Barely off the plane, he told her the truth and the truth was this: She could stay in Puerto Rico, go back to Chicago or go home to Ashland for all he cared, the marriage was over. He didn't love her, had never stopped sleeping with other girls, and had she not gotten pregnant, would have never married her in the first place. What's more, his parents felt that she was too young to raise a child on her own, so they would be keeping the baby! The panic that shot through her had flipped some kind of a switch. She appeared so calm on the outside and she couldn't believe the things that came into her head and tumbled out of her mouth. Things like not needing to be rash, he could have as many girls as he wanted, she might have a few men too, this could all be worked out and the baby could still have a mother and a father. "Now let's take the restrictions off, partner up and have some fun with these two weeks down here."
It was as if some older, wiser version of herself, who knew exactly how to play this, had taken over. This 'other self'' would do and say anything to get her baby back no matter how long it took. (and it took months) He bit the hook just like she knew he would and suggested that they go to this great nightclub run by a guy he new that night.
Meanwhile, on the other side of San Juan....
THE GUY, 38, was in the death throes of his second bad marriage. The wife was sleeping with everything on the island but him. But to the outside world, he was a charming guy who had the incredibly sexy job of running the hottest nightclub in town.
So that night in the club, moments before excusing himself to the table of a bleached blond Puerto Rican girl, the husband introduced THE GIRL to THE GUY. Their chemistry was combustible and they began an affair that night! The next couple of weeks was a whirlwind. The husband was making his way through the island, one broad at a time. THE GIRL and THE GUY were doing the Adam and Eve bit, with abandon. Somewhere in there THE GUY took her to a lawyer friend to discuss the issue of Chicago. The news was not good. The lawyer said that if the husband and his parents were in cahoots, they could make up whatever stories they wanted about her and it would be the word of 3 against 1. Her best bet, he said, was to go back, somehow get in the good graces of the mother-in-law, take the baby out for a walk one day, and keep walking.
When the 'San Juan Affair' concluded, the husband went back to Chicago and THE GIRL flew to Columbus, OH and moved in to a bedroom in the home of a brother and sister-in-law to mobilize the next step. A couple of months later, in an operation that was part CIA covert operation and part Keystone Cops, THE GIRL accompanied by three of her brothers hopped in the car at four in the morning and drove to Chicago. With one brother in the getaway car (engine running) another posted at the elevator as a lookout (having tipped the elevator boy to hold it) THE GIRL and her third brother burst into the in-laws apartment, took the baby and made a run for it! In a move that, to this day remains a mystery, neither the husband or his parents ever lifted a finger to try and get the baby back.
Back in Columbus, THE GIRL surrendered to the inevitable, got a job as a waitress behind the lunch counter at a five and dime, and readied herself for a life as a single mother, dependent on the kindness of her brother and sister-in-law for shelter and help raising the baby. The affair with THE GUY was madcap and wonderful, but she knew she'd never see him again. Until....
Three months later he called her, he was in New York, he had left his wife and he wanted to come to her! He went to Columbus where they moved, the three of them, into a little apartment of their own. Because it took time for their respective divorces to be finalized, they lived in sin for their first two years together.
In addition to everything else they had in common, they discovered that, although there was a 17 year age difference between them, they had both been born on April 18th. When they were finally legally free, they chose to be married on her 23rd and his 40th birthdays; April 18, 1956.
THE GIRL was Dee:
THE GUY was Phil:
and they are my parents. I came along 3 years later.
They remained married for the rest of their lives.
Living and loving in sin, Columbus Ohio. 1955
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM.
AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO YOU BOTH.