Monday, March 8, 2021

A Sequel to the New York Times' Modern Love


I am an avid reader of the newspaper. The real newspaper, not the online substitute. My roommate Susan and I even subscribed to the Tennessean when we were living in the dorm in 1975-76. The delivery guy set in on our windowsill.

I read with scissors and a pen. Monday through Saturday, I read through and then finish the Sudoku, crossword, and cryptogram. On Sundays now, I get the Tennessean  and the New York Times: More puzzles and more word games, the NYT Book Review. Sometimes it takes me most of the week to get to all the parts I like. 

I've been clipping favorite columns for years, which  explains the four-drawer file cabinets in the closet downstairs. Among those favorite columns is the piece by Amy Krouse Rosenthal printed in the "Modern Love" section of the Sunday Times in March 2017 entitled "You May Want to Marry My Husband. Written as a dating site ad, Amy published what was essentially a love letter to her husband as she experienced stage 4 cancer. The piece extended her wishes--even her permission--for Jason to go on living after her. She died just days after the piece was published.

Now Jason has written My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me, his memoir that is every bit a love letter back to Amy, celebrating their courtship, marriage, and parenthood. He describes how the two intentionally made lists--part of their style--of their high expectations for living their lives together. They made plans for how to parent long before their three children were born.

Without crossing the line into maudlin and sentimental, Rosenthal gives readers the behind-the-scenes look at a good marriage and a good life, disrupted but not destroyed by cancer. Choosing to live with  purpose and a plan before cancer struck prepared them for the rough road they traveled together to the end of Amy's life. 

Before, Amy was the author and filmmaker in the family, but Jason has not only written the book but has made the TED circuit, sharing his story. One of the jewels of the book is a bibliography of books he recommends for other widowers. 

For the record, even with Amy's permission to move on, Jason still hasn't encountered the woman who answers to Amy's singles ad.


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