To last a lifetime

I write romance novels, so my true love stories tend to focus on the first stages of relationships when everything is new, passions run high, and anything is possible. But what happens after The End of the book when real life goes on?

Since this is the month of Valentine’s Day, we’re talking about real-life romance. I’m lucky to come from an extended family where the successful long-term relationships vastly outnumber the ones that faltered. But just like in a romance novel, I know it wasn’t always sweetness and light even in those loving relationships. There might not have been rival vampire hordes or dastardly dukes trying to tear them apart, but I know they had their tough times, and still they persevered to their Happily Ever Afters.

MM&PP sepia2My grandparents set a good example for me, I think. Even World War II couldn’t get in their way.

MM&PP older.bmpHe was an engineer and she was an artist, so they had their differences. She loved to tell the story of the new garden bed she laid out with a hose in a freeform flowing shape… which he cut out of the sod in neat geometric right angles. While she would tell the story with the same outrage as if it had happened yesterday, he would sit back with the same little smile I imagine he had when he broke ground the way he thought it should be. But regardless of their disagreement on the shape of the bed, he grew the veggies and she cooked them up as one dedicated team.

They traveled the world together, visiting exotic locals in Africa and South America. They lived in the same house for a good chunk of their lives. They both loved to dance, and they shared a similar delight in creating. Later in life, their artist/engineer backgrounds seemed to meld and switch: he made beautiful — and very artistic — wooden bowls while she mastered computers and desktop publishing to work on her memoirs.

Now they share a headstone in Arlington.

 

MM&PP grave

 

I can only hope my characters — and I — continue to live such a love story for however long “ever after” lasts.

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About Jessa Slade

Jessa Slade is the author of the Marked Souls urban fantasy romance series (NAL Signet Eclipse), the Steel Born paranormal romance series (Harlequin Nocturne Cravings), and award-winning self-published science fiction romance with Hotter on the Edge. You can find her online at all the usual haunts.

Posted on February 2, 2015, in Auth: Jessa Slade and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. You are so lucky to have so much family history available to you! It’s a fascinating way to learn about the past.

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  2. What a wonderful example of opposites making it work and even melding. Loved the older pics too.

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  3. I showed my daughter my story 43 pages so far.. Her only comment was “what have you planned next? ‘ She started outlinig the sequel No, 1 and then sequel No. 2!!!! excellent since I just gave her my writer’s file as part of my clearing my bucket list. I’m in assisted living and Hospice. Getting my affairs in order to make it an easy transition for my family Lots more to this tale but no room here. best regards to all..Dale K. ..

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  4. What an amazing story, Jessa. I love to hear long-lasting love stories. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

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    • Yes, all my family seem to have found “forever” relationships and made them last. As far as I know, I’m the only one in my extended family living in sin! It’s good to be the black sheep 🙂

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  5. Same question as above: do you still have those memoirs? And which parts of South America did they travel to?

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    • MomMom made everyone in the family bound volumes of her memoirs. And she did it in the days before Createspace. Today of course everyone captures their ephemera on social media. (That’s a different rant.) They particularly enjoyed the Panama Canal (I did note my grandfather was an engineer) and Costa Rica.

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  6. Those memoirs sound like they’d be an interesting peek into the loves and lives of post-war Americans.

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    • My grandmother’s memoir is five volumes! And my grandfather put together a scrapbook of WWII. Plus, my father is into genealogy. However, I think we all have a touch of the “writer gene” which makes all our stories slightly suspect 😉

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  7. Your grandparents sound amazing, Jessa. I was in tears by the last picture. Do you still have your grandmother’s memoirs?

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