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The Kiss...Part 2


Once upon a time there was a young girl with a big love for her Navy man...but so many obstacles stood  in her  way.  Once upon a time stories, are usually fairy tales, but not this time.  That young, pretty girl, found her courage and stood her ground against all the forces that were against her, all the people that would have tried to persuade her not to go...but instead she followed her heart, across this country,  at what expense I do not know. Not only did she go and find her man, she married him.  That brave girl was my Mom and if you read the original blog post of the Kiss, you will be familiar with why part 2 in necessary.

I came across the beginning of the story after finding the above photo in my Father's belongings after he died. A few years after that I had taken a trip to San Diego and saw the statue of the Kiss.  I read the placque and saw the dates and at that moment I knew that those were the times my Mom and Dad would have been involved with each other but I didn't know the story of their marriage, although I did know it was in when the photo's emerged I started my journey to follow my Mom and try to recreate, as best I could, her journey to reach her man.  All I had was a photo, my aunt who filled me in a bit and the internet to get me started. Without these photo's I would still not know of my Mother's journey both figuratively and personally.

The very first thing I did was look up St. Benedict's church, Seattle Washington.  Amazingly it was there. I made a phone call to be sure that it was still a parish church, it was and I wrote down the address...and then I added Seattle Washington to my bucket list.  Two weeks ago, with that photo in hand and my Father's date of  March 1945 on the back, a phone number for the church...Jim and I were on our way.  It was a surreal experience for me..because my Mom never shared this part of her journey with any of us kids...and I was feeling sad about that...but off I went.



We arrived in Seattle Washington after two long years of waiting and it couldn't have been more beautiful..after checking into our hotel..I was eager to get off to finish this journey both for me and for my Mom.  On a tree lined, neighborhood street, with the color of fall and sunlight all around me , we found our destination, St. Benedict's church. I was both nervous and excited to see what I would discover.  The first thing was that the church looked nothing like the church in my photo and my heart skipped a beat thinking I was to late.  I'm not sure I would have handled that very well.  Instead what I found was the school...that school matched my photo.  Well, I was happy for that bit.  Next we were shown to the office of the Administrative Assistant and I do believe God had a hand in my finding her, and this is where I learned of my parents marriage...when Becky pulled out the old, very large, record book I was holding my breath that their names would not be in there.  They were, but surprisingly enough..they were married on February 2, 1945, not in March as my Father had dated the photo..we were able to find out about their baptism's and also who stood up for them. It turns out they were friends of my Dad's.. I felt like I had come home in some small way.  Their presence was very strong that day and at the that time in particular...Becky,and another lovely lady and I talked of what that journey would have been like and how my Mom could even have gotten married there because she was not Catholic.  I had always thought she was married in that church but they were most likely married in the Pastor's office or another room..she would not have been allowed to marry in the church santuary at that time...and one last grandfather, whom we always knew as Alfred was not Alfred at all but William...but I'm not going to chase that mystery.

I came a long way to find the roots of my Mother and Father...and I felt good about knowing that some stories I heard were not true and that they really just wanted to be with photo in hand Jim and I went and stood where they stood, the same way that they stood because they wanted to show those naysayers that yes, indeed they were married.  So their rings were the focus of that original photograph. The building was the same..but a bench was added and the Mass sign was removed when the new church was built...but we stand in their spot...finally.

I sat for awhile on that bench and I thought of my Mother's journey...and I felt so sad for her...she had no one to support her, to be with her as she wed the love of her life...and although my parents did divorce much later, I do believe they had that one love that we are all hoping for.  She traveled during war time, most likey on a train for many days..a young, beautiful woman alone. It was a bittersweet moment for me, in the coming to be in her spot...almost like I was telling her I wish I could have been there for her..cheering her on for her bravery and knowing her own mind...making her own dreams come true...I even wish that many years later she could have shared this with me, trusting that I would have understood her need to go.  I do believe that back in those many things were so private...but I'm thinking that if she were to see this post it would set her free, just as it sets me free now.  It also gives me a much better understanding of those time and a what a truly strong woman she Becky and I were pondering this journey and I was questioning my Mom's coming and then the eventual divorce...Becky said to me..."she came because she loved your Dad...that's all you really need to know...she loved him".. And that is my take away from this trip...Once upon a time...a young girl headed west...and many years later her daughter found her.


Two months after retirement 
my father is here, to get away 
from 6 A.M. and his cup 
of empty destination. 

At a football game we huddle 
under his umbrella
talking about the obvious. 
He brings me coffee 
to hold warm between my hands, 
a gift of no occasion. 

When we rise for the anthem 
I hear the rusty crack of his voice 
for the first time maybe ever. 

Thirty-three years of coughing 
thick factory air, of drifting to sleep 
through the heavy ring of machinery, 
of twelve-hour days. In my sleep 
I felt the cold bump of his late-night kiss.

I shiver in the rain 
as my father sings me 
what now I hear as 
a children's song. I lean into him, 
the umbrella and rain my excuse, 
my shoulder against his, 
and I imagine my mother 
falling in love.


"A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it." Virginia Woolf.

Two notes...a special thank you to Becky Ortiz from St. Benedict's for her help in researching this marriage and also a thank you to the other girl who took us around and told of stories of those days and how it might have been...I am so sorry I didn't get her name...

