Today we are sharing our stories of humor, inspiration, and determination against the dreaded BIG C, CANCER...
I don't believe I know anyone who hasn't been affected by this dreaded disease in one form or another.
Today, I am co-hosting this hop with my friend, and fellow blogger, Melissa Bradley. She has been recently diagnosed with malignant cancer and she and I are hosting the hop. All entries will be collected and featured in an anthology to come out soon. Proceeds will help Melissa with her medical and living expenses and a portion will all go to Gilda's Club Chicago, an organization helping woman fight endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancers.
I would like to dedicate this story to my mom, who was a survivor of Hodgkin's disease. May her story bring a smile to those who really need it!
A Bronx bombshell in the early 1950's, Rose Marie De Luca wasn't like most women of post WWII, who were content on marrying young and setting up a home for their returning military boyfriends. Far more than a pretty face, she graduated community college with an associates in accounting, and soon interviewed for a job at a top nursing home in NYC, owned by a German immigrant.
Most American's were prejudiced against the German people and would never consider working for one. But, Miss De Luca was too smart to fall for such narrow-minded thinking. She found the man intelligent and charming.
With skills far more advanced than her age, she became administrator of all four of his nursing homes after her third year.
One night after work, her boss called out to her, "Do you have a moment, Miss De Luca." He smiled.
"Why yes, Mr. Wagner."
"Rolf. Please. I think it is time for us to be on a first name basis." He glanced down, shifting his eyes to the side. "Would you do me the honor of accompanying me to dinner tomorrow night?"
"I'm not sure it's a good idea. You are my boss, and I..."
"I have admired you from the first day you stepped into my office."
"You have? Then why did you wait so long? It's been three years."
"You were so young. And I thought my age would scare you away. You are older now and I know you are not dating anyone special."
She nodded. "No. Not really. I have no time to date. You make sure of that." She looked up and smiled.
He burst out laughing. "True."
"Tomorrow night then?" He locked his dark brown eyes on hers.
She blushed. "Yes."
A romance blossomed. NYC's top restaurants and clubs featured this dynamic couple. Winter melted into Spring, and the Summer heat sizzled with rides to the sun-drenched Jersey shore. Soft breezes caressed moonlit strolls as conversations spoke of marriage and an extravagant honeymoon in Europe in the not so distant future.
But upon their return in late August, Rolf learned of his mother's weakened condition. She was diagnosed with cancer and died just before Christmas.
Devastated, Rolf took up drinking and contracted an ulcer. As his stomach pains increased so did his belief the cause was from cancer. His obsessive hypochondria soon put a wedge in their relationship.
Young and full of life, Rose Marie could no longer accept Rolf's behavior.
On a balmy night in June, Rose Marie, dressed to the nines, with a hint of Chanel No. 5 trailing each step, swept through the corridors past Rolf's office.
His silver temples shone in a sea of pitch as he raised his head from the desk. The corners of his mouth shifted up as he said, "You look lovely tonight, my dear. I've must have forgotten our date. I'll just be a moment."
Pink blushed her cheeks and flecks of emerald sparked in her hazel eyes. "We didn't have date. I've made other plans."
He furrowed his brows. "Where are you going?"
"To a dance."
"A dance. Without me?"
"Yes. It's been six months since your mother died and you are not the same man anymore...it's like you died along with her."
"You know how close we were. And I think I have cancer, too."
"So that means there's no future for us? I want to marry and have a family."
"You know how I feel about having children. If I die..."
"Enough, Rolf! I'm leaving."
"Let me come with you! Please."
"My aunt invited me to the VFW in queens and I'm going alone."
She slammed the door to his office and rushed out of the building. The echoes of clicking heels haunted the empty corridor.
Many uniformed soldiers flocked around Rose Marie like bees to honey. A close friend of her aunt's charmed his way into the fold.
Sgt. Mike Di Gesu flashed a brilliant smile at Rose Marie and soon swept her off her feet and onto the dance floor. After the second Lindy hop, an elegant hand tapped Mike's shoulder, he turned and Rose Marie's eyes doubled in size.
"May I please cut in. I am Rose Marie's fiancé"
Mike's shoulders tensed. "Her what!" His head snapped toward Rose Marie. "You're engaged?"
With a cool demeanor, she raised her left hand. "Do you see a ring on my finger?"
Mike scratched his head. "No." He turned to Rolf.
"It is not official but we've been dating for over a year."
"Rolf, would you please leave. It's over between us."
Rolf stiffened. "We will drive to Maryland tonight and get married."
"No, Rolf. I'm staying here. Please go."
He paled and lowered his head. "If that is what you wish."
Mike sensed something was wrong. He knew his bride loved another. He took up gambling and tried to buy her love, but he failed miserably only getting deeper into debt. By the time their third son was crawling, Rose Marie filed separation papers.