I suggested the topic of a real-life happily-ever-after love story so long ago that frankly, I am not sure what story I had in mind. Possibly the story of the couple below, but when I told The Husband that I was stuck, (and we could only come up with tragic true-love tales), he remembered me telling him about one of my cousin’s in-laws.
I don’t know their earliest history, except that Peter and Amilia were both were both Polish and born in Europe. (There was no actual ‘Poland’ in the 1890s.) Peter was four years older than Amilia, but when or where they married, I do not know. What I do know is that for many decades they lived not far from George Washington’s lands, (or, actually, what had been Martha’s), in a Virginia suburb of Washington, DC ,far enough from the city at that time to be able to have a few chickens and goats, which Amilia tended along with keeping the house and caring for the children, while Peter worked for the railroad.
After some years, Amilia fell ill. The doctor performed a hysterectomy. She healed and resumed her normal work, but soon went back to her doctor and said,
“I’m carrying a child”.
The doctor replied, “That’s impossible”, to which Amilia answered,
”I’m telling you, I felt life. I’ve had six children, I know what I am talking about.”
And sure enough, their seventh child was brought into the world.
Peter and Amilia’s children grew, began to marry or enter religious life, (a daughter who became a quite famous, well-loved nun, and two sons were popular priests), then Amilia fell ill again. While she was in the hospital, Peter quietly sold off the animals and part of their land so that she would not work hard when she came home, (and before she could give him an argument about it!)
They enjoyed their faith, all of their many grandchildren, great-grandchildren…and each other. They would polka every night after supper.
When Peter was into his eighties, his heart began acting up, so the doctors gave him a pacemaker. He wore that one out. He wore the second one out. The third morning after the third pacemaker was put into place, one of his sons (who later became a monsignor) went to the hospital to see his father and found him out of bed, packing his suitcase.
“Dad, what are you doing?”
“I’m going home, the doctor said that I could.”
“Oooookay. Dad, I’ll be right back. Stay right there, OK?” Fr .John rushed down to the nurses’ station and cried out, “My father’s out of bed! He thinks he is going home!”
The nurses said, “He’s going home; he’s fine.”
Peter went home and that night, polkaed with Amilia. The polkaed for many more years.
(I learned all of the above from Peter and Amilia themselves one afternoon on my cousin’s front porch, when we all joined together to celebrate her son’s ordination. Amilia then took my mother and me to the garden to meet Helen, her youngest, the very rare survivor of the very rare ‘abdominal pregnancy’.)
A few years afterward, Peter went to his rest when he was in his ninties, after wearing out a number of pacemakers. Amilia went on actively for seven more years, and well into her nineties, she joined him.
I wonder if they polka Heaven?