When Hilda Met Jeffrey

4 07 2013

It was the last day of my vacation. It began with me being a bridesmaid in my friend Louise Rizzuto (Lee)’s wedding. After that was over, I traveled to visit my sister in Toms River, NJ, then out to northwestern New Jersey to visit my Aunt Emily and Uncle Don, and then out to Long Island to visit friends and family. I was staying at Carolyn Leitgeb’s house (who was now Carolyn Mulderig) in Patchogue. She wanted to take me out to Montauk Point on Long Island to spend the day. When I returned, I needed to go say hello to my foster father and my foster brother Jody. My friend Patty convinced me to go out with her again that evening despite the thousands of miles I had traveled and despite the fact I had averaged about 3 hours of sleep a night during my entire vacation. July 5th my plane was leaving to return me to Houston. Carolyn made strawberry shortcake from scratch and I felt obligated to stay and eat some of that. It was getting really late. My foster brother, Jody, decided to steal my keys. I was chasing him around the yard trying to retrieve them. He eventually gave them to me. Then I picked up Patty, she said she wanted me to meet her boyfriend’s best friend. Patty and I knew each other from Davis Park. Her family would dock their boat next to or very near to our boat where we used to stay the entire summer. I did not want to go out. Patty, however, would not take “no” for an answer.

We were to meet her boyfriend, Larry, and his best friend, Jeff at Mario’s in Setauket. I later found out that we were so late that Jeff was about to leave. They gave us a little longer to get there. When I met him I was very surprised how easy conversation was with him. He seemed very intelligent. Mario’s was closing up and we wanted to continue our conversation. I mentioned that we never got over to Davis Park and I would love to go sit on a beach and listen to the water for a bit. Out at Montauk we were visiting places but the beach was not one of them. He said he knew a place. Patty went with Larry and I followed Jeff to this place on the Long Island Sound.

We sat on the beach. There were others, too, at the beach. In the distance on the water we saw a boat with a headlight just wobbling. This guys runs practically over us screaming, “Hey you guys! It’s the cops, get out of here.” All I could think of is “I cannot go to jail–I have to go home to Houston tomorrow!”  Apparently Jeff took me to a beach that was known for its drug dealers.

I got up and ran. Jeff grabbed my purse which I left behind–the purse with the airline ticket in it–and ran with me. We ran across the parking lot and to our respective cars. But this police car was speeding toward us and I told Jeff we have to stop. Bumbling words came out of my mouth. I told him I was SO sorry. I did not know we were not allowed on the beach. I was from out of town and just wanted to see the water before I left the next day (which was 100% truth). What helped was 1) I had not been drinking; 2) the plates on my car said New Jersey because I flew into Newark. He eventually believed my story and let us go without any tickets (or going to jail). Jeff said he knew some other place we could go continue our conversation. There was a pond near the post office and we could go back there. The police officer followed us the entire time until we pulled up to a house across the street from the post office. As we were walking to this “spot” I got a little panicked that it was very isolated. I did not trust him THAT much so I asked if there was some place else we could go. There was a grassy area in what was like a town square center that had this rock which I sat on and our conversation continued. As the sun was coming up, I realized I needed to get back to Patchogue to pack and get to Newark for my flight.

At the airport I talked to Patty on the pay phone. Larry in the meantime told Jeff that he should send me flowers as soon as I returned home. I honestly thought that evening would be the end of things as so many dates I had in the past. We began talking every night on the phone for several hours. He decided he wanted to come down and visit me and 2-3 weeks later he did. By January of 1991 he moved down here into his own apartment. In July of 1991 he proposed to me; we announced this to his family after his cousin’s wedding in Ohio in August of 1991. Jeff wanted me to meet them before we actually told them. We set the date to get married as October 24, 1992.

Happy Anniversary, Jeff! The Fourth of July may be the day where everyone is celebrating our declared independence from England, the birth of a new nation, but for us, it was the day we both lost some of independence, to become dependent on each other. It gave birth to a lifelong commitment to one another.

