I wanted to begin this with a very poetic saying that would fit perfectly with what I am about to write. Since you aren’t seeing it, that means I could not find it. In fact, sometimes it is as if no words can say it just right.
Through the years, I along with so many others have mentioned, “I wish….” Wish we had written down the stories while sitting at the feet of our grandparents, wishing we had of found who this person was in a charming picture from long ago. And on the list goes.
A few months ago I hit 80 years young and began to think about what questions my children would have liked to remember or have asked me. I can think of one, for sure.
And so my story begins. And with all stories, especially probing my brain cells for long ago facts, there might be some errors. Add in, this is a story of life from my remembrances, not anyone else’s.
I, my husband Harvey and our two girls Cheryl and Michelle lived in a small (at that time) town called Yucca Valley. The church we attended was small also which makes it easy to form friendships. One of those was with Jim and Marcia Terrell. I had met Jim’s son, Rick, a few times but he was just a young quiet person that I didn’t really talk to or notice much. Later when he got out of the service he came to their home to spend the summer and take the time to figure out where he could get a job. His talent in the military was speaking Russian, and so who could be a better spy?!
Jobs weren’t so plentiful in the spy business (a little humor here) but try he did. Add in a little boredom from being out in the desert area with not much of anything going on. So he would visit our home. Since I am Irish, I can be quite entertaining and speak more words in an hour than he probably thought in a day! And I being a few years older, married and a mother of three (add in Shawn) I was full of wisdom for him. In fact I set him up with dates with a few gals from our church. He wasn’t too impressed, and so that left me to become a friend.
I enjoyed the friendship, the debates of this or that and a break from routine. My husband was a truck driver and gone a lot on the road, sometimes for weeks at a time which gave me plenty of hours to soak up Rick’s friendship.
I remember taking care of Rick when he had a fever, as I had a lot of practice with three children and was and am interested in natural/preventive methods. Maybe we did flirt a little but that was all. Until one day Rick said he had to leave because he was falling in love with me. (I don’t remember how long he had been staying with us while hunting a job) He felt quite guilty about it as he liked Harvey a lot. He said he would apologize to Harvey and then he would go. I was surprised, because I felt I was so much older but then looking back I was a beautiful gal. Hair to my waist, flirty eyes, long legs and laughter.
The sincere apology to Harvey didn’t go over so big. As soon as Rick left after their conversation, Harvey lost it. Now here is where I am going to jump over a few facts in respect to Harvey. Let’s just say that he put a spin on it that was far from the truth and would not, could not believe that Rick and I were what we explained…..nothing personal had happened. Just time together. And yes, attraction. I don’t remember us even sharing a kiss.
To jump ahead a few days, Rick found himself with some heavy threats and I found myself suddenly without 3 children whom were hidden somewhere that I knew not nor could I find them. To say we were naïve would be quite factual. And what to do? We ended up driving. Staying in motels. And yes sleeping in the same bed. But this is where it gets rather sweet. Rick and I put pillows down the middle of the bed so we could honestly say that we were not doing anything that anyone could find offense with. We weren’t even touching. We both had some good old fashioned values. That was who we were.
We ended up in Sacramento. Rick was trying to get in with the CIA or some form of government work so as to put his skill with the Russian language and his experiences in the military to good use. Nothing moved fast within the government back in those days. Probably the same as now!
Meanwhile I was frantically trying to locate my 3 children. My parents finally said that some of the time they had been with them. Bless their hearts, they were as surprised about everything as Rick and I.
Six weeks went by before the pillows on the bed were not between us but on the floor. Six weeks later I took the test. I was pregnant. So much of that period is just a swirl of time. Eventually I talked with Harvey and he said that he had a new girlfriend and that I could come home and my children would be waiting for me.
And that is what happened. But by that time a place in my heart had been given to Rick. I don’t remember where Rick stayed. I am thinking it must have been with his mom or grandma Dodie. I kept my children stuck like glue to me, I was not going to lose them ever again. Harvey came to visit the children. Rick came to visit me and my children. I didn’t spend time with Harvey but Rick and I went places with my children. And as this part of time is full of heartaches, confusion and stress, I am going to jump ahead.
Todd Sheldon. Rick wanted the Sheldon. I wanted the name Todd. We compromised! An alert little baby boy arrived….a blessing of life.
And here is where I toss all the rules of writing aside and just scramble some sentences.
Much love and respect for Rick’s mom, Lillian. She could have disliked or ignored me. But she had a heart of gold along with wisdom. We wrote, we talked by the hour. She never made me feel guilty. And with the arrival of Todd? Her arms were open. (Now Bill was another story. Lillian’s husband thought I must be a women of ill repute so was never around when Lillian and I got together.)
Bill’s treatment of me was just a small punishment meted out. Try going to a church of about 350 people which I had attended since a teenager. Now I was pregnant and the source of that thing called gossip. Many ‘friends’ would not look me in the eye. I learned a thing or two about friendships and that the judging rules for men were totally different than for women. Now days, a lot of things have changed!!
