The Day George Fought With His Dad

Lake Shore Hotel 1952

When Joe and I attended a wedding reception at the Lake Shore Hotel I could never have guessed how our day would end.

That afternoon we walked down the carpeted steps into the hotel’s ballroom.

High above us thousands of tiny glittering bulbs in chandeliers lit the room and across from us, glass doors with ornate handles opened to a sweeping view of Lake Erie under a sapphire sky.

Waiters dressed in immaculate white jackets, black bow ties, black trousers and polished black shoes weaved in and out of the guests while balancing silver trays of bubbly champagne.

Lake Shore Hotel Ballroom

As we waited in line to greet the newlyweds I noticed, on a small stage behind us, a woman in a satin gown stroking a golden harp. Her music caressed the well-wishers like a soothing balm.

Then, without any warning, a sharp voice cut through the joyous atmosphere and everything stopped.

It was the Maitre D’s voice. He was standing in front of a microphone on the small stage at the end of the ballroom. “May I have your attention. There is an urgent call for Mary Jane Elster. Please go to the phone at the desk in the lobby.”

Joe accompanied me to the lobby and stayed next to me when I took the call.

I was startled when I heard George. His words were erratic and I couldn’t tell if what he said was a plea or a demand. “You’ve got to meet me at the train station in the Terminal Tower. I’ve fought with my Dad and I’m leaving home.” George didn’t say what the argument was about but I knew it was serious.

George talked to my mother earlier in the day and she told him I was with Joe and he already knew that we had recently become engaged. But it didn’t seem to matter.

I tried explaining how wrong it was to expect me to go and besides, “How would I get there?” George said “Have Joe drive you.”

Because I hesitated George became annoyed. His final word was “Try” and then he hung up.

Several years later, after each of us married others, we spoke again. But that’s a story for another time.

Author’s note – Because I am losing my sight I am seldom bothered by outside distractions making my memories even more vivid.

Mary Jane Schriner


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