When Michael and I were planning on moving in together, 2 months before we got married, he insisted that we get a new bedroom set even though I truly loved my old one. He did not want to start our new life with a bed that some other man had been in (though it’d been a long while.)

Not only did we shop together for it, but we bought the whole bedroom ensemble, something I’d always wanted but never had. The matching comforter, sheets, curtains, throw pillows etc etc. The bed looked like that out of a magazine. And Michael, who needed just a couch, television and four walls to be happy and could care less about decorating, was right there with me and interested as I considered ensemble after ensemble (and back again). And unlike most other men I’d known, he paid for everything…the bedroom set and the ensemble, sheets, pillows, pillow cases…everything…and never balked that I wanted pillow shams and bed shams and neck pillows and big pillows and little pillows and everything you could ever want or need.

On our dresser we put photos of us and engraved items with our names and marriage date.

I found a picture of each of us around the age of 5 and put them in frames. One day Michael was out and spotted a figurine with two little kids about to kiss, the boy with flowers behind his back, and bought it for me and I put it between our little kid pictures.

I bought the raccoon. We each bought lots of hummingbirds, usually glass. In California we had a ceiling fan over our bed and he even bought me two hummingbirds for the end of the pullchains.

I have never been with a man who was so rough and tumble on the outside, the little Harley dude, who was such a mush. My nickname for him was Squoofie because I told him he was just a big squishy squoofie lovebug at heart.

He signed all his cards to me "Your Squoo."

Michael delighted, DELIGHTED, in being in love. He loved being in love for the first time (he said to me, “I thought I had been in love, but now I know I never was.” )

And he loved bringing home things for the bedroom or giving me things that would go in there. I once told him nothing kitschy. Sometime later he gave me a platinum box from Tiffany’s engraved with our initials and say, “Is this kitschy?” Either he didn’t know what it meant or he couldn’t gauge what was or what wasn’t. That made me smile. I decided after that nothing would be deemed kitschy unless he brought me home dogs playing poker.

On one wall was a collage from our wedding and honeymoon, pictures, receipts,postcards…and a plaque underneath is heart shaped and says “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.”

Another narrow wall has little love frames, a scroll of “The Art of Marriage.”

We had on ban of pictures of anything (including the kids) that was not of us or of a place we’d been together. It was just all us, all the time.

We eventually had to buy a 7 foot curio cabinet to put in all the things we bought for each other. The crystal, the silver, the pictures, the “To My Wife” and “To My Husband” plaques.

Michael bought me, on our first Christmas, a crystal heart ornament. I never put it on the tree. It’s been on our dresser ever since.

Even our “change” dishes were two matching hearts.

Our wedding invitation is framed. Stuffed animals given to each other are here and there. And it never ended…it continued on through year 5 and 10 ….

I once remarked to him that our bedroom looked like a Hallmark store threw up in it. He laughed and said, This is our home base from which we launch our lives.

Last night I walked around the bedroom touching everything and crying.

Remembering how in love with love Michael was. Remembering how delightful his delight was. I had never known another man who thought this was important or that these trinkets said something or meant something. Remembering how we built this little shrine to our love together. Like our relationship, we both contributed.

He thought it all said how much we loved each other but I really think it reflected to him that I loved him and the idea of “us” as much as he loved me, which I don’t think he thought was possible.

I thought last night that I might move into the guest room as I slowly and quietly take some of the “testimony” away. The bedroom seems big and lonely without him and all of our things surrounding me just remind me of the happiest time in my life


that my Squoofie is missing.