Kat’s Book: Meet the Parents

When I got back from my trip at the beginning of July,  everything seemed to speed up with Kat and I.  I went from being maybe in love to being fully in love.  Kat was smart, funny, beautiful and very much a unique person.   That we cared for each other was never in doubt.  By the beginning of August 1968 we started to make marriage plans.  The decision to elope was an easy decision for us.  We did not know how we could pull off a wedding with both families attending.  We did not want to deal with the tasks associated with arranging a traditional wedding. 

We had the following tasks in front of us:

  • Find a place to get married and a person(s) to marry us.
  • Get wedding rings.
  • Decide who would attend the wedding.
  • Arrange for a honeymoon.
  • Find an apartment and sign a lease.
  • Arrange to move Kat’s furniture to the apartment.
  • Arrange to meet each other parents before we got married.

We felt that we owed it to our families that they should meet us before we got married.   I invited Kat to my parents house for dinner in the middle of August on a Saturday night.  I don’t think my father was concerned with me going out with a shiksa;  shiksa is a a Yiddish word that refers to a non-Jewish woman who is either romantically interested in a Jewish man or who is a Jewish man’s object of affection. My mother was very concerned,  so she was probably predisposed to not like Kat.  Well, Kat did not let her down.  Kat was extremely nervous.  She talked very fast and did not always make sense because she didn’t realize that some of the words she was trying to say were still in her brain and were unspoken.  I thought the dinner went pretty well.  My mom told me different the next morning.  She made clear she didn’t like Kat,  and all I heard after that was blah, blah, blah.  I politely told her that she was mistaken about Kat.  We didn’t say anything about marriage at the previous night’s dinner.  My parents, especially mom,  must have suspected something was going on because I had never before invited a girl home for dinner.  There was nothing that could change my mind about marrying Kat, even a loving, slightly irrational mother.

The next weekend Kat invited me down to her parents house at the Jersey Shore for the weekend.  Kat told me about her family and a little about the New Jersey shore which I was unfamiliar with.  Her family lived in an apartment building in the town with the quaint name of Avon By The Sea.  Her father, Dan, worked for an advertising company in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  Her mom, Kathleen,  worked in the lingerie section of Steinbach’s department store in the same town.  Sister Deirdre (Dee), two years younger than Kathy, was a junior or senior at St. Elizabeth’s College, the same college Kat graduated from.  Younger sister Donna, 8 years younger than Kat, was a sophomore at  St. Rose High School in Belmar, New Jersey,  the same high school Kathy graduated from.  This is who I would be meeting. 

On Friday night, after work, we took the bus down from Port Authority to Asbury Park.  Kat’s father,  Dan, picked us up at the bus stop and drove us to their apartment.  Dan  was the first person I met.  I wasn’t nervous at all.  I think Kat was nervous and her family was nervous but I was as cool as a kosher pickle.  I believe Dan lent us his car so we could run around the Jersey Shore on the weekend.  I learned that beauty does run in the family.  Dee and Donna were also knockouts; Dee a blond, Donna a redhead and Kat a brunette.  It seemed that there was no end to my good fortune.  There are few things better for a man than being in the company of a beautiful woman, especially one who is also smart and funny.  Between Kat, my sister, Sheila, and my sisters-in-law, I was destined to a lifetime of being in the company of smart, funny, beautiful woman.

The weekend went well and we sort of got to know each other, at least a little bit.   I felt comfortable and more or less welcomed by them.  There was no talk of marriage,  just introductions.   Later, Dee and Donna told me that mom Kathleen said that Kat and I were just friends and there was nothing serious going on.  D & D said to mom “you’ve got to be kidding” or something like that.  The next time I would see them would be Christmas when we would visit as a married couple.

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