Cheekie Was Here

Mom's cardDad always addressed his cards for Mom to Cheekie (or Cheekee — spelling was malleable). She signed hers to him the same. I never asked where that endearment originated. Perhaps there was a story to it, or perhaps it just “happened,” becoming part of their lives without their awareness of an origin point.

No one else ever used that nickname for her. I love how it speaks of a time before me, of their courtship, marriage and life as a couple.

Although married nearly 63 years, they almost weren’t a couple. My parents met on the east coast, but Dad had a bad case of California fever and wanted to relocate to the Los Angeles area. Mom didn’t want to leave behind her family in Baltimore. He courted her long distance by letter, even proposing by mail, and eventually she accepted.

Mom's card insideI don’t know when Mom started to sign her name, “Cheekie.” I have a pile of her love letters to my dad, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to read them. It still feels too intrusive. However, I did find this wonderful card that she made him in the early 1950s, years before I was born, and the nickname is already in place.

Did Dad ever call her Cheekie out loud? Probably. Perhaps. I don’t know. It’s sometimes hard to imagine parents having lives as people apart from being…well…parents.

Over the decades I saw dozens of birthday cards, Christmas presents and anniversary gifts addressed to Cheekee, and I always knew who they were for and who they were from.

Mom and Dad

9 thoughts on “Cheekie Was Here

  1. Terry Lim Diefenbach says:

    Fabulous story and picture! As an earlier commentator wrote: you look a lot like your mom, but your literary ‘aura’ probably came mostly from your dad – his letters must have been very convincing.

  2. Jacquie Mendenhall says:

    I know what you mean about it still seeming a little intrusive still to read the letters. I knew your folks, and I would feel very rude to read their private thoughts, maybe if they were my parents I’d have a different perspective. But I DO remember an occasional look between your folks that was distinctive ‘just the two of us’ thought passing between them!!!!

  3. Mugdha says:

    What a beautiful story! Its so heartwarming. That picture of your parents is so romantic! You look a lot like your mom.

    • Susan Lendroth says:

      Those gloves are wonderful, but I’d be hopeless at keeping white gloves white. Hands are much easier to clean.

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