How Mary Met Her Husband - John Grazel


Mary was now working for Dr. Rudder and happy with her new position. They were kind, and she was paid well. After purchasing her first pair of GIRLS shoes, she bought two lovely dresses. We were very proud of Mary and her good fortune, --possibly a bit envious. I was 11 at the time and still young enough to fantasize that in time, I too would come upon good fortune.

Mary stayed with the Rudders and had her own bedroom. This alone was a luxury but she also had store-bought lace curtains, shiny dark wooden furniture, and a large round mirror. The coverlet on her bed was of satin. I touched and petted it regularly on my visits to see her.

Mary kept the Rudder house very clean She no longer had to contend with a host of small dirty faces and a kitchen table constantly laden with dirty dishes bread and peanut butter.

As for Gus Mostick, Mary never did date him again and a year later he married a Slovak girl from Brooklyn. Ma won that round, but the relationship between Ma and Mary was never quite the same. I'm not quite sure that Ma was aware of the change. She was still determined that Mary should marry a good polish man and definitely a Catholic.

Mr. Walchek, who was Polish and married, was our meat man. He came to the patch with his store on wheels two times weekly. Mother always talked to him in polish, "Gus Mostick--it was no good. Mary needs to meet a nice Polish man..There are no nice Polish men in Morea. I'm afraid she will start dating one of those Greek boys again.” Ma was determined. "Do you know any nice Polish men?”

I was with Ma at the time and I just blinked in disbelief. Mary would not appreciate Ma's interference.

Mr. Walchek was about 45 years of age, and had several daughters of his own. He could sympathize with Ma. ''You're right Antoinette they need to marry their own, and I do know a good man. His parents go to the Polish church in Mahanoy City. This is a good family. Allow me to bring him to meet you and your daughter. I know he will be pleased to meets Mary, and Antoinette, I'm sure you and your husband will like John. John Grazel is his name. I will have him call upon you and your family this Saturday.”

Ma couldn't wait to tell Pa and Grandma, and of course Mary.

Everyone was excited, but not Mary! She was reluctant, but she did agree to meet John Grazel.

Mary was wearing one of her new store bought dresses and looked beautiful. Her chestnut brown hair was braided and encircled her head. Her face sparkled despite a suppressed state of resentment. I wore one of Mary's hand me down blouses and skirts. My younger sister, Margaret, and I tried to tidy the house. The table was cleared and the kids belongings were out of sight. They were bathed and implored (commanded ) to behave. My grandmother and older brothers were also present. It was most important to make a good impression!

John Grazel came as was arranged. A friend accompanied him-- probably to bolster his courage. Perhaps I was fantasizing again but I was certain that even from the beginning, John liked Mary. He was of medium height and build. A nice looking man who was soft spoken, but outgoing. He made us feel at ease. Of course, Ma and Pa were also doing their best to be friendly while still seeking additional information as to where he worked, where his father worked etc..The fact that he played the accordion and had his own band was an extra plus. In the absence of radios and television, live music played a great roll in the lives of the miners. A talented accordionist was always in demand.

Mary and John, who was 26 and 10 years older than Mary, left to sit on the porch in order to become better acquainted. The rest of our family continued talking with his friend Joseph. Ma made some coffees and we had a coffee cake that Grandmother had prepared for the occasion. These were served when Mary and John returned a half hour later. John appealed quite happy. Even Mary looked more relaxed.

After our refreshments, John got up from his chair, looked at Mary very intently and proposed to Mary on the spot. This was more than we all anticipated, and if we were surprised--we were even more so when Mary said yes. There was a moment of dead silenced and then a grappling for words as our family tried to contend with this sudden development. Ma was shocked!

John made arrangements to return the following week to plan the wedding.

It was now Ma's turn to be upset. When they left she turned to Mary. ''What are you doing? You need to give yourself some time. How do you know what kind of a man he is?"

Mary was ready, “Ma it looked like you wanted to get rid of me, so now you will be rid of me. Besides he's Polish and Catholic ". She wasn't at that moment, ready to concede to Ma but I sensed that Mary, in that short period of time, had become quite impressed with the visitor from Mahanoy City.

Mike and Alex walked Mary back to the Rudders. Ma wasn't totally satisfied. She asked my older brothers to inquire about and to find out all they could about this John Grazel from Mahanoy City. The news was reassuring.