Funny that Mom’s love-life story starts with Grandma Flora. In about 1974 or so, Jackie and I were staying at Grandma Flora’s house up in Nevada City. Mom and Dad would leave us at Grandma’s house and go to Reno for the weekend. Jackie and I were playing in the extra bedroom. Grandma used to keep a Noah’s Ark, a plastic ark filled with animals for us to play with, as well as all my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy Mystery books. Jackie and I were playing one day, and Jackie found a photo album that was stuck under the bed. Jackie pulled it out and there was a picture of a bride.
She looked at me and I looked at her. It was Mom. She was wearing a bride’s dress and simply looked beautiful. We thought, wow, I’ve never seen this. Jackie opened it up and we found beautiful pictures of all of Mom’s family.
However, the last couple of pictures were shocking.
They weren’t dad. They were pictures of a tall, blond man. We were shocked. Jackie quickly put it away back under the bed. I really was confused. I knew my parents had been married in Las Vegas and that was definitely not my father.
As soon as mom got back to Grandma’s house and we got her alone, Jackie said, “We found something in the bedroom.” Mom went to the bedroom with us and Jackie pulled the album out.
Mom said, “Oh that. I was married before.”
What? Mind blown. Hahaha we were so shocked. But my mother, you have to understand, Momma figured if she didn’t make a big deal out of something, then it wasn’t a big deal. She said, “Oh, it was annulled. That’s like it never happened.”
We had several conversations after that about this marriage and really, lack of a marriage. So, I shall tell this tale.
To start at the beginning, mother had a ton of boyfriends she dated throughout high school. She dated Ramon Erradaberry, her first boyfriend as well as Bud Affeldt and numerous other guys.
After graduating from high school, she went off to a college to become a dental assistant. Her parents moved from the Fresno Area to Stockton, CA in approximately 1948. She lived with her sister Kay until she graduated in 1949.
She briefly lived in San Francisco while at Dental Assistant school then moved to Stockton.
So she met Tim first. They were out cruising and the guy that dad was cruising with knew the girl mom was with. They ended up all in the same car and mom was in the front seat with dad. The car was full of kids. Tim pulled the car over on the side of the road and he kissed Jubie the first night they met. Jubie’s friend shouted “Juuuubbbbbie” because mother had let him kiss her. Jubie fell in love with Tim that night.
Now, I only know vague details on the rest of the story. I asked my mother, “If you met Dad first, how the hell did you marry Ted before you married Dad?”
She said that her parents didn’t like that her boyfriend was a Latin, as Jub would say. So, at some point, she met Ted Kuchenriter.
I know she and Ted were no love match. She said she walked down the aisle knowing that all her parents’ friends were out there and that her father was waiting for her. They had spent a lot of money on her wedding and she couldn’t disappoint them. So, she walked down the aisle, knowing she didn’t love Ted and couldn’t stay married to him. She loved Tim. She said she was doing him a favor, she didn’t love him and they would have only ended up divorced.
She had a pretty wedding and stayed married to Ted “for about two weeks” before she had the marriage annulled. I am not certain how long that time was but she said she never consummated her marriage. He went off to the Korean War and was overseas.
When Jubie had their marriage annulled, Ted came back. She said he was standing in front of her when she told him that she was ending their marriage. She said that if he had a gun in that moment he would’ve shot her, but as it was he took off his wedding ring and threw it at her. She didn’t care. She was in love with Tim and that was what she wanted.
She and Tim threw her wedding ring from her marriage to Ted into the lake.
She went back to Tim and they eloped. They ran away to Las Vegas with their friends Don and Shirley Honeychurch and got married. So she didn’t have the big wedding, lots of flowers, gifts and friends.
On the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary, my siblings and I threw them the wedding party that they never had. I felt that their celebration was long over-due. Don and Shirley Honeychurch who had already divorced, were both there and it was a great night.
I think the lesson here is great. Your heart knows what it wants. People know, deep down, what they want. Times have changed. I know my mother was desperately afraid of disappointing her parents. Fear is a powerful motivator. But I think love is an even bigger, more powerful motivator. I can honestly say my parents love was real and never wavered. They loved each other until the end of their days. But, Momma puts it best, so I shall let my mother tell you herself.