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“Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby . . . .”

09 Feb

Do you know what I’ve discovered about this Valentine’s Day?  I got struck by Cupid’s arrow some 41 years ago and it was true love—go figure!   I am black, and he is white.  We met 7 years after the Supreme Court struck down the miscegenation laws across America via Loving vs Virginia.  We married 12 years after interracial marriage became legal in the United States.  (But even though the anti-miscegenation laws took effect in 1967, it took South Carolina until 1998 and Alabama until 2000 to get their acts together—and they did it by a mere 62% (SC) and 59% (AL) of the voters.)  Oh well, good thing WW (white and wonderful) and I went on about the business of building our lives and being outrageously happy without waiting for the naysayers and the racists to give us permission to love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WW and The Blogger loving life together when they were young

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WW and our babes (mutual admiration society)

WW and I owe a great deal of gratitude to Mildred and Richard Loving.  God knew what he was doing when he allowed the burden of overturning the miscegenation laws in America to be placed upon their backs.  They were simple country people who had grown up together and fallen in love.  They weren’t interested in brandishing a cause—they just loved each other.   When they married in DC where interracial unions were legal, they came back to their home in Virginia to start their lives together.  I have often tried to imagine what it was like when the white sheriff and his two deputies broke into the Loving’s home in the middle of the night while they were sleeping and dragged them out of their bed and put them in separate jail cells—tormenting Mrs. Loving with the threat of rape from other prisoners.  They pled guilty to “breaking the law” and were sentenced to one year in jail, but it was suspended for 25 years if they agreed to leave Virginia and never return together— leaving behind their home, their land, their parents, their friends, and their relatives.

Richard and Mildred Loving

Mildred and Richard Loving courtesy of http://www.laprogressive.com/prop-8-jim-crow-nuremberg-and-other-unjust-laws/

The trial judge of Virginia (Judge Leon Bazile) issued the following statement when asked to reconsider his judgment against the Lovings:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

When I read Judge Bazile’s statement, I wondered what type of marriage he had.  Was he happy?  Did he touch the soul of his wife like a deer panting after running rivers when it is with thirst?  Because, you see, WW and I have experienced that type of deep, deep love.  When I see the signs of the racists who equated the mixing of the races to communism or heralding the Anti-Christ’s reign of terror down on our country, it causes me to ponder how many of these men beat their wives, or how many of these people divorced each other, or even how many lived in cold silence as they forced themselves to simply co-exist until the end of their days?  How many of them listen for the garage door to open and feel a rush of excitement that their man or their woman has come home to them at the end of another day after 34 years?  How many of them go to dinner and never utter one word of conversation to each other because they have nothing in common?  Because you see, WW and I can’t shut up from sharing what we’ve experienced while we’ve been apart because we’re each other’s best friend and best listener.  We love many of the same things, and what we don’t love, we pretend that we do.  I wonder if the people in the picture below got marriage so perfect that they can now sit at the right hand of God and judge all others outside of their spectrum.

Race Mixing

Civil Rights Image Archives

It took the Lovings nine years to win their case to stay a married couple in Virginia.  In 1967 they prevailed and Chief Justice Warren issued this statement:

“’Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.’

The Supreme Court condemned Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law as ‘designed to maintain White supremacy.’”—Wikipedia

***

The most romantic words I’ve ever heard were from the lips of Richard Loving on the HBO special just before the Supreme Court ruling when his lawyer asked if he had any message for the judges:

“Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife!”

Interracial Marriage cartoon Kevin Sters

Kevin Siers/Cartoonist:  www.charlotteobserver.com

I am discovering what I’ve always known:  I love my husband, and I can’t imagine having lived life without him.  I would be half the person I am today.  Marvin Gaye was right when he sang:  “There ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby . . .” In the beginning of our marriage, people used to stare at us all the time and occasionally make cracks about our interracial status (“hey Zebras”).  But now when people of any race stare at this old couple quickly scooting towards our 70’s, they often ask how long we’ve been married, gasp at the answer, and then ask us our secret.  We used to throw two-word one-liners at them:  “it’s communication, it’s respect, it’s laughter, it’s prayer. . .”  But now we just say it is love, and the definition is I Corinthians 13:4-8.

LOVE

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

***

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, MY LUV!

THANK YOU RICHARD AND MILDRED LOVING—I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO CHAT WITH YOU IN HEAVEN!

I love You allvoices dot com

www.wallpapermania.eu

QUOTES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

“Love is no game! It is no flowery softness! It is hard work-a quest that never ends. It demands everything from you-especially the truth. Only then does it yield rewards. -Cupid”Rick Riordan, The House of Hades

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”—Charles M. Schulz

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”—Thomas Merton Author and Husband

Let us grow old together because living well is the best revenge!

More about how WW and I met in my new book, Monsters’ Throwdown at Amazon and Kindle

REFERENCES

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/us/06loving.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
26 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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26 responses to ““Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby . . . .”

