Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I remember my first time in New York, how unsophisticated
I felt; a hick from Canada, not knowing if I was dressed
well enough, saying the right things, acting maturely enough...
I was twenty-one, a newly minted bride, but I felt much younger

Fortunately for me, the designer I worked for, and was travelling with,
also wanted me to wear his designs while we were in New York
And his trendy suede mini-dresses and fringed vests, skin-tight
hip-huggers, and hot pants...his whole line was a huge hit
Consequently, so was was like being a minor celebrity just to go,
to dinner in those clothes but I'm sure no-one knew who I was
They knew the designer and loved what he was doing, so if I happened
to be part of the package, I got to come dinner at the St.Regis hotel...
where the Kennedys dined, and others of their ilk,
to Joe Namath's restaurant for lunch--with Joe...and on and on
It was a heady time and I remember being torn...
Married only a few months, I knew...
I should be home with my husband
in Toronto, but I was loving my time
in New York too, and never wanted it to end.

We laugh about it now but I'm not sure it was funny
at the time; it seemed every time I did come home
was right when my husband needed to travel for his job
--he's a survey engineer and he was articling that
year to get his Ontario Land Surveyors' Certification--

Without exaggerating, we spent very little time
together that first year...we'd joke that that's
why we had such an easy time of it
People would say if you can survive the first year
of marriage, you've got it made
Survive it? Hell, we barely experienced it...

My job also necessitated trips to Montreal,
Ottawa and Windsor
But my husband and I were able to hook up
in those places with a bit of planning
and effort
It was when I needed to go to New York and
that's where I went most often
that I had to be away the longest and was
physically out of reach...

I remember I'd come home bubbling over
with stories from New York
All the places I'd been and people I met
And while we didn't fight about it, I do remember
My husband saying something once
about,  how could he possibly compete
with such excitement and fame

I remember him picking me up
at the airport once too
First of all, the plane was very late...not that unusual
with a flight out of Kennedy, for some reason
That night he was waiting at Toronto International
(this was before it was called Pearson) with his father
I recall coming down the escalator, dressed very
"model sexy" I guess I would call it
After all, I was returning to my newly-wed husband
after a two or three week separation

The last person I was expecting to see at the baggage
claim area was my new father-in-law
A man who hadn't spoke to me the whole year before
we got married, not to mention during our wedding
I was still very uncomfortable around him and yet,
here he was--oh joy
I must have blocked the rest of that evening out
because I can't recall any of it

I remember I got good at building a protective shell
around myself during the year of silence
And perhaps that's what I did then...just crawled
behind the shell
To anyone observing from the outside, it would look
like we were a normal threesome
Just being reunited at the airport; at least that's what
I came to believe
That no-one could see my pain or my shell nor how
long it took to crack
that piece of armour...



  1. Wow! So vivid and leading to that killer last line - perfect beginning for a novel :)

  2. That is quite a lot of interesting remembering, Sharon! Time for an autobiography, I think. Smiles.

  3. I love how you survived the first year of marriage - what a whirlwind

  4. This is a fantastic story - the dazzle of the Big Apple, the new marriage, the father in law. And your closing lines about the protective shell and how long it took to crack it really spoke to me.

  5. What a year in NY! Quite a switch in feelings from the hey day of NY to that armor in the airport! Hope it all worked out over time!

  6. Sharon, I had no idea you lived the glam life... a comrade from the NYC scene, but my bigger, headier times were LA-based.

    The idea of entering into a marriage that involves double commutes that never seem to intersect... I'm surprised the marriage survived, and very glad, too. My FIRST mother-in-law spoke to me all the time - with venom in every word. Which is worse: the cold shoulder or the hot frypan thrown at your head? ha ha


  7. Thanks all! This poem was supposed to be a love poem to NYC period. Then--in the way of these things, it took me places I really had no intention of going, especially towards the end--maybe it's because we're preparing to travel east to visit this same father-in-law, now in his mid-nineties and now, quite sweet to me...go figure. It did take almost forty years for him to acknowledge the distance between us and it was something I thought he never would do so it came as a surprise when, after close to a decade, I visited him on my own and after some pleasantries he said, "lotta water under the bridge eh Sharon?" It was more than I ever expected and he did end up telling me he loved me so I figured I got more than I likely was entitled to by then...And I'll tell you Amy, my spouse thought silence was the way you resolved your differences at first. He tried freezing me out when we were engaged and we broke up, then he seemed to forget that after we got married and tried the deep freeze a couple of times then too. I think it was the second time he stopped talking to me for over a week that I told him I wasn't going to stick around the way his mother did for a lifetime of silence so he could either talk to me, fight, or one of us was going to hit the road. It was rocky sometimes but he learned to fight somewhat...and I learned not to be so combative (never physically for either of us, I hasten to add). I guess we were meant to be together...we went out for five years before we got married and we've been married 43 years...yowza...