Monday, January 28, 2013

TING AND I, Songs, Selflessness, Courage


In the 1960s, the song I associated with us was:

Oh my love, oh my love

I cried for you so much,

Lonely nights without sleeping

while I longed for your touch.

Now your lips can erase

The heartache I’ve known.

Come with me to a world of our own.

We’ll build a world of our own

That no one else can share.

All our sorrows we’ll leave

far behind us there.

And I know you will find

There’ll be peace of mind,

When we live in a world of our own.

—Tom Springfield

—performed by The Seekers

It came true twenty years later.

When my voice changed around age 11, there was no need to go for an audition at the Church of St. John the Divine, which had been contemplated before the change. Now, I enjoy trying to sing, especially to Tina, a song of love:

You were meant for me.

And I was meant for you.

Nature patterned you

And when she was done,

You were all the sweet things

Rolled up in one.

You’re like a plaintive melody

That never, ever, never, ever let me free,

And I’m content

The angels must have sent you

And they meant you

Just for me.

—written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown

—performed by Gene Kelly



Tina has consistently put the interests of others ahead of her own. Whenever I see my Automobile Association of America roadside assistance card in my wallet, I am reminded of this. Sometime during the Ledgewood Commons phase (1986– 93) of our marriage, she did someone a favor by editing a manuscript, for which that person insisted on paying her at least a nominal sum.

When Tina received that payment—her first “paycheck” during our marriage—she insisted on treating me to an AAA renewal, something I was considering discontinuing. I was touched and accepted with gratitude.


Tina’s courage is an inspiration. She has faced her decline bravely, doing what she could, when she could, without feeling sorry for herself or worrying over-much.

Nurse Maria Schmick writes:

From the first moment I met Tina, I was awed by her positive outlook on life. How could one human being face such a horrid disease and still show such gratitude and grace? Her hands may be bent, but her heart is big. And though her legs can’t carry her anymore, her mind reaches far beyond that limitation. MS may have claimed her body, but in terms of will, she has beaten MS to oblivion because it will never claim her spirit.

Leaving an unhappy marriage accompanied by her younger son, and leaving behind her elder son, to join a man she had been in love with twenty years before, took courage. “If you’ll jump, I’ll catch you,” I said. She jumped. I caught.

Frankly, it was gutsy on my part, too. Like countless others, I’d been too often let down by others. By my fortieth year on the planet, I was somewhere between skeptical and cynical about my fellow human beings. Yet this decision was simple for me: I knew if I did not take the opportunity to marry Tina, I would regret it, always wondering what might have been, sometimes fearing that she went through some terrible times without me.

Generally cautious people, we took a chance on each other, chose a “road less traveled by,” and won.

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