Gerrie sat in a restaurant in Oregon reading a book. She was 46 years old with three adult kids. Wayne, who worked there, saw the title and couldn’t help but comment. He was 25. Three years later, they were married.
Gerrie wrote to us as one of more than one hundred new readers we picked up a couple of weekends back when The New York Times allowed us to include our Web address in a comment on their story about younger men and older women. Hey, welcome everybody! Keep coming back! We publish about once a week …
Gerrie found us via the Times, and let us know that she and Wayne have been married sixteen years. Do the math: She’s 62; her husband is 41. Yeah, that's right. Him+21.
“Wayne and I have long since forgotten our age difference,” she wrote to us in an e-mail. “My three adult kids (two of whom are older than Wayne) love and respect him as a person and as my husband.”
The part about her story that amazes me is that parenthetical aside. The punctuation reminds me of those famous two words from Nabokov’s Lolita when Humbert Humbert reports on his mother’s death and then puts the details in parentheses “(picnic, lightning)”. With Humbert, the parentheses show a horrifying callousness. With Gerrie, the punctuation is miraculous. A younger man with an older woman bucks society from the get-go, and to add any child likely makes the affair more difficult; to add children who are also older usually gets you fifteen minutes on Dr. Phil. But Gerrie’s punctuation (those little curves) indicate a dynamic that once was unusual, but is now, for Gerrie’s family, a given.
No surprise, given the title of the book Gerrie was reading the day Wayne approached her table.