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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bringing Home the Duncan Phyfe: Chapter 3

Aunt Edith had come to the wedding and was staying in Port Huron for a while so she offered her house in Detroit to my parents for their wedding night.

Times were different then, I suppose. It's hard to imagine an aunt offering her house to a new couple on this special night--not a condo or beach house or a chalet in the snowy hills--just a brick bungalow in the sprawling neighborhoods of Detroit. It's even harder imagining newlyweds accepting the offer. My mom, who has told us kids this story countless times and whose voice I hear narrating it even now, always reminded us that things were tight and they were trying to save what money they had for when they got to Washington, D.C.

In spite of this goal, Mom also admits that the thought of Aunt Edith returning to her house the next evening added stress to her growing anxiety. "It was bad enough," she laughs, "that we didn't know anything about anything back then. On top of that I had to worry about leaving Aunt Edith's place exactly like we found it."

It was nearly midnight when they reached the street that matched the "X" on the map. Mom had only seen a picture of the house, but the sleepy street lamps lit the way. As they turned into the drive of the fifth house on the left, the headlights hit the address beside the door, and they knew they were at the right place.

"The key is under the mat," Mom said, "I'll stay here 'til you get in."

Dad carried their suitcases up the steps of the brick and concrete porch. The mat was slightly frozen to the stoop, but it broke free to show the waiting key, worn smooth with time.
The kind that requires a touch to work; the kind it takes a while to know; the kind that finds its place just so... before the bolt clicks, and the knob turns, and the hinge gives way to open.

It brings a groom understandable pause to breach an unfamiliar door and beckon his bride to join him in a place they've never been. Even with the owner's blessing, it feels strange to fumble in the dark for the switch; to wonder where to go, what to touch, and where to put your things; to kindle a fire that takes away the chill; to feel both far away and close but not quite yet at home; to wake to a strangely silent room and know you're not alone.

Come to think of it, when my parents stepped into Aunt Edith's cold, dark house on that February night, it was not much different than every other honeymoon suite where innocence is shared.


Blogger the walking man said...

OK Tom now that we got the sex part out of the way can we get to how they brought the worlds greatest bag piper home?

I can see your mom the next morning running around changing sheets and cleaning everything they may have touched all the while pops is learning that husbands wait...and wait...and wait...and wait. First lesson in marriage 101



6/8/07 6:32 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

You read between the lines of my discreet retelling. I wasn't sure how I would cover this short chapter. Glad it worked. =)

... and you're already getting to know this couple pretty well....

We'll get that Duncan Phyfe--I promise.

6/8/07 7:39 AM  
Blogger SusieQ said...

Mark, you are a hoot!

I don't dare relate what it was like to spend one of our honeymoon nights at my Aunt Autra's (also in Detroit by the way...there must be something about Detroit)while she was right there in the house with us. Too embarrassing.

In the words of the TV character Frasier, I'm listening. Make that I'm reading...if you know what I mean.

6/8/07 3:40 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

My old lady never went anywhere after our wedding but back to work so we are still on our honeymoon in Detroit.

but details susieq details. was aunt Autra on the floor above you or below you that detail would make a world of difference to the telling of your Detroit honeymoon story.

Peace tom you 'ol smooth with delicate matters thing you.


6/8/07 4:48 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I am always pleasantly surprised when I come to Patterns of Ink but nothing is more exciting than reaching the comments section of your blog. I read every word!

This all reminds me of our newlyweds visit over the weekend (their first since the wedding 2 weeks ago)... well to say the least.. I just didn't want to think about "IT" or talk about "IT"!

I look forward to your next installment.

6/8/07 6:14 PM  
Blogger SusieQ said...

Details Mark? Wild horses couldn't drag it out of me.

Ha. Actually it wasn't anything spectacularly embarrassing. So, don't wear yourself out imagining all sorts of scenarios. Aunt Autra was just nice enough to fix us bacon and eggs for breakfast that afternoon.

Nancy, I had to laugh when I read your reference to "IT."

6/8/07 8:45 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

My! My!
I'm up in the sleepy lakes and cottage area of Traverse City (Portage Pointe, Bellaire, etc.) on a little get-away with Julie, and I have a moment of wireless access.

My! My! a guy leaves his blog alone for a few days and look what happens. =)

You kids be good while we're gone!

Just kidding. The next chapter is in the works...but I'm not doing any writing for a few days.

7/8/07 9:54 AM  
Blogger Cris said...

Hmmm, if this was me, I think I would have skipped the whole story about "IT" or else be scarred for life. LOL only joking.

I really am enjoying reading the story about your parents. :)

7/8/07 10:05 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I also had a fussy Great Aunt Edith but my parents never stayed at her house. It was torture enough to eat there.
Let's get to the Duncan Whatever.

7/8/07 6:44 PM  
Blogger EA Monroe said...

Tom, I'm enjoying your posts about your mom and dad.... and the comments, too!

8/8/07 6:20 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Well, we're back from up north. I hope to soon show some progress with this plot. Dr. John has been waiting patiently =)... but there is at least one more chapter before the title comes into play.
Thanks for dropping by and engaging in this story.

8/8/07 10:07 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Funny...at this point I am wondering if your POI readers are anxious for the final chapter of this story. Or the laughs and insights they get through the comments!
Makes for some great reading. On both sides of the story. =) By the way...Wyndham will be the flower girl in Chip's brother's wedding on Saturday. You can be certain I will have some photos to share of that occasion. Tell Mrs. K hello from Bella too. =)

8/8/07 10:41 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

Fifteen years later, and I have yet to go on my honeymoon with the wifey.

8/8/07 11:17 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

I loved the analogy of the key in the door and "to fumble in the dark for the switch; to wonder where to go, what to touch, and where to put your things; to kindle a fire that takes away the chill;"

That was so sweet.

9/8/07 9:39 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Don't you love old houses and old keys? My grandmother used to hang a key like this one on a nail inside the unlocked screen door of the back porch. If we arrived when no one was home, I'd take down the key and rattle it around in the lock until the knob turned.
The old keys were not precise at all and the key worked from either side (which is why you could look right through the hole). That is how I first learned that such keys were unique and required some patience. All keys are designed to be unique, but the old keys were less intricate in appearance and more delicate in their personalities. You had to "get to know" them. People are like that, too. =)
My Dad was very shy and did not like to "owe" people, so I'm sure that staying in Aunt Edith's house was as awkward for him as it was my mom.

10/8/07 7:50 AM  
Blogger Tracie said...

My gosh I've been out of the norm for longer than I thought! I LOVE this story so far. And I have to say that I'm happy to be reading the posts one after the other instead of having to wait for you to write them! haha

I can't wait to hear more about your parents!

22/8/07 9:58 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I just found this, Tracie.
There are some advantages to being behind in your reading, but less for being behind in writing. I'm afraid this has been a bit of the Chinese Water Torture for POI readers as it gets from my head to the page.

2/9/07 9:57 PM  

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