The Patterns of Our Hearts

I use pictures to encourage writing ideas. Most of my photographs are packed away awaiting the sale of my present house and their journey to a new home, but I have held back a few and these pictures stimulate blog ideas.

It is very common for a man to marry a woman that is like his mother, often in personality and sometimes in looks. The same is true for a woman—she chooses a man like her father. When it was time for me to settle on a first husband I wanted a man who was a polar opposite of my father. Growing up I was frustrated with the fact that my father didn’t talk much to me. When he did talk it was usually about the world outside, the fields, his gardens, the birds calling to one another, and the animals in the woods. I have a city streak in me, inherited from my mother, and this type of conversation didn’t seem important to me as a girl.

I did recognize as a child that my father was always there in the background of our home and I knew I was safe from any outside force. My father was not a chatty man, not until the late years of his life when he became ill with Leukemia. So my close times with my father were almost silent walks in the woods on a Saturday afternoon when he was “taking care of me” so that my mother could have a few moments without children. He taught me about the woodchucks and how to walk like an Indian–that is “soft footed” so as not to scare the squirrels, the foxes or the deer.

birdanddragon_frontcover_33If you have already read my book “A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: a Memoir” you know that the book begins with my father having just passed away and my sense of being without a protector. When I married my first husband, Rev. Harvard Lesser, long before my father’s passing, I assumed that Harvard would become my protector and I was intrigued that he liked to talk. At the tender age of twenty-two I didn’t know enough to recognize that he never talked about anyone other than himself or his friends and his conquests. He was a city boy and I thought that was what I wanted. One divorce later, I had learned Harvard was not my protector nor did he know how to be one.

Enter Sy Kessler an engineering type—good with details, somewhat quiet at first and very self-effacing. He would never spend time on what he liked and disliked, but you soon learned who he was and what he loved, to the point of providing protection and direction for his loved ones. Sy would share his ideas and listen intently to yours. He could moderate any situation. That is how we survived the raising of five teen-age daughters. Sy was my safe place just as my father had been.

I have a very dear “first memory” of my father when he would take me up into his lap and let me wander around across his chest, investigating the items in his shirt pockets and the buttons on his denim shirt. Maybe I was as much as three years old but I can remember his scent and his safety. While this was going on he was trying to read the daily newspaper. But there was never a caution not to get in his way of the written word. Sy had this same patient temperament. And just for balance—both men had tempers that could flare but never until it was warranted.Sy Kessler early in the Marriage

Dad in 1962
Dad in 1962

Now I want you to look at pictures of both of these men. The one on the left is taken of my father Frederick Copeland Sanderson at about the time of my first marriage and the one on the right is my Sy Kessler taken early in our thirty-five year marriage. The faces are so similar—the smile, the heavy nose, the openness to the world and the people that they each loved.

It makes so much sense when a woman marries a man similar to her father!

Did any of you choose a man or woman similar to your opposite sexed parent? I’d like to hear your stories.


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