He was a big man, very big. When he walked he stooped down somewhat and when he sat he wore the chair. He always wore his shirts out of his pants, and he came from the good people, people that worked with their hands and toiled long hours to make their lives bearable. Employed by Con Ed, a sheet-metal worker, who paid his bills and kept his life uncomplicated. He loved his Mary and a good visit with a beer or even a glass of wine. Give him a steak, a beer and Mary and it was heaven for him.
Mary was the love of his life; he didn’t have any real interest except old war movies and the “Duke”, his Duke, John Wayne and Mary. No pets, and certainly no dalliances of any kind. If you sat with him to talk, you were king or queen, you became special, treated like a brother or sister, never judging you, and insisted you join him for a glass or a pint. When family got together, he took out his accordion and played all the old tunes, most Irish ditties and “Mary”, and when he played that, he would look at his Mary and tears would well in his eyes.
He had a child-like innocence, a teddy bear look, and a very basic love for his country. When he got angry, it was because he heard someone make a disparaging remark about his America.
She was a lady, someone who spread laughter if she could, who could brighten up the darkest day and the darkest of hours. Mary was the light left on, waiting for you to come home during a stormy night. She loved her Eddie, she would admonish him on occasion, but loved him without fanfare or qualifiers, without showing any outward emotions toward him, but she loved him. She was a lady of great dignity, a moral compass as was her Eddie. Mary worked for years at St. Regis Paper as a secretary, She had a sister, Helen my Mother-in-law and three brothers, and she was the baby of the family.
They met late in life, being introduced by their paperboy, her nephew Tommy, never having children, they had adoring nieces and nephews, and later in life, the people that married into their families learned that loving them was natural and easy.
Then one day Eddie, walking down the street to his home from an errand for his Mary fell to the concrete and days later was gone. He had lain in a hospital for a few days, but his big heart was no longer able to beat, and a lot of hearts stopped beating for a moment when they learned he passed on.
And sometimes like a lot of love stories, Mary, Eddie’s Mary soon followed, when a few months later, after suffering for years with arthritis there was pain in her stomach and an ache in her heart. On a beautiful Easter Sunday close to midnight we got a call from the hospital that Aunt Mary had join Eddie.
If you believe in God, or if you don’t, believe this: they are together somewhere special, and you can hear the strains of “Mary” being played out on an accordion, the music drifting across an open room called paradise, the sun is shinning in his heart and her eyes as she looks at him play.
Today they are together one more time, sharing the same crypt in Pinelawn National Cemetery, as they always wanted it, as they always had; together.