His love was sunlight
on the uplifted daffodil of her being,
turning all her yellows into gold.
atop the puddles of her life.
draping on her shoulders,
his love was
expressed in Browning-verse
A tenderness more
than was his.
He brought her flowers,
not just petalled blossoms,
whole fields of flowers in his
high mountain meadows of them
in his song,
secret gardens as
He loved her
in his lion-hearted way.
wanting all to know
was his love.
An anointing oil,
his love ran down her being,
giving rest in its fair benediction.
into his harbor,
she was safe,
and moored her being close to his.
The rivers of his words
The fountains of his song
His very oakness sheltered all her life
they climbed the mountain paths
when the oak of him
roots torn from the yielding earth...
An empty place
on her life's horizon
where once were stoutest branches
lifted to the sky.
And all her soul became
where he had grown;
Her fountains stilled,
her rivers running dry,
her shoulders cold,
her puddles wide,
her meadows deep in snow;
smiling on their love in life,
For what had been the ageless question:
"IF God choose...?"
And on a silent
Easter morning wrapped her in its sudden light
And she knew...
with all that lay within her
"He DOES but love me
(by Jo Anzalone 3-31-97)
Written for my dear friend, Marjorie Holmes, when her husband, George, died. She actually had an experience like this while sitting alone at her kitchen table, grieving for him. What I write here of how he cared for her...all of it...is how he actually did. George was a doctor...of the sort enormously beloved by all his patients. He reminded me of the actor Walter Pidgeon in looks and size, had the bluest eyes, brought Marjorie a fresh flower every day of their decade together, and sang love songs to her. He was courtly...a gentleman through and through...loved dogs...and laughed a lot.
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Marjorie Holmes was born on September 22, 1910 in Storm Lake, Iowa to
Samuel Arthur (a tractor salesman) and Rose (Griffith) Holmes. From a young
age, Holmes took an interest in writing and developed a talent for the
skill. Holmes claims to have written her first novel, a story of the local
grocery boy, at the age of twelve. Holmes' English teacher, Miss Dewey Deal,
noticed the young writer's early efforts and wrote the following words on an
English paper: "You must make the most of your talent...you can write
beautiful things for people who crave beauty- there is a duty." Holmes kept
those words and often used them as a source of encouragement when she later
became discouraged about her writing.
Holmes graduated from high school at the age of sixteen and then from Cornell College in Mount Vernon at the age of twenty. While working as a secretary at the State University of Iowa, she met Lynn Burton Mighell, a graduate engineering student. On April 9, 1932, they were married, after which they moved to Rio Grande Valley in Texas to raise cabbages. Shortly after their move to Texas and their first of four children was born, their attempts at raising and selling cabbages flopped. "Oh God, we were so poor" (People Weekly, 116), she said. Holmes began writing for short stories and poems for magazines, and in 1943, she published her first novel, World by the Tail- a story about an Iowa family tackling the challenges of the Depression. In 1947, Holmes published her second novel, Ten o'Clock Scholar, the story of a young superintendent's career and passion to improve the public schools.
Holmes has written short stories, articles, columns and poetry to magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, Redbook, McCall's, and Family Circle. Between 1959 and 1973, she wrote a biweekly column called "Love and Laughter" for the Washington D.C. Star. In addition, from 1971 to 1977, she was the author of the Woman's Day monthly column, "A Woman's Conversation with God." Holmes has also served as a teacher of writing. From 1959 to 1981, she taught at the Georgetown University Summer Writers Conference, from 1964 to 1965 at Catholic University, from 1967 to 1968 at the University of Maryland, at the Philadelphia Writers Conference, and at the Cape Cod Writers Conference.
On Christmas Eve, 1963, while attending a midnight Mass, Holmes was inspired to write a story about Mary and Joseph. As she said, "I could smell the hay and it struck me that this was the greatest love story of all time." In 1972, she titled and published her story, Two from Galilee: A Love Story. The novel appeared on the New York Times bestseller list and was one of the ten best-selling novels of that year. "[Two from Galilee] means more to me than anything else I have ever written," she told Dallas News. "If I had never written anything else besides this book, I would still feel like I had accomplished something" (Contemporary Authors Online). Holmes' intention behind the novel was to bring Mary and Joseph "out of the art galleries and take away the gold frames and halos which create a barrier for us. I wanted to show them as two people confronted with the great honor but also the great responsibility of serving as the earthly parents of the Christ child" (Contemporary Authors Online).
While Holmes gained success in the literary world, her husband climbed the ladder in the business world, eventually becoming top executive with the Carrier Corporation. In 1979, after years of illness, her husband died of cancer. After forty-seven years of marriage and four children, Holmes found herself a widow. "Each day," she said, "I would stand on my terrace and say 'Please God, send me a wonderful man'" (People Weekly, 117).
In 1981, at the age of 70, Holmes met George Schmieler, age 71, who had also just lost his spouse after nearly fifty years of marriage. The story behind how the two met sounds similar to a fairy tale. Six months after Schmieler's wife had died, he found a book his wife had been reading called I've Got to Talk to Somebody, God by Marjorie Holmes. Six weeks later, after Schmieler had read the book, "he traced Holmes through relatives, dialed her unlisted number and announced, 'I love you. You saved my life'" (People Weekly, 115). On July 4, 1981, nineteen weeks after Holmes agreed to meet Schmieler, they were married. "We are convinced that this was the work of God," said Holmes. "We're two people who were absolutely right for one another, brought together under unusual circumstances" (People Weekly, 115). After 10 years of marriage, Schmieler too died from cancer in 1991. In 1993, Holmes wrote the novel, Second Wife, Second Life!, based upon her marriage to Schmieler.