Love Languages

14 02 2011

During our 18 years of marriage, my husband and I have read many relationship books to help improve our marriage. One of the books that have had an exceedingly profound impact on our lives was “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. With Valentine’s Day here, I thought I would share what we learned.

Everyone has a love language; you may have a primary and a secondary. Many times, we will try to communicate our love to our partner based on our own love language and then we don’t understand why this person doesn’t feel loved by us. For example, my husband’s love languages are quality time and physical touch. For me, words of affirmation and acts of service are my love languages. When I buy him cards (which would be “words of affirmation–my love language), although he appreciates them, they don’t make him feel deeply loved. When we would quality time together, I was fulfilling his need, however, mine went unnutured. When he let me sleep late without me having to ask, or would tell me how proud he was of me for doing XYZ, my heart swelled. At that moment, I never felt more in love with my husband. That is how you can recognize the differences between the love languages.

My husband and me on our wedding day

My husband and me on our wedding day


After you read the book, you think to yourself, now that just seems too obvious, why didn’t I get this? Recognizing what your love language is and making an effort to do that every day are two very different things.

He also has a chapter for parents and their kids. You often hear parents saying, “I raised them exactly the same way and this one turned out differently from this one.” Likely the one who turned out well was the one whose love language was being met. Let’s say child 1 likes quality time and child 2 likes words of affirmation. If you spend quality time with both of them, child 1 is going to feel loved, but if you never say affirming words to child 2, they will appreciate the quality time, but won’t feel truly loved.

Love Language #1:  Words of Affirmation. These are verbal compliments or words of appreciation, like “You look sharp in that suit.” “You must be the best potato cook in the world. I love those potatoes.” These are encouraging words (how can I help?), kind words, and humble words. If this is your significant other’s language, then help improve your relationship by writing “Words are Important” as a reminder, writing down all the words of affirmation you gave to your spouse and then reviewing it at the end of the week to see how well you have done (or not). If you are clueless as to what to say look in the media and observe people in conversation and write down things people say. Write a love letter, paragraph, or sentence, compliment your significant other in the presence of parents or friends, look for your significant other’s strengths and tell him/her how much your appreciate those strengths, tell your children how great their mother/father is.

Love Language #2:  Quality Time. Go places together, do things together, sit quietly together (not necessarily together but at least in the same room). For example, a father sitting on the floor rolling a ball to his child, the focus is not on the ball, but the child. If the father, however, is talking on the phone, then his attention is diverted and this is not being together. It also can include quality conversation, sharing thoughts, feelings and desires without distractions. If this is your significant other’s language, some suggestions are to ride bikes together and go to a park and watch the ducks, roll on to the rose gardens, find out what each other’s favorites plants are and why. Surprise your significant other with an impromptu lunch, ask him/her what their favorite activity is and join her/him in this activity and learn more about it. Ask questions “Who was your best and worst teacher at school and why? and other questions like that. Have a picnic in the living room and talk like you did when you were dating.

Love Language #3:  Receiving Gifts. Gifts must be purchased, found or made. Some gifts are expensive, others are free. If this is your significant other’s language, you could stop along the roadside and pick a bouquet of wildflowers or you can make a card. There is also the gift of self.

Love Language #4: Acts of Service. This is when your significant other does things for you without having to be asked. If this is your significant other’s language, you should ask what four things that you could do that would make her/him feel loved. If they are within reason to you, then you should do them with joy and with love, not done out of fear, guilt or resentment.

Love Language #5: Physical Touch. This would include holding hands, kissing, embracing, etc. Obviously, if this is your loved one’s love language, you need to do more of it. However, the author cautions not to think that a desire to have sex means your love language is physical.

To help you figure out what they are, he says to ask yourself these questions:

1. What does your significant other do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply. The opposite of what hurts you is probably your love language.

2. What have you most often requested of your significant other? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.

3. Finally, in what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.

What is/are your love language(s)?