on pinpointing where I stood in my relationship with X – talk about an absurd waste of time!  A mollusk could’ve deduced I was nowhere – the same place I’d been for almost two years.

Even a Mollusk would know
Even a Mollusk would know

It’s a peculiar kind of hell, pretending to be satisfied being “just friends” with somebody  you’re madly in love with. To level the “just friends” playing field, I invented a boyfriend to compete with his living girlfriend. When he tortured me by rhapsodizing about how much he loved her,  I could retaliate with my make-believe relationship with the non-existent Pericles. (I gave him a more normal name which is not to imply he was one iota more believable.)

The letter that forged my destiny
The letter that forged my destiny

To render an already pitiful situation more pathetic, I repeatedly pulled my fictional punches. Instead of touting my relationship with Pericles as a love affair for the ages, at the slightest hint X might be interested in me again, I kicked poor Pericles to the curb. My brilliant reasoning  went, “X secretly wants to come back to me but he’s afraid he’ll be rejected for Pericles! Play it smart. Tell him you dumped Pericles so you’re fully available to him.”

Saying goodbye to Santa Clara
Saying goodbye to Santa Clara

Yeah, that’ll work every time – somewhere other than the planet earth. Suffice to say, my Herculean efforts to recapture X’s heart failed miserably. When I left Santa Clara (as it turned out, for good – and in June, not September) I never expected to see or hear from X again – but at least I had UCLA in my future.  And that’s what actually mattered.

May 3, 1980

May 3, 1980

Mary Bennett Denove, the bride
Mary Bennett Denove, the bride

Mary and Jack’s wedding was fun, which isn’t the first word I’d use to describe most weddings. Beautiful, moving, magnificent, and interminable, sure. In my experience, relatively few are fun.    

Joyce and John Salter, John and I dance
Joyce and John Salter, John and I dance

As a pastor’s daughter, I was privileged – or required, depending on your point of view – to attend more weddings than most people see in a lifetime. My father married hundreds of couples and our family was usually invited.

The groom, Jack Denove
The groom, Jack Denove

I wasn’t one of those little girls who dreamed about my future wedding day. Bridal magazines bored me even when I prepared to be a bride myself. Although there was zero possibilitiy my parents would divorce – divorce was almost unheard of on either side of the family – I would have predicted I’d get divorced and remarried several times.

Kathleen

Why? Because at the age of ten or twelve, fifty years of marriage sounded like an eternity. I was becoming aware – not proud, but aware – I could be  capricious (all right, fickle) in matters of friendship and, later, romance. It wasn’t always a liability. I dodged some bullets and learned a lot from failed relationships.

Robert Lovenheim, Joyce and John Salter at table #6
Robert Lovenheim, Joyce and John Salter at table #6

By the time I married at a relatively young (for today) 24 – I was beginning to understand what makes a relationship work. (In a nutshell, it takes work.)  The multiple marriages I imagined in my future never materialized. In a real sense, given the changes John and I went through in our 42 years together, we experienced mutltiple marriages with each other. Some better than others, of course. But we never wanted a divorce at the same time, so we went the distance.

Wilkie Cheong, far left, Mary and Jack Denove
Wilkie Cheong, far left, Mary and Jack Denove

So did Mary and Jack. Happy anniversary, Denoves. It’s been a blast.

Mary Bennett Denove

 

 

 

 

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