Joan Joyce (Schiavon) Huesca (1928 – 1987)
Gilbert Cayetano Huesca (1915 – 2009)
“To my Darling,” reads my father’s inscription in the diary he gave my mother on the day he asked her to marry him. She later wrote their names underneath, adding what must have been their nickname for each other: “Mr. & Mrs. Zippo.”
[Note: Amanuensis is an ancient word meaning one who performs the function of writing down or transcribing the words of another. Derived from the Latin root manu- , meaning manual or hand, the word also has been used as a synonym for secretary or scribe.]
My parents became engaged on July 3, 1954, the eve of my mother’s 26th birthday. Besides a solitaire engagement ring, my father, Gilbert Huesca, gave my mother, Joan Schiavon, a small diary. She dedicated it to him and began recording the first weeks of their engagement. What follows are her entries for those first seven days.
JULY Three (1954)
“My Secret Love” – “When we two are one”
The most wonderful day of my life. Gil gave me an engagement ring this evening at home before we left with Mr. and Mrs. Waples to go to the Ivanhoe. We had dinner, danced, had our fortunes told and went down thru (sic) the “Catacombs.” Then, my darling Gil had some singers come to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. This evening will live in my heart forever as my love for Gil is for all my life.
I love him as I have never loved anyone before. For you, Gil dearest are in my every thought, action, and breath. May you always be as proud of me, as I am of you.
My mother’s first diary entry, July 3, 1954. “My Secret Love,” she wrote at the top, “When we two are one”
JULY Four (This was my mother’s 26th birthday)
How happy and proud I was to show everyone at Downer’s Grove my engagement ring, because I love you, my darling, with all my heart. It was wonderful meeting your brother Carlos*. He is very sweet. I do hope he will like me.
Mrs. Waples was so darling to make such a beautiful cake for my birthday. I was so thrilled and happy today. But, I know that I shall always be happy as long as you are with me.
My thoughts were with you all morning, as they shall be every moment of my life. I was so sorry that Carlos was unable to spend more time with us. But, selfishly, I was very happy to have you all to myself for the afternoon. We had such a lovely time at the home of your friends, they were so sweet and kind to us.
What a beautiful home 457 was, and what happy memories you must have of the times you spent there. My dearest wish is that our life together will be a happy one for you.
Today I went shopping with you for the first time. I hope that in later years you will always take me with you, as such little things when shared together should keep us very close to one another.
We got caught in the rain and put your raincoat over our heads! I even enjoy the rain with you, my darling. I was so afraid you wouldn’t get a chance to kiss me goodnight when Dad and Mother took you home. But we did kiss and now I am happy.
Being with you tonight was wonderful, but Darling, you really gave me a scare when you said you had something to show me. You didn’t tell me it was your heart until after you unbuttoned your shirt. Then, I felt so silly because you told me I was blushing.
Mrs. Waples was so sweet to make that jar of cookies for me. Dearest, I am so proud to love you. I really am very fortunate to have you to love.
Your Mother was very sweet in her letter. I hope I will make a good wife to her son.
Dearest: you are the sweetest most wonderful man in all this world. I’m writing this tonight with your fountain pen. You were so dear to let me use it. You read this diary tonight, and I only wish that I could express all the love that I have for you in my heart.
It was so nice of you to take Mother, Margaret**, and I for coffee tonight. I wish that you were here now so I could give you a big kiss.
I wonder what you will think ten years from now when you read this?
I just finished talking to you on the telephone. The roses that you brought me this evening are beautiful. I have them here in my room so that I can look at them as I go to sleep and think of you and how much I love you, my Darling.
I hope you will get a nice rest tonight – you sounded so tired on the phone tonight. I’m getting sleepy, now dear, so goodnight for now. I love you.
What a lovely evening we’ve had tonight! It’s just a week now that we’ve been engaged. I’m so proud of my ring and of you.
Has any girl ever been as happy as I am. And darling you are what makes this little package of oatmeal so happy. It was so nice dancing at the “Sociedad Española.” (Is my Spanish improving?)
To be with you is always wonderful. I was very sorry that the Algarins did not come. But you were with me. That’s enough for me!
* Carlos Huesca, my father’s younger brother.
** Margaret Lesueur, a friend of my grandparents.
Copyright © 2012 Linda Huesca Tully