Gus and Trudy (aka Grammy and Nono) met right after World War II. They were both stationed in Memphis, TN. Nono was in the Navy and Grammy was in the Army. (Doing what, I’m not sure. She regularly told us her official rank was Bedpan Commando!) They met in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel. Nono had his arm in a cast, and when Grammy saw him she yelled across the hotel lobby, “Hey sailor, what happened to your arm?” And it was love at first sight. They courted for roughly three weeks before they were married in a court house in Hernando, MS. Well technically they didn’t get married in the court house. Nono said when they arrived they learned that the Justice of the Peace was out sick, so they went to his house and he married them by his bedside. And the rest is history.
Grammy and Nono were just as in love fifty years later when we returned to Memphis for their anniversary. We took their picture in the lobby and sat in the bar they had drinks in the night they met.
If Kris Jenner were my great grandmother, there would not have been a bedside marriage. Even with three weeks to plan, Grammy would have had three gowns, loads of flowers and deal with a major television network. But she didn’t. I don’t know what she wore that day, and I’m not sure if she even carried a bouquet because they didn’t have formal wedding photos. They did make this awesome newspaper the night they met. The headline reads, “Brooklyn Will Marry Gus! Memphis Goes Wild!” I like this one a lot.
That's Grammy and Nono on the right. Grammy was from Brooklyn.
“Nono, why did you marry Grammy after only three weeks,” I asked a long, long time ago. I was young, but the idea just seemed so crazy to me.
“If I had known her any longer, I wouldn’t have,” he joked.
But it was clear he would have. Grammy always wanted to be with Nono. Even if he was just in the other room, all she’d ever say was, “Where’s Gus!” (It was mostly the love, and a little bit of Alzheimer’s.) And when Grammy passed away in 2005, it was clear that Nono’s life was not the same without her. Grammy and Nono’s story is one of my favorites, and I’ll be telling it for a long, long time.
What about you? Do you have a Veteran’s Day love story? Or any kind of love story? Share it with me.
And Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone who’s served, or is currently serving (Hi Phil!) Thank you!