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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chuck and Lu -- A Love Story

My parents were madly in love. Chuck and Lu were bring-the-house-down mad for each other. Sadly, this didn’t guarantee immunity from the rages of life, the realities they were both not so ready for.

They fought like George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, like Tina and Jonathan in Diary of a Mad Housewife.

Sans booze. They didn’t need inebriants to fuel their scenes.

Mind you, the time of heavy ruckusing was while we four kids were going through puberty. They should have sent us all away to prep schools for the perpetually badly behaved. Seriously.

OK, except for the youngest. Celeste was a tremendous and talented student, helpful to both parents in so many ways, calm and funny too. I believe they got her from a better class of stork.

In any case, I’d forgotten the big, giant even, amore that my folks shared until my mother was up for one of her periodic operations at Mass General. She had Neurofibromatosis Type 2 -- like me and my little sister. Daddy was staying with me at the apartment I shared with my pal Cynthia in Allston.

These surgeries go anywhere from eight to 18 hours. Daddy and I spent the day reading, napping, eating too much and being nervous. Eventually surgery ended. It went about as well as could be expected. No major miracles but mia madre was gonna be OK.

The docs let us in to see her in the post surgery intensive care unit. We were only permitted to stay a few minutes of course. The whole of that time was spent with Daddy leaned over the hospital bed rail, clucking and chanting endearments to her in Italian. IN ITALIAN! I had no idea that my father knew the language OR that my mother and he had this private love code. None of us kids had ever heard them speak like this.

I believe it was then, this precise moment, that I knew beyond doubt that my folks were still wild about each other AND that they had a sort of romance that was hard for me to understand.

Love with rockets.

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