By grieving emmet
She stopped loving him last week, some 65 years after she married him.
Roland and Florence Guillette were the couple everyone talked about. At her funeral this week the mourners talked about their devotion to each other. The couple didn’t make a big deal out of it, but it was there for anyone to see. They were the Bogart and Bacall of their time and place.
I never knew a more devoted husband. When Florence went to rise from a chair, Roland was there at her elbow. As he faded and died last September, his last thoughts were for his wife who would be alone after all their time together. Everyone suspected that her time would be short after Roland died, like it is for so many special, devoted couples. She would have reached 90 on Aug. 22, but she passed away last week with her devoted daughter, Susan, at her side.
The ceremonies were the same for both Roland, then Florence. Same priest. Same Church. Same funeral home. Same sad little cemetery. If there is any justice in this world, they are together again, somewhere, somehow.
Friends loved telling the stories this week. The way they Roland and Florence met on a blind date arranged by relatives. It happened right away. At the funeral home, the photos of their lives together were shown on a power point presentation. Florence at the helm of their powerboat in Owls Head. Florence and Roland in cowboy hats on one of their many trips. Florence in her bathing suit, a clue to where those daughters got their good looks. The old days in Grafton with parents and grandparents. The film strip included glorious seaside sunsets, much like the couple enjoyed from their home in Owls Head.
She worked for a while at Johnston Steel and Wire in Worcester, Mass. for a while, and then stayed home to raise her blue-eyed daughters, Linda and Susan. Roland worked at atomic power plants in Mass., Conn., and Maine. She was a devoted mother and ran a house as clean as any operating room. Cleaner, maybe. She was an intensely private person and probably would have been uncomfortable with all the fuss at the funeral home and the church on Monday.
At the church, the priest Goodwin laughed at her problems with farm life, especially that pesky goat. After that, she decided she would concentrate on the housekeeping and cooking and let Roland handle the farm chores.
Roland’s job took him from Grafton to Connecticut, Newcastle, and then Shrewsbury. