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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

(3) ED SAID HE'D LIKE TO GO UPSTAIRS AND CUDDLE.

October 7, 1960
     Last night Ed and I had dinner with the Hills at the Lighthouse.  As I wanted to see Victor Borge’s show at 9:30, I hustled our friends through their coffee. We got back to the Hills’ house just in time to turn on the set and turn off the lights.  A few minutes later I was called to the phone.  It was Tim, who said he would be coming home this weekend, could I meet him at Station 128?
     “It was Timmy, wasn’t it,” Ed said when I returned.
     “Yes,” I said, rejoining him on the sofa.
     “You see, Edgar, what’d I tell—“ Ed broke off and swore roundly.  I was surprised to find that he was swearing at me.    
      “Well, for heaven’s sake, what did I do?”
     “You spilled crème de menthe all over my trousers, clumsy!”
     “What crème de menthe?  I peered through the flickering TV gloom. “You didn’t have any crème de menthe when I went to the telephone.”
     “I made him one,” Edgar said.
     “What did you plop down like that for?” Ed snapped.  
     “I did not plop down!  Anyway, it serves you right, you’ve obviously had enough to drink.  Goodbye, I’m going home.”
     “So am I!”
     “Oh, please don’t go,” Edgar interjected hospitably.
     But we flounced out, one behind the other like a couple of feuding 10-year-olds, leaving Marguerite and the baby-sitter, who had been chatting in the other room, staring after us with their mouths open.
     When we got home, Ed marched into the playroom to watch Victor, I marched upstairs to watch Victor.
     “Victor Borge’s on,” Vonnie informed me from my bed, pointing to the TV.
     “I know,” I said, plopping down beside her.  “We were watching him at the Hills.”
     The telephone rang.  It was Edgar.  “Do me a favor,” he said.  “Don’t give him a hard time.”
     “I’m not giving him a hard time, I’m just not speaking to him.  He’s downstairs watching TV and I’m upstairs watching TV.”
     Edgar laughed.
     “I wouldn’t dream of giving him a hard time until the program is over,” I said.
     Edgar said he didn’t blame me for being offended, but I must remember that my husband was under a great deal of pressure all the time.   “He’s impatient and hot-tempered, but he really doesn’t mean to be unkind.  Be a good girl and be nice to him; he’s my friend.”
     “All right,” I said, beginning to melt.
     “Go downstairs and watch your program and forgive him, all right?”
     “All right.”  So I did what he suggested and when I sat down beside Ed, he said with no sign of penitence, “I forgive you.”
December 12, 1960
     A northeast blizzard rattled the house during the night. Ed started for work and got stuck in Quincy along with hundreds of other stranded motorists. He spent the day sitting in a nearby drugstore and has just phoned to say he’s going to set out to the Marshes’ house—half an hour’s walk, he figures. It is bitterly cold out, so I’m worried about him.
     While I was having dinner with Mom and Kathryn, I reported that the man of the house was walking through the storm to the Marshes’. I added that I wouldn’t be worried if it weren’t so cold.
     “The biggest danger is stepping on live wires in the dark,” said Kathryn.
     I hadn’t thought of that, but now I could think of nothing else. At last Ed called. He had reached the Marshes’ house safely, having run all the way, he said, to keep his feet from freezing.
     I was taking a shower a little before nine when Vonnie tapped on the door and said her father was on the phone. I wrapped a towel around me and dripped downstairs to talk to him. (Mom was sitting beside our bedroom phone, watching TV—the downstairs sets weren’t working.) Ed said he missed me; more so than when he was out of town because we were so frustratingly close to each other. He’d talked to the local police and learned the roads in Quincy were fairly navigable. He repeated that he missed me. He told me not to do anything foolish like trying to get him . . . Marion had a spare bed.
     “Suppose I got stuck,” I said.
     “Yes, you might. You just stay put, don’t try to come after me.”
     “If the situation were reversed, you’d come after me,” I said.
     “I’m s big strong man, and you’re a silly, weak, helpless, lovable female.”
     Once again he urged me not to do anything foolish, and I hung up convinced that something foolish was what he wanted me to do.
     I bundled up, put on my boots, and hurried outdoors. A huge drift covered the front porch and there was a ten-inch layer of snow on the car. The window on the driver’s side was open an inch, so I found the seat occupied by an abominable snowman. Even the steering wheel and the dashboard were covered with snow.
     I finally got going but bogged down a few yards from the end of the driveway. When I tried the back-and-forward-dash technique, the car began to act strangely, stalling and dimming its lights when I pressed on the starter.
     I had to give up, but no one could say I didn’t try to do something foolish.
December 14, 1960
     Ed came home last night in a raunchy mood after being blizzarded in at the Marshes.’ He went to refresh his drink during a commercial and called out matter-of-factly from the bar that as soon as the movie we were watching, "Harvey," was over, he’d like to go upstairs and cuddle. I flinched, not because I don’t like cuddling, but because I knew Mom was watching TV in the playroom, within easier hearing distance of his proposition than I was.
     “Shh, not in front of Mother!” I whispered with a frown, as he returned to the living room.
     “Of course not!” he said, looking shocked. “Upstairs in bed was what I had in mind.”
     I wigwagged desperately in the direction of the playroom. Ed stopped stirring his drink and asked me with an air of mystification what I was doing—thumbing a ride or something?
     By this time I was sure Mother was finding Ed much more interesting to listen to than Harvey. To express my mortification, I had a mild seizure, which involved sinking down in my chair until I was almost horizontal, flinging my arms wide, and rolling my eyes at the ceiling.
     “That’s it!” Ed cried. “Now you’ve got the idea!”

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