Chapter V - Married, Twice!
Nicola was pressing me to be married so we could live near my sister. The idea appealed to me. No definite plans had been decided but one morning I was called into the office by my employer. He said there was a young man that wanted to see me. To my surprise it was Nicola! He said that he had quit his job and was going to Philadelphia to look for another but first he wanted me to go to city hall with him so a marriage license could be issued. I was confused and taken by surprise. The thought of living near Emily appealed to me very much. I consented to go to city hall for the license. At the city hall we were told to come back in three days with witnesses. Nicola asked my brother and a friend of his to be witnesses. After we returned the clerk asked for the usual fee of three dollars, then he left and everyone went back to their jobs. Nicola left for Philadelphia.
Three days later he came back without a job.
It took us three months to get ready to have the marriage performed in church. We went to see our parish priest to acquaint him with our intentions. The priest asked if we had the license. We said, "Yes," and handed him the certificate we had received in city hall.
He looked at the paper and said, "Why did you do this?" I looked at the priest and said, "Do what?"
He answered, "You were married in a civil ceremony."
I said, "Father, we came here to be married."
He answered, "You should have brought the license to me. I would have taken care of the rest."
After the banns were read in three Sunday masses we were married in the church. There was a small reception. Nicola's friend was best man and my sister was matron of honor.
We had rented a two-room apartment where the bathroom was shared by four tenants. The water was in the hall. There was no heat, which meant we had to buy a coal stove. We also had to buy furniture and kitchen equipment. We had no gas and no electricity. Light was provided for by a kerosene lamp.
We had a few luxuries. Nicola invested in a china cabinet and I in a rocker.
This was the beginning of our married life. I was not quite seventeen and marriage was a life long commitment and I began to work at it. My husband was a good man, lighthearted and friendly and very much in love with me. Like all newlyweds the beginning was difficult for us. We had assumed too many responsibilities too soon. We had to pay installments on our furniture, rent and coal for the stove, kerosene for the lamp, and food. The stove served us both summer and winter. In the summer we fired the stove with wood.
My husband lost his job just before Christmas. We had married at the end of September. We had no money, but we invited a few friends to help celebrate our first Christmas. We borrowed the money for our celebration.
Hunting for a job in winter is a hard task. After a few weeks of fruitless searching on the part of my husband, I decided to ask my previous boss if he would rehire me. He did. For a young married girl life was not easy. I had to be at work at 8:00 a.m. Before leaving for work I had to prepare breakfast over a wood stove. After working all day I would come home to prepare supper. Then I would clean up. These tasks took care of weekdays. On weekends shopping, cleaning, scrubbing the floors and laundry had to be done. Laundry was done in a tub with a bench used as a support and the water had to be brought in from the hall. However, these tedious tasks were compensated by lighter moments. Friends would drop in nights to play cards or just talk. We had company constantly. Nicola was a very gregarious person and loved to be with friends. Since I had regained my job we were able to pay off some of the bills and save a few dollars and it was at this time I realized that I would become a mother. That was a sweet moment because I wanted a child very badly. Nicola wasn't told right away because I wanted to be very sure first. I was very happy with my secret since I did not have morning sickness or the other disturbances that accompany pregnancy. I wanted to taste every moment of it, holding my breath and waiting for a sign of life in me. When I told Nicola he was as happy as I was and began to urge me to quit work. He was concerned for the baby and me. The next few months were the happiest of my life. I was enjoying my pregnancy. When my baby arrived I was overjoyed. There with me now was a baby all of my own. Since I was the youngest of three brothers and a sister I had missed not having a younger brother or sister. That, plus not having any grandparents, had made me feel cheated while I was growing up.
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