Charlie and I will soon be celebrating our 48th anniversary. And they said it wouldn’t last! No, really they did! Charlie was two months away from his 19th birthday and I had just turned 19, nine days earlier. Does that make me the “older woman?” I’ll have to say this, it wasn’t always easy. Big surprise, huh? But I will also say I wouldn’t trade a second of it for a billion dollars. I used to say a million dollars, but what with inflation and all.
Can I tell you about our big fight? Doesn’t every couple have at least one of those? Well, here’s ours, laid bare to all the world or at least anyone reading this story.
The year,1966. If I remember correctly, it was late summer. Charlie was in the Navy serving aboard the USS Wasp based in Boston. We had just rented an apartment close by, in Chelsea. It was great living so close to the south annex where the ship was docked. Charlie could just get off the ship and take the bus to South Station, then he could take the subway to Revere where he’d get another bus to Chelsea. That bus would let him off right in front of our apartment on Broadway. Nice.
On occasion he’d have night duty on the ship which meant he wouldn’t get home until about 7:30 in the morning. On this particular morning, I knew he’d soon be arriving at the apartment, so I decided to surprise him with his favorite breakfast, eggs over easy, bacon, home fries, and toast. It was all ready and I had just set it on the table as I heard him enter the hall and ascend the stairs to the apartment. When he opened the door, I could tell by the look on his face that he had not had a good night on the ship.
Thinking that his favorite breakfast would lift his mood, I said as cheerfully as I could, “I’ve got breakfast all cooked and ready for you to eat.”
His reply? “I’m not going to eat that $#@%!!”
Whoa! Wrong thing to say to the “little woman!” I just stood there for a few seconds, looking at his brooding face. And then, welling up inside me, starting at my toes and working its way up my body, was a feeling I can only imagine as being something akin to what the Incredible Hulk felt when he got really big and green and ticked off! I picked up the plate of food, holding it flat in the palm of my right hand. Taking a few steps to my husband, I said, “Oh yes, you will eat this,” at which point I let him have it right in the face!
I think I probably instantly regretted this move but the damage was done. What happened next can only be described as………well, to tell the truth, I’m not exactly sure what it could be described as. All I know is, at that moment pots and pans sitting on the stove went flying thru the air. Bacon grease ran down the wall near the stove and a pan of water lay on its side, its contents puddling on the kitchen floor. Everywhere one looked, there were bits of egg, bacon, home fries, and toast decorating the kitchen.
Silence ensued. Charlie immediately closed himself in the bathroom, slamming the door and I closed myself in the bedroom, also slamming the door. After several minutes, I heard the kitchen door slam. I looked out the bedroom window of our 3rd floor apartment just in time to see Charlie boarding a city bus that had just come by.
“I bet he’s heading back to the ship. Good, have fun!” I thought to myself as I proceeded to clean up the breakfast mess that adorned the kitchen. The whole while I was fuming at Charlie for coming home in a bad mood, and I was also fuming at myself for letting the breakfast fly.
“That was a stupid thing to do.”
With the mess cleaned up, and the morning waning I was feeling very miserable. This was supposed to be a long weekend off for Charlie and here we were, me all alone in the Chelsea apartment, and him, who knew where? Probably back at the ship. Just then there was a knock at the door.
I answered it, finding it to be our downstairs neighbor, Helen. “You have a phone call. It’s Charlie.”
Since we didn’t have a phone, Helen was kind enough to take an occasional call for us. I followed Helen downstairs to her apartment wondering what Charlie was calling about.
I nervously picked up the phone and with a little fear and trepidation said in a timid voice, “Hello?”
There was a short pause, then Charlie said, “Hi Honey. Look, can we forget about that fiasco this morning? I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah, me too. I’m sorry I threw those eggs at you.” I replied.
We both chuckled and I felt the tension flow out of my body. Phew! What a relief! Then I just had to ask, “Where are you?”
“Well, I managed to get on a bus to Newmarket and I’m at Bruce and Patsy’s house. Why don’t you come up here and spend the rest of the weekend with me and them? There’s another bus to Newmarket leaving the city at about 2:30. It gets in at about 4:00. How about it?”
Bruce and Patsy were high school classmates of mine and our best friends. I loved the idea of spending the weekend with them. I pondered his question for about half a second. “Yes! I’ll come!” I excitedly exclaimed. “If I get my butt in gear, I should be able to catch that bus in plenty of time. I’d better get going so I can get some stuff packed for both of us. I’ll see you at the bus stop in Newmarket at about 4:00, OK?”
“Sounds good,” he replied. “So, see you soon? And by the way, I love you.”
“Yup. I’ll be there! I love you too,” I answered.
Long story short, I made it to my old stomping ground of Newmarket, New Hampshire and we spent a wonderful time with Patsy and Bruce. The “great Chelsea egg incident” as it came to be known, was a source of humor all that weekend. Bruce who’s always been famous for his sense of humor and great one-liners didn’t disappoint us at all. The “egg” references played out all weekend.
“You’re a good egg, in the long run, but who likes long runny eggs?” “That egg story really cracks me up.” “I think Charlie was just egging you on” Enough with the egg jokes Bruce!
So, how do I draw this story to an end? Well, by saying that those fried eggs, cooked in the fall of 1966, were the very last fried eggs I ever cooked. If Charlie wants fried eggs, he has to cook them himself. He eats a lot fewer eggs nowadays.