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Senior Citizen's Guide to Pittsburgh

My Angel

I may have been asleep, but I knew my husband was standing at the foot of my bed letting me know his spirit was with me. I needed to believe he would be my angel. Jack and I had married during his furlough home during World War II. He was being shipped overseas for duty in Iran. We had one week to be together. Our courtship had been a long- distance one and our marriage was beginning with an ocean between us.

Jack was a farmer and I, a city girl. We met one summer at his farm in upstate New York. We stopped to talk and during our conversation he told me he had seen me around and wanted to know more about me. Would I like to spend the evening with him? He was six feet tall and had deep blue eyes, blondish brown hair and a look of innocence. My appearance, on the other hand, was five feet, with brown hair and eyes. I considered myself ordinary looking and not very outgoing.

My parents leased a farm a mile up the road and Jack came to meet them. We discovered we had the same values and our interests and ambitions were to try and make a difference in the lives of others. We spent time walking along the mountain paths, driving to the waterfalls and other country sights. We both loved nature and how the earth, stars, and night could become magical. We held hands, and I had a warm feeling when with him. Our evenings together would soon end. My family would be returning to the city after Labor Day. There would be one hundred miles separating us during the winter months. On one of our last evenings together Jack kissed me for the first time. We kept writing about our activities, hopes for the future, ambitions and dreams. I missed being with him and knew he felt the same.

Jack called me before the December holidays to say he was coming for a visit. My family decided he should stay at our home and share a room with my brother. We had known each other for only one summer, but I had the feeling we had been friends for an eternity. That week he proposed and we announced our engagement. We married the following year before he was shipped overseas.

My husband received his discharge papers from the Army in 1945. Our reunion made us realize we had a lot of catching up on feelings and knowledge, of what each of us needed and wanted. Jack wanted to enter into an agriculture college to learn about the new technical methods of farming. We did not want to live in his parent’s home, so we renovated one of the summer bungalows with new furniture and personal items. We were looking forward to many happy years together.

Fate had other plans. Jack was in the fields, gathering hay when his knee locked and he could not move it. He managed to get back to the house and we called the doctor. The diagnosis was a torn cartilage. He would need surgery to repair the damaged knee. The doctor told us it was a simple operation and in a week he could return to work with some restrictions. In the recovery room he suddenly couldn’t breathe. I was told a blood clot had entered his lungs and stopped his heartbeat. They could not revive him. At age twenty-five, I was a widow. My future hopes and my life shattered after only eighteen months of happiness.

The night after his funeral, my sleep was interrupted by his presence at the foot of my bed. He wanted to tell me something, but I heard no words. It was then I knew an angel would always be with me in times of need or trouble and even in times of happiness, although I didn’t expect to find happiness again. Two years later my signal came. An old childhood friend came into my life, and we renewed our friendship. It was time to let go and start a new chapter in my life. Remembering the image of my first husband, I knew my angel wanted me to be happy.

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