24 November 2012

False step

How Reese Peery and Lois Parker came to marry one another Susan does not know.  Their marriage may have taken place as late as the beginning of 1914, although it seems possible that it would have been earlier.  Reese would have been 31 then, Lois 27.  We suppose - and statistics may support the idea - that people tended to marry young 'back then.'  Sue's father - Edwin Parker Peery - was born 16 October, 1914.  There is no reason to doubt - and, with the knowledge we have of Lolo's character and beliefs, every reason to believe - that they were married more than nine months before that.

But beliefs and character may have been at the root of their separation.  'Parker' (as he was always known) was born - and never knew his father.  Sue does not know when Reese and Lolo were divorced, but from her memories, she is sure that it was when her father was still an infant.

One fact of the world they lived in is that scandalous facts - and divorce was certainly a scandal - were simply not spoken about.  One might be forgiven for thinking that a little more reticence about such things would not go amiss today; nevertheless, the greater openness of human relationships since, perhaps, the latter part of the Twentieth Century, might have been a good thing.

The fact is that Lolo appears simply not to have known that her son never met his father.  Sometime after Lolo's death (in 1983) Parker told Sue - perhaps by letter? - that Lolo had told him she had always assumed he had been in contact with his father - and simply chose not to talk with her about it.  Perhaps it might be upsetting to do so.

Parker's business through most of his life was in advertising.  He had an advertising business that took him, at times, all over the United States, and specifically, quite regularly, to various parts of California.

And Reese had, apparently, moved to California.  He had at least one brother and one sister - and Parker had, in fact, been in the habit of visiting them from time to time.  In 1962, Sue - about 16 years old - travelled (on the coach) to California, to visit her mother's relations.  And on this trip she visited a man who must have been Reese's brother: George Peery.  Sue's father told her that he himself had, more than once, visited George, and a woman, who might have been a sister, or perhaps a daughter or niece.

The matter is one of some poignancy.  One wonders what Parker's life would have been like had he had his father at home.  Better?  Worse?  Different, and perhaps different in important ways, one may be sure.

But, though Sue never knew her paternal grandfather, her paternal grandmother was of very great importance in her life.  Lolo may have been, in some ways, one of the very most important influences on her.

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