The most romantic couple I have ever known were my Uncle Howard and Aunt Mildred. Howard was one of my mother's two older brothers. He had been an airplane mechanic in War World II and continued in that field after the war. Aunt Mildred was a homemaker and later, secretary for the Kawasaki company. I never wanted visits to their home to come to an end.
Their home was quintessential 1950's Early American. Knotty pine walls yellowed with age, oval braided rugs, pipe stand and fringed lamps. High backed couch and step down end tables, walk around fireplace. Starched white Priscilla and Miss America glass pattern. Big open kitchen, bread and butter pickles, homemade biscuits, Uncle Howard at the sink. Every evening after supper he would wash the dishes for Mildred while whistling happily. He said he loved this chore because he could really get his nails clean after a day working on airplanes. Aunt Mildred at his side quietly drying and putting away, the light above the sink in the darkening kitchen just for them. The dishes done, a breakfast spot set for Uncle Howard's early rise, coffee cup turned upside down on it's saucer, their quiet dance done for the evening.
In the bathroom to prepare for bed, Aunt Mildred knocked softly. She was a tall and elegantly slim woman, her hair in an up sweep. Her voice was the softest I had ever heard. "Why don't you run yourself a warm bubble bath. Everyone is washed for the evening, you can take as long as you like." I had never had a bubble bath. My father wouldn't hear of spending good money on such a thing. My aunt showed me how to sprinkle the granules into the running water and swish my hand back and forth to form the bubbles. Before leaving me she opened a cabinet and handed me a bottle of liquid green. I could not believe my eyes. Silky, shinny hair could only be obtained by using Prell with it's formula thick enough to float a pearl. I can remember every moment of this bath! A bubble stole about my shoulders, an up sweep of shampoo, greeting my admirers in my softest voice. Feminine heaven!
My last visit to Uncle Howard and Aunt Mildred's house was the same as my first visit as a child. The simple sharing of the routine of the day showed me the type of love I wanted for myself. Aunt Mildred was very ill on that last visit. Uncle Howard slept on the floor by her bedside so as not to disturb her painful sleep. He said to me, "I have never spent a day apart from her. She has given me so much, I am happy just to be near her." Uncle Howard would pass away very shortly after the death of Aunt Mildred. I have always loved to wash dishes. I know this is because of this most romantic couple.