A Perfectly Imperfect 60 Year Love

December 15th, 2012


“Love isn’t finding a perfect person.  It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly”. Sam Keen

Mom and Dad wedding day, 1953

My parents met in Sioux City, Iowa in about 1943.  They were 12 and it was a junior high school dance.  Joan Gaston Smith was new in town and Norm Waitt remembered her as a beautiful girl with her “nose in the air”.  He noticed her right away, and kept noticing for the next 60 years.  They came from different places and different backgrounds.  She was born in St. Louis in 1931, the daughter of an executive and a former college beauty queen.  She and her mother moved here when my grandmother married her wealthy second husband, whose family had founded a company called American Popcorn Company, sometimes known as “Jolly Time”.  My father was a 5th generation Iowan, from a family of cattlemen.  They were an ‘old’ family, respected in their field, but in the 40’s, lived more modestly than my mother’s family.  I used to  call them “the cattleman” and the “debutante”. But that’s too simple.  They were much more.  And as the years went on, they seemed more alike than different.  I think that’s what the passage of time and the “being together” does to a couple.

They always kept in touch, as she went off to boarding schools and college at Northwestern University, and he went to college for a year in Montana and then into the Air Force during the Korean War.  The letters continued.  She said he would sign his letters, “your friend, Norm”.  Both were charismatic and attractive and they dated others, but something always pulled them back together.

Lovely mom...late 40's

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