Grace and Ernest

Grace and I met in the Fall of 1955. I was a senior in anthropology and she was the department secretary. She was warm and open and had a lovely smile. I fell in love with her almost instantly.

We went to see Mr. Hulot’s Holiday for a first date, enjoying Jacques Tati’s wry slapstick in this comedy with very little dialogue. We’ve watched it many times since. (A dvd of it arrived the day before Grace died.)

On Valentine’s day I proposed marriage, after a number of friends and my mother advised me to stick with my plan for graduate work instead. My mother had even warned Grace that I would likely die at an early age or become blind because of my diabetes. Grace just said yes to my proposal.


For now I’ll not write a decade by decade walk through of Grace’s marriage to me. But there is one period that is worth covering. In the late 60s and early 70s we went through a dance that led to our separation for a year. It’s an archetype of what many couples went through then. The male chauvinism I displayed forty years ago appears too often today, even in the Republicans’ policies on women’s role and freedoms. Grace’s journals from that time display a remarkable maturity.  see next post

One thought on “Grace and Ernest”

  1. I am a descendant of William O’Rielly, originally of the Beresford area and a descendant of Patrick, who apparently did not keep in touch with your branch. He had a livery business is Fort Pierre, South Dakota. His daughter Nellie (Mary Ellen) was my grandmother. She married G.G. Creager and lived in Fort Pierre. My mother Hazel’s siblings were Ethel (died young), Lawrence, William, Walter, and Ann.

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