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The seed of love is born….


Wedding in Paris, 1963


When I was a young teen and becoming interested in boys, I remember meeting Mamie and Pépère Martin, a couple whose daughter had befriended my mother when visiting of France for the very first time early in the sixties.

By the time I met Mamie and Pépère, we were living in France after spending my childhood in Chile (where life seemed fairly idyllic by normal American standards.)  Growing up privileged, protected, the daughter of a civil servant for the United Nations, those early years were full with adventure, exotic experiences and tremendous opportunities in a country that was rich with hope and change under the care of, then, President Salvador Allende.

The beginning of my understanding around relationship was established then fueled by the “romantic” story of my parents meeting which had led to their marriage in Paris.  Having met while my mother was taking a trip of Europe with her girlfriend –  She, the American tourist;  He, the tour guide – they fell in love.   It was the stuff of story books.

The sense of romanticism was further solidified as my parents, in this beautiful country of Chile, had the desire, the freedom and the means to afford adventures and play – trekking across the Andes into Argentina by car, catching piranha in the Amazon with bits of cheese, renting homes with UN friends on the Pacific for family vacations, painting parties in the garden in Santiago…   The memories of my parents were of fun, excitement and of a desire to be with one another as they as they both played in and discovered, what was then, fairly uncharted land.

By the time we reached Europe in my pre-teen years, my parent’s sense of “grande aventure” had been replaced by an unspoken and growing tension, and by dark and heavy moments of silence.  The anger my mother had taken out on us as young children to discipline, became a venomous rage she unleashed upon us as the foundation of my parent’s marriage crumbled with deception.

It is this memory and understanding of relationship I held most acutely in my mind as I moved into some of my own with the understanding that, when push came to shove love no longer held court.  Its flames, once extinguished, could never be relit.  And yet, one stayed, captive.  What remained? Resentment and unexpressed anger.  It was just something one had to accept, quietly (It was a theme that would play itself over and over again in my own relationships.)

It was at approximately this uncertain time in my youth that I remember meeting Mamie and Pépère Martin myself for the first time.  At that point, they had been married for close to sixty years.  I had never met a couple like them.  I had never seen love like it.  I didn’t know such depth of love existed.  I was smitten by them immediately.

Unbeknownst to me then, their relationship was to become a model and a beacon for me as I clumsily floundered in partnerings of my own, and sought to create the kind of deep, respectful, playful love I had witnessed in that elderly couple.

But more on that next week….

In love, service and pleasure,

Joelle Lydon

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