  1. imagesbytdashfield

    February 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Alright you two – get a room! hehehe Yes indeedy! Living well is the best revenge…and way to live anyway.

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Hi TD. Just trying to keep up with you and your cutie.:) I told WW that you two had beat us back to the Cayman Islands, and that he needed to get his romantic getaways up to par. He says he’s got a couple of tricks up his sleeve, but I’ll just have to be patient. Hum . . .

       
      • imagesbytdashfield

        February 21, 2014 at 5:54 pm

        I am sure he does! Our last getaway was to Key West. Not sure where we will end up next other than a Comic-Con 🙂

         
  2. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    February 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    You’re adorable together!

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Ronnie: You’re so sweet! All the best!

       
  3. Kimberly

    February 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Wow that really touched my heart. What a powerful message to this world, that TRUE LOVE EXISTS. I am certain that many have given up. I like how you defined love. It so starkly contrasts the ravaged version that many of us know all so well as ‘love’. I’ve been trying to act in the kind of love I want to recieve from another and who knows maybe someday I will come across my “forever”. Well done!

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Kimberly. Somehow I know you will come across your “forever.” Don’t you worry! 🙂

       
  4. Elyse

    February 9, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Well said. And cheers to the Lovings. Loving whom you love is the best recipe for happiness. And who are these folks who try to keep love apart? Your description of them was right on!

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks Elyse. Isn’t it amazing that others who have never experienced true love will rail against those who have just because they are different? So awful.

       
  5. composerinthegarden

    February 10, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Beautifully said, as always, Eleanor. Now Marvin Gaye will be in my head all day (not a bad thing). Happy Valentines Day to you & WW!

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Lynn. Happy belated Valentine’s Day to you and yours as well. Just left a note welcoming you back from sabbatical. I’ve missed you.

       
  6. Let's CUT the Crap!

    February 10, 2014 at 8:13 am

    It warms my heart whenever I hear a true love story. Yours makes me smile.Happy Valentine’s Day everyday for another 100 years. 😀

     
  7. sondramsmith

    February 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I will never understand why as an educated society, we still cling to myths, misconceptions and such prejudice. Well said E!

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      I know, Sondra. It makes me weary. But we must fight on. All the best, my friend.

       
  8. Kirsten

    February 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Happy Valentine’s Day, you two! Hope we can have a double date soon. Mwah!

     
  9. Hudson Howl

    February 11, 2014 at 12:19 am

    ‘E’, me thinks my timing for returning to commenting could not be better.

    Love! OOH LA LA – Amour, une chose beaucoup splendide.

    As I read the timeline of this ‘magnifique’ story of Mrs. & Mr Loving and Mrs. & Mr.Tomczyk, am reminded how connected I am to both stories. In 1967, I was eight years old. Yet I remember listening to the coverage of the courts’ decisions on CBC radio. At such a young age it opened my eyes to just how wrong the adult world could be. That I needed to be vigilant, to question everything, to make up my own mind as to what is truly right and good , as well as to what is obviously wrong and destructive. You don’t have to be a scholar or philosopher to embrace such things as equality and human rights. You just have to see with your heart, as well as mind.

    I suppose my point is this. Love should never be dangerous. But even when love is dangerous, it has held it together and changed the mindset of a generation. We now have governments with elected officials, who when voting on laws pertaining to gay rights to women’s’ rights must vote on the merits of the law based on equality. Regardless, for example, if they’re Roman Catholic. And we owe it all to love……Amour, une chose beaucoup splendide.

    A beautiful read, ‘E’. Just like them Cinnamon Red Candy Hearts; shweet but pack’n heat.

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks Hudson. So glad to have you back. Your comments are poetry. I read them several times before I reply, and they always touch my heart. Something tells me that you have loved deeply and been deeply loved. All the best, my friend.

       
      • Hudson Howl

        February 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm

        Going deep is the only way to love. When you cannot find the words to express it, then you know you found it. Love will set you free indeed.

         
  10. julieehaynes

    February 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Happy Valentines Day to a truly wonderful couple! God’s blessings for many more wonderful years together!

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Juliee: Thanks so much for such a lovely comment and blessing. Hope to see you around these parts again soon. All the best.

       
  11. Valentine Logar

    February 12, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I truly love the two of you.

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Val . . . and we you. Take care, my friend.

       
  12. talesfromthemotherland

    February 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I feel the same way I did last year, when you wrote about your marriage… deeply touched. I am incredibly shocked to learn that interracial marriage was illegal as recently as 2000; it’s unreal! I think so many white Americans are naive, or ignorant, as I am about this topic. Wow.

     
    • etomczyk

      February 21, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Dawn. Isn’t it amazing at the hurdles “haters” often throw in our way. And when I say our, I mean all peoples–all genders. It just makes me sick. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without my husband, and yet there were those who tried to stop it! There must be a special place in Hell for people like that. Thanks or stopping by.

       

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