Finally...check out my Mom's cool are glad she had them.  Probably why I'm like I am...

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Reader Comments (17)

A wonderful love story, Cheryl and I imagine that she was with you, retracing her journey, reliving the memories and feeling that she is truly free now. And yes, I do love those shoes!

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Thank you so much Susan...your words made me feel so good...perhaps she was with me...comforting thought.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Cheryl, how great it is that you would, after all these years, continue searching and give closure to your mother's life. I have no doubt that she is smiling down on you and Jim saying, "Thank you for caring and approving of me and my choices". You are a faithful daughter, Cheryl.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeg Rogers

Oh Peg your comment is so lovely...thank you for stopping by and being so sweet...your opinion is always appreciated.

November 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterCheryl Crotty

I think that your parents were with you on this journey. I think that bond is everlasting. And the advise you got was spot on!

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRuthanne

Ruthanne you are one smart lady so I trust that what you say is was amazing to be on that street, standing in that many years running through my head...I'm sorry it took me so long to figure it all out...thank you for your support through this journey...funny isn't were there for The Kiss and you were there for the's like you had a hand in all of it...xoxo

November 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterCheryl Crotty

Oh Cheryl, your stories draw me in so much and communicate so much emotion so deftly. I had to go back and read the story of the kiss. Amazing! How wonderful that you took this trip and found the very place that had bonded your mother and father years ago. And how wonderful that you found people to spend time talking to you about it. I had one experience in Ireland doing genealogical research with and for Bob that had a similar feel to it, although the forebears he was seeking were from back in the 1800s. But actually seeing the church his ancestors were baptized in and finding the records was quite exciting. I also went back to Singapore to see the church my parents got married in 40 years later. My mother had journeyed half way around the world to marry my dad. An adventure similar to your mother!

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSherry G.

So Sherry you get what I'm talking about and more importantly you can understand the feelings...thank you for sharing your family history with me..your Mom had a much longer journey than mine did but the same reason applied to them both...we were so fortunate to seek their truth.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Cheryl what a fabulous story. Both your parents look so genuinely happy. You can tell they were madly in love with one another. And yes your mother's shoes were very stylish.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Thomas

Thanks Liz for stopping by...yes, it's not only the love's the love of shoes story...

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Dearest Cheryl,
I want to leave some words, but I'm speechless . . . so hope that is received as a compliment!
You have given me courage to possibly follow my truth on a similar journey across country.
Maybe we can talk about it some day! For one who never liked to travel, your strength to overcome that fear has been such an inspiration to me.
You're my SHEro! Big hugs to Jim, too. And thanks for sharing this story of closure. I was wondering so deeply about your trip!
You certainly have your mom's feisty spirit, persistence and quest for adventure and finding the TRUTH . . . what wonderful traits!
Much love, always,

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAntoinette

Cheryl. how moving, your mother's story is remarkable. So many couples during those war years must have followed in her footsteps. I'm not sure it would happen today.

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterViv Halliwell

Dear Sweet Antoinette...I know you get it and yes, I've overcome many fears...I still have a few that linger on though I try not to let them wine often...this was a stressful trip for me...I think when one is uncovering a truth that we don't really know about or understand it can be the end, for me, I was left with the loneliness she must have felt..but I could be way off base...she could have been full of such joy and adventure..although she only took one plane trip in my lifetime and that was with us to Disney...she never again traveled very far from home...
Yes, I would love to talk to you about it someday...let me know when you are ready...xoxo

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Dear Viv, I always look forward to your visits...your wisdom is alway spot on and I appreciate hearing your take on things...I feel you are right here...we never really understand someone else's time zone of sorts...generations change so much...but in the end, she did what she wanted to do and that's a good truth to carry forward with...thanks for stopping by...

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

The first day you posted this I read it, and was simply mystified about your mom traveling so far away to be with the one she loved. Those days, I think, were hopeful times for young ladies, who often times had very little to look forward to, being women that were supposed to "stay home" and rear a family. But the II world war changed a lot of things, for both men and women of that time. Your adventure to see the building they were married in amazed me. I love that you have a picture of you and Jim standing in the exact place your mom and dad stood. Last year I found the news clipping of my parents marriage, which took place on a Thursday. Such a nice, nice post Cheryl, and story of you traveling and learning about your mom and dad. xx

November 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly

Thank you Beverly for adding another dimension of those really was a lot to digest in my one day there...I wanted to stay longer but really it would have been pointless...I came, I saw, I felt their presence, especially my Mom''s the first time that has happened and I tried to get into her head. I don't think we can do that..but I can look at her smile here and see, even under the circumstances of her getting here, that she was happy...I guess that's all that really counts at this point...thanks ago for stopping by.

November 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

Always follow your heart and the truth shall set you free. I understand your Mom wanting her privacy. I see a lot of you in her smile. Love the photo of you and Jim standing in the same spot with the leaves as your red carpet ok, maybe orange carpet, but movie star special just the same. ....the history and love in your heart shines through, their legacy lives on because of you and your brave journey. I can already see Liam and his bride standing in the same spot too. (I'm on a role today, should I keep going? Ha!)

November 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterH.S

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