Rick. I. What to do. I could see that Rick was trying his best but I had 3 children already and they were not one bit happy about the whole situation. I honestly thought that suddenly having 3 children would overwhelm him. No job and suddenly 3 children and another one its way?
Harvey. The girlfriend didn’t work out. So he was often stopping by to see the children. And by that time it included Todd. He wanted to come back. He would raise Todd as his own.
Rick. He would come by to spend time with Todd. We would talk. We would cry. We both knew the unavoidable time was coming. The pain took its toll on both our lives.
I finally made the decision based on the children. I would go back with Harvey. Some would say I made a wrong decision, others would say that to put the children ahead of all other choices was the right thing to do. To this day, I as a mother feel I made the best choice for them.
I remember the last time I saw Rick and the last time he held Todd as a baby. In my heart I knew I had made a choice that was bringing horrible pain upon a person I loved and cared deeply for. The picture of Rick walking out the door for the last time will always be tucked away in the deep part of my soul.
Todd. Sixteen years old. I don’t remember if it was a phone call from Rick or a letter but Rick was asking to see Todd. That came as a shock. Thankfully I had time to think it over. Then I sat down with Todd. Years previous I had shared a little of the story about Rick. And now I told Todd it was up to him. It was his decision. He questioned me for a couple of days. His main concern was that it would hurt me and I would then feel the loss of his love. How deeply I appreciated those questions as I assured him that our hearts can love many without taking that love away from others.
Rick and I then made plans and met first at a park before Todd arrived. I shared pictures of Todd from a toddler to the present. I explained what a fabulous son that we had made. The joy of Todd and his unique traits.
Later it was time, a time I secretly was dreading. Todd was going to spend the summer with Rick, wife Suzi and their son. That is when love comes in. That is when you want what is best for another so you open your hands and ‘let them go free’. I knew that Todd loved me and that nothing could ever take that love away.
It took some time, to be blunt, for Suzi and I to become friends. The knowledge of Rick and I was hard on her, understandably so. Seeing, spending time with Ricks ‘other’ son was quite an adjustment to her. But with time, somehow, someway, Suzi accepted it all with a gracious heart. I will never forget the one letter that came when she voiced the battle she had gone through before accepting me. Todd had won her over and in so doing, I somehow had tagged a long!!
Todd’s wedding to Kelly was the next time I saw Rick in person. By then Suzi and I had chatted and become more acquainted to who we both really were deep inside. All thanks to Facebook….lol. I had such respect for Suzi that I made all efforts at the wedding to not even look twice at Rick. But when we found ourselves sitting at the same table after the ceremonies, I listened and remembered why I and Rick had oh so long ago become friends. He still had his beautiful hair, the sound of his voice and the special way of talking about which foods were the best, etc. That was a special time for all of us. As we were leaving, Suzi and Rick were waiting by the door. Suzi gave me a hug and then walked off. At the time I thought oh no, I can’t be alone with Rick. I never want to hurt Suzi. So I then walked off after giving Rick a quick hug. Later I found out that Suzi was giving Rick and I a chance to talk. That touched my heart deeply. Previously while at the table Rick mentioned that it was wonderful that we could spend time all together, laughing and talking and enjoying the wedding of Todd and Kelly. I so agreed.
Suzi. I think you are a fantastic women. You have been such a good wife to Rick. I am thankful, Suzi, that we are good friends.
Rick. You will always be in my heart. I love you. Thank you for Todd.
Marilyn Robinson Moshos – March 2021
from Suzi – ok you’ve now got me with tears streaming … that was beautiful Marilyn! You were much to gracious with ‘me’, but I could feel all your emotions and understand it all so much better. Thank you so much for doing this … someday those babies, now getting way too big – will love hearing it. I’m very proud of you! Actually … I’m pretty proud of “us”
from Marilyn – I agree!!! We are pretty great….lol. Shows the beauty of forgiveness and friendships.
from Suzi – Ricky is reading now … he has tears streaming also … and he thought you did a really good job. I asked if he’d ever write ‘his’ version but he said no – he doesn’t write. You done good girl!
… he also said – that if he’d found a decent paying job, things would have turned out very different.
from Marilyn – Life has its turns and yes, a lot of would haves, could haves etc. But at the end it all works out. After all, we are good caring people. We also have memories. I haven’t dealt with this ‘story’ for years. I didn’t want to dig that deep into my soul. But now I am thankful…it was freeing in a way for me to share what I thought, felt and remembered. Thank you Suzi for allowing me to share. Thank you for sharing Rick’s words. That left a nice warm soft spot in my heart.
from Suzi – it did in all our hearts … may I put it on “our” family webpage??
from Marilyn – Might as well…..lol But you will have to share your remarks as those are part of the beauty of it all.
from Suzi – Ok ~