Friday, 19 November 2010
March 17th, 1949
Meri crept into the bedroom after getting her baby boys down for the night. Eight months
old and the twins were finally sleeping a full six hours in a row. Jakob lay sprawled out on top of
the bed covers, listening to the broadcast of the Shamrock Hotel's grand opening. He'd marveled
over its architectural design during the final months of the building's construction, saying it was
a delicate balance of bulk and elegance, a modernistic French chateau. Whatever that meant?
At $42 per ticket, attending the event was beyond the realm of possibilities. She knew
that he ached to see inside, though. Maybe after the hubbub died down, they could dress up and
sneak into the lobby. Pretend to be guests as they strolled about.
Meri crawled onto the bed and snuggled close. "Anything interesting?"
"Oh yeah. This thing is huge. Did you know that's Dorothy Lamour?"
Meri listened closely to the full-bodied, charismatic voice emanating through the
airwaves as it introduced a host of celebrities -- Errol Flynn, Ginger Rogers, Robert Preston.
"Wow, sounds like some party they're having."
"A little while ago she announced there were fifty thousand people outside the hotel. That
can't be right. Do you think?"
Meri shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe."
Jakob rolled onto his back. Meri laid her head on his chest as he ran his hand through her
hair. Neither spoke as they listened to the increasingly rowdy festivities. It sounded like
champagne was flowing in abundance.
"You should be there," Jakob said.
Over a year of marriage and the birth of their boys, and Jakob still punished himself as
though he deprived her of something important. There was a strong possibility that her parents
were at the opening. It was being touted as the biggest social event in Houston's history, so her
mother wouldn't want to miss it. But Meri didn't care. All she wanted was Jakob. He fulfilled her.
"No. I should be here with you."
Miss Lamour broke out in song, and several not so talented voices joined in. Meri
"I meant that you should be a guest of honor, a celebrity -- invited to celebrate."
"Don't be silly."
He stopped playing with her hair and tipped her chin up toward him. "Let's move to Los
"I want your dreams to come true."
"What are you talking about?"
"You want to be an actress."
"Oh, Jakob. That doesn't matter anymore." She laid her head back onto his chest. "I'm a
wife and a mother. You've got your job and school. Besides, we wouldn't even know where to
He lay still for a minute, and then his fingers ran through her hair again. "What if I
figured something out?"
"I don't know yet."
Meri giggled. She pushed herself up and kissed him on the lips. "I love you." Jakob's
deep blue eyes held her gaze. Wheels were definitely turning in there. "What are you thinking?"
"I promise you, Meri. Somehow, I'm gonna make it happen."
A buzz of drunken laughter crackled through the radio at their bedside, drowning out
Dorothy Lamour as she continued in song. Then a single word burst through the noisy clamor.
Meri covered her mouth. "Did he just say..."
The broadcast cut off and static buzzed from the radio's speaker.
She and Jakob looked at each other with widened eyes.
"I think so." A smile covered his face. He wrapped his arms around her, and rolled her
beneath him as they laughed. "I wonder how they'll write that up in the papers?"
"As a warning against live broadcast in the excess of champagne." Meri fought to catch
her breath. "I can't believe that happened."
Jakob hovered over her with a gentle smile and tender eyes. She reached up and brushed
his cheek with her fingers.
"Believe in me, Meri. Will you believe in me?"
It seemed so crazy. What did he plan to do? Knock on Louis B. Mayer's door. This is my
wife. She wants to be an actress. Yet, the conviction in his eyes overwhelmed all reason, and
from her lips she heard the words, "I do." And it was the truth.
Shawna K. Williams will be chatting at the Yahoo Connections Yahoo Group today from 8-1130 am. Pop on in and say "hi." to her!