Canvas Unwrapped , Karen and Tom’s story behind their Bus Roll and 37 Year Marriage
I really want to thank Karen for sharing her story behind this HOUSE ROLL (Bus Roll) with me and my readers for our Canvas Unwrapped , where Geezees shares (with the help of my clients) the stories behind the canvas. It is a beautifully bittersweet story of love.
Tom and I met in high school at a party. I didn’t know him, but I thought he looked interesting, so I motioned for him to come over to my picnic table, where I sat alone. Now, I have no idea how I got so brazen to say this, but I said, “Why don’t you break up with your girlfriend?” He looked at me with a shocked expression, and asked, “Why?” I responded, “You never know what might happen!”
He did. He broke up with her the very next week, and soon I had his class ring. We went together our last two years of high school. I knew the first time I kissed him that we were meant to be together, but lured by some of my college friends to venture out, I broke up with him when I was a junior in college. I dated a charming Irish, Catholic boy the last two years of school, ended that, met Tom on the way home from school one afternoon, and asked him to marry me! He didn’t agree right away. It took him a few hours. Then he called me; I answered the phone, and his first word was, “Yes.”
That was the beginning of our 37 year marriage. I was so blessed because he would wake up in a great mood, seldom lost his temper, helped around the house, made me laugh, and gave me three beautiful children. We had it all. What made our marriage different from others were the tragedies and the triumphs. Meghan, our first born, is now 38, married, and has two beautiful daughters. Lynsday, our second child, died of SIDS seven weeks after she was born. I still miss her. Clay, our third, is now 33 and just got married last September. He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 19, but is fine thanks to many prayers and caring doctors. Still, I knew that as long as Tom and I were together, we could fight those battles and win. They only made us closer.
What sustained my husband, what made sense to him, was to build. I wonder sometimes if it were also his way to escape. He loved to create. I wanted old homes to redo. He wanted new ones that he planned. We compromised and decided that we would take turns. We lived in our first house ( an older one) on West Indiana Avenue. We changed every room and added a garage and office. The next two were new and in the country. The one on Island Creek had a wrap around Southern porch; the colonial on Western Reserve sat on five acres. I then convinced him to move to Milton in town. This old home was a Dutch gambrel, and we added a three car garage that had been a carriage house and a brick driveway. We lived there ten years.
The urge to build returned, so we drew up plans for a Cape Cod on Cedarwood in a new development, and then we went around the corner four years later and built a house on Dogwood Trail. Would it never end?
Again, I wanted an old house, but he insisted that he could build me a “new, old house.” We chose a plan for a saltbox, and he was in his glory once again. It was his passion. He hired subcontractors, but he did most of the work himself and still worked for the local school district as their carpenter.Tom never took a class; he taught himself how to build these unique and beautiful homes. The man was amazing!
We lived on Northview for ten months when I heard him fall one night. I rushed in, but I couldn’t save him. He had had a heart attack at age 59.
It will be five years this April since I lost him. But you know, he isn’t really lost. I know where he is….in heaven and in my heart. What I most regret is that we never said goodbye, but I think I know why….
there are no goodbyes, no ends to a love that strong.
How did I get so lucky to have him?
So to remember my husband and all of the houses he built for us, I asked Stephanie to make what I call a “house roll.” It lists all the streets where we made memories. You will notice that Glamorgan is at the bottom of the list. I bought this 1939 house after he was gone. He may not be here physically, but he is here, so I included it in my list. He is probably thinking that I had to have my way after all!
Thank you, Stephanie. Every time I look at the list I will remember how proud I was to be his wife.
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