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January 2022

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I’ll never forget the first time I heard my mother say to my father, “Nick, I’m in love with another man.” Mom was sitting on the glider on our front porch, her cornflower blue eyes gleaming with a fervor that made her seem only partially of this world.


It was summer. I remember that because I had been sitting on the porch railing, plucking honeysuckle blossoms from the vine that curled around the porch post, and I was sucking out the honeysuckle nectar.


The sun was closing up shop for the evening, giving just enough light for Daddy to finish reading the Pottsville newspaper. Mom said it again, “Nick, I’m in love with another man.” Daddy said nothing. Mom was a beautiful woman, inside and out, who was devoted to her husband and children and it seemed impossible that she could be in love with a man that wasn’t our Daddy.


My older sister, absorbed in a comic book, did not react to Mom’s words. How could she not have heard?! Helen was three years older than I, so surely she would know what it meant for Mom to be in love with another man. Was this a first hint that Mom and Daddy would get divorced? Almost no one in my school had parents who divorced. This happened sometime in the mid-1940s and it seemed like only rich people and celebrities got divorced.


My baby brother continued playing with his toy cars on the porch railing. But he wouldn’t have known what it meant for Mom to be in love with another man. I knew—and it knocked me out of my safe and happy-childhood cocoon.
How could this be? I never had to count my blessings: I just knew in my bones that Mom and Daddy loved each other and us. It was a subtle kind of love; no overt, “I love you,” as we say today when we end a phone call. It was just always there: a perpetual security blanket of family love enveloping me.


Again Mom said, “Nick, I’m in love with another man.”


This time Daddy spoke. “Yes, I know, Anna. You in love with Jesus,” he said in his broken English without looking up from his newspaper. I looked over at Mom and noticed her one hand was busy as usual: fingering her rosary beads as she always did when she wasn’t cooking or washing clothes or picking huckleberries with us on the mountain.


Oh, thank God! It’s just Jesus.


Traducción de Teresa Dovalpage


“Nick, estoy enamorada de otro hombre”

Nunca olvidaré la primera vez que escuché a mi madre decirle a mi padre: “Nick, estoy enamorada de otro hombre.” Mamá estaba sentada en el sillón del portal. Sus ojos, de un azul intenso, brillaban con un fervor que la hacía parecer solo parcialmente de este mundo.


Era verano. Lo recuerdo porque había estado sentada en la barandilla del portal arrancando las flores de madreselva de la vid que se enroscaba alrededor de un poste y chupando el néctar.


El sol comenzaba a ponerse, dando solo la claridad suficiente para que Papá terminara de leer el periódico de Pottsville. Mamá volvió a decir: “Nick, estoy enamorada de otro hombre.” Papá no dijo nada. Mamá era una mujer hermosa, por dentro y por fuera, que se dedicaba a su esposo e hijos y parecía imposible que pudiera estar enamorada de un hombre que no fuera nuestro Papá.


Mi hermana mayor, muy interesada en la lectura de un cómic, no reaccionó a las palabras de Mamá. ¡¿Cómo pudo no haberlas escuchado?! Helen era tres años mayor que yo, así que seguramente sabría lo que significaba que Mamá estuviera enamorada de otro hombre. ¿Sería aquello un primer indicio de que Mamá y Papá se divorciarían? Casi nadie en mi escuela tenía padres divorciados. Esto sucedía a mediados de la década de 1940, cuando parecía que solamente los ricos y las celebridades se divorciaban.


Mi hermano menor siguió jugando con sus coches de juguete en la barandilla del portal. Pero él no habría sabido lo que significaba que Mamá estuviera enamorada de otro hombre. Yo sí lo sabía —y el saberlo me rompió el capullo seguro de una infancia feliz.


¿Cómo podría suceder algo así? Nunca tuve que ponerme a pensar en cuánta suerte tenía: sabía perfectamente que Mamá y Papá se querían y nos querían a nosotros. Era un tipo de amor sutil; no había muchos “te quiero” como decimos hoy día incluso al terminar una llamada telefónica. Pero siempre estaba ahí: una eterna manta de seguridad de amor familiar que me envolvía.


Una vez más, mamá dijo: “Nick, estoy enamorada de otro hombre.”


Esta vez Papá habló. “Sí, ya lo sé, Anna. Estás enamorada de Jesús,” dijo en su medio inglés sin levantar la vista del periódico.Miré a Mamá y noté que tenía una mano ocupada, como de costumbre: tocaba el rosario como hacía cuando no estaba cocinando, lavando ropa o recogiendo arándanos con nosotros en la montaña.


¡Oh, gracias a Dios! Se trata solo de Jesús.


Traducción de Teresa Dovalpage

Author

  • Ellen Wood, born in 1936, is a prizewinning author, columnist and former management executive. After her youngest child began school, Ellen started an in-house ad agency and won 16 awards for annual report and advertising excellence, including 4 national awards. Five years after her mother died of Alzheimer’s, Ellen experienced early symptoms (she has the gene, APO-e4). At 68 she developed a program of mind/body/spirit techniques that proved so successful, she wrote and published “Think and Grow Young,” followed by “Joy! Joy! Joy!” (now retitled “The Secret Method for Growing Younger,” Volumes 1 and 2) and gave inspirational speeches. Since 2018 Ellen has been the ad agency for NorthStar Tire and Auto in Questa, NM. Ellen started painting in November of 2020, having dabbled at it in her 20s, and gave herself a new name: Maruška, her father’s middle name. She is overjoyed to be part of a big, loving, kindhearted family. You can find her paintings at www.northernnewmexicoartists.com/ellen-wood