This is a true story of an endearing, lifelong love affair, born in a most unconventional manner. It is the story of a most remarkable woman. You never heard of her, but maybe you should have. It is the celebration of her remarkable life and spirit and the many trials of her time on earth.
Rising above a modest background, she became a master teacher of stature, principle, and high morals. She guided all of her students with her extraordinary skills to use their natural talents and abilities to prepare them for adulthood. The students started excelling by wanting to please her, and ended by wanting to please themselves. The love affair begins with a school boy’s infatuation with his extraordinary eighth-grade teacher.
Whether she was aware of the admiration of her starry-eyed student is not clear, but there was something about him that made her redouble her efforts in his behalf. There clearly developed magnetism between the two. Always the lady, and professional, the teacher developed a true fondness and bond with the student who had an ever-growing crush on her.
She transformed him from a “C” student to an all “A” student by the time he graduated from her school. After moving to high school, he and his mother were welcomed into the teacher’s large Italian family. The coaching continued. It culminated in Valedictorian status for him at graduation. With time, his infatuation turned to true love, and it became mutual. It was an unorthodox love that might have been misunderstood. It stayed mostly in the shadows for years.
Seven years later, the student finished graduate school and joined the Peace Corps. The teacher could no longer deny her love, and it exploded into an escape and marriage in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Two years of matrimonial magic in Tunisia ensued. They knew nothing of the hidden peril that lurked in their Eden.
Immersed in each others love, they returned from paradise to the reality of surprised family and friends, city riots, inflation, and gas shortages.
Sadly, his beloved wife of only fourteen years developed a series of disfiguring and debilitating brain and spine tumors evidently spawned by a chemical exposure during their service abroad. The tumors forced her to terminate her beloved pursuit of formally teaching children. The next twenty-one years were filled with love, mutual respect, tenderness, and continued preparations.
When their work was nearly completed, it was abruptly ended by a massive stroke resulting in horrible disabilities, and devastation, but also opportunity. Here was a chance for her worshiping husband to care for her as she had cared for him. She was lucid, intelligent, possessed all her memories, deeply loved him, and never had self-pity or complained. Her thoughtful of others before herself increased her husband’s love and allowed him to complete their work and overcome his deteriorating health, and his debilitating and increasing pessimism and depression.
After eight years of courage, she died, leaving a legacy of thousands of lives she positively influenced, and the survival preparations for the hundreds she left behind. Ironically, this was a gift that she had gladly prepared and left for them, knowing that she would never benefit from them herself. Eventually, the husband develops a brain tumor from the same chemical exposure, but his grief lessens as he discovers a new and unexpected love.
While the story is about the unusual lifelong affair of two people in love, it is sprinkled with life observations, advice about the care of each other, the dangers of the health care system, and commentary on the inevitable collapse of western civilization and our nation. But most of all, it is the celebration of the life of a remarkable woman of character and distinction who should inspire and be a role model for all who strive for excellence. It is a story of our times and what he lost and what we all have lost.