LC Van Savage
No matter how one may deny it, when
February 14th rolls around, the hardest of
hearts turn to over-cooked oatmeal, and we
get all weepy and mushy around chocolate and
So do I. I’m a sucker for holidays,
love, chocolate and gush; all reminders of
my marriage to The Great Mongo.
When I first saw him in 1957 across
a crowded room at a disgusting, loud, sticky
blow-out KDR fraternity party at Lafayette
College, we were both 19, I looked at him
and literally exhaled. Bingo. He was it. I
knew. Mongo required just the teensiest bit
of convincing, but in time our hearts were
one, and he was blissfully conquered.
While his parents were good
natured, good people and good to me, alas my
parents were against Mongo’s and my
marrying, made sport of my tiny engagement
ring, dissed Mongo, and announced that while
there was breath in their bodies, there
would be no wedding footed by them,
especially to a poor guy from Scranton PA.
There was naught to do but elope, so
elope we did one fine, beautiful day in
August on the 2nd in 1959. With our rapidly
running-out-of-time marriage license, we
found a Justice of the Peace in Newtown, PA,
named Lawrence Milnor. His sweet wife went
to her garden and rolled some of her best
roses in tinfoil for my wedding bouquet. I
still have it. It was the most beautiful of
I was at that time living in Greenwich
Village with 2 college chums, and having
nowhere else to go, we went to my miniscule
apartment. My roommates were not terribly
keen on having a new roomie, especially a 6”
4” newly graduated unemployed man of
Lithuanian descent, even though they liked
him a lot. So we had no choice but to
gather our stuff and move to the roof. It
was hot up there, mosquitoes lived there
too, but the view was wonderful and we were
newly married and in love, so for us it was
Until the police came one moonlit
night and advised us that our bedding on the
gravel-covered roof was angering the people
below who had trouble sleeping through our
joyful activities, so we hauled everything
up a narrow ladder to the top of an elevator
shaft where the mosquitoes were more
plentiful, the view better and the edging
around that shaft about 4 inches high.
There we were, top of the world, in grave
danger of rolling off, our bedding getting
soaked in summer rains. We didn’t care.
My roommates allowed us to come down to
get ready for work after they’d left. By
that time Mongo had gotten himself employed,
I already was and so we lived like that
until we finally had to tell the parents of
our elopement, and Mongo had to go to Fort
Sam Houston and then Landstuhl, Germany as a
Second Lieutenant in the Medical Service
Corps. We had a marvelous time there. Paris
was 7 hours away, Munich was four. The
memories of our times there are rich and
sweet. It was while we were in Germany that
we brought sons Erick and Mark into the
world and a few years later, in New Jersey
we welcomed Paul. We were complete.
And so it goes. Went. Is. Running
off with Mongo on August 2nd, 1959 was the
most intelligent decision of my life. Oh,
and having the boys too. They all married
well, to women who are good friends who have
presented us with six fabulous
And Mongo and I get to live in Maine.
Could things get much better than this? No
And so today, 50 years since we met and I
exhaled, I’m still living in a Valentine
thanks to the kindness of the ever good
Mongo and the Universe.
Happy Valentine’s Day,
I love you.
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