If this parachute malfunctions

My grandparents met in their small Pennsylvania town when my grandpa was 17 and my grandma was 16-years-old. By the time he was 18, my grandpa was serving in Europe at the end of World War II. He came back and married the woman he loved, this young man who did not complete 8th grade and this girl who had only finished part of high school. They moved to New York and he went to work for General Motors, while she got a job packing parachutes into their cases. They would move again, to California, and they would raise a family of eight children, 18 grandchildren, and, so far, six great-grandchildren, including my dad and myself.

She sat on his side of their bed, on the day of his funeral, patting the empty bed and crying silently. This was 60 years after he returned home from the war.

I grow angry with those who question if teenagers can be in love. Not because it offends me as an 18-year-old who loves her boyfriend, but because it says my grandmother and grandfather had nothing more than “infatuation” that, luckily, turned into love. Those who study human emotions and behavior do not put a time-frame on love. Those who understand people do not question my grandparents’ love.

You do not know anything about love if you think that all I have or that all they had was infatuation. It is you who has never known love. Love is not a function of age, it is not a cosmic happenstance, it is not a gamble. If love is true, it is forever, with no go backs. I believe that everyone of us, regardless of age, knows when this is the case and we know that we will never get a case of “buyer’s remorse.” We know this at 16 and we know this at 60. Claiming otherwise bastardizes what love is, relegating it to a function of time, proximity, and fortune. You may have had second thoughts about that iPad, but you will come to love it over time. Love is no shiny trinket. My grandma may or may not have been joking when she told of putting notes in those parachutes.


When love is real, don’t count on a refund and don’t believe that there is an age-limit for purchase.


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