VALENTINE’S DAY STORY REMIX: I pulled this post from a few years ago and decided to update the pictures and cartoons and rerun it because I still feel the same way about my man after all these years. Enjoy!
Do you know what I’ve discovered about this Valentine’s Day? I got struck by Cupid’s arrow some 48 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.
My husband 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.
The trial judge of Virginia (Judge Leon Bazile) who leveled the inhuman judgment against the Lovings issued this statement in defense of his ruling:
“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 draconian 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 exhausted from thirst (I suppose I’d have to ask her)? Did the two of them share uproarious laughter over something innocuous that only resonates with two hearts connected in seeing life through the same kaleidoscope? Was she the first well-spring of joy on Judge Bazile’s mind when he awoke most mornings and the last one he longingly kissed goodnight? Had they traveled to Hell and back having been beaten, tossed, and battered by this world and still come out loving each other—loving deeper than when they first began? Because, you see, my husband and I have experienced that type of deep, deep love for forty-two years.
When I see the signs of the racists back in the day who equated the mixing of the races to communism, or heralding the Antichrist’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 how many of them sat at dinner tables and never uttered one word of conversation to each other beyond an occasional grunt or two because they had 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 archival picture from the 60s who were against interracial love got marriage so perfectly that they can now sit at the right hand of God and judge all others outside of their spectrum.
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 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!”
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: “Ain’t nothin’ 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 most times when people of any race stare at this old couple deeply loving one another in 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.
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 (well… most things–annotation, mine),
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
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
Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a humorist who is an award-winning voice-over performer. In 2011, she created the blog, “How the Hell Did I End Up Here” which features mostly satirical posts that have thousands of readers around the world—although she was recently banned in Pakistan (for real!). Tomczyk’s three books were featured in a recent book festival: “Monsters’ Throwdown,” “Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles—Podcasts to my Miseducated Self.” Currently in her 70s and living life like it is freakin’ golden, she is a consummate storyteller and much sought-after motivational speaker. If you don’t believe me, just ask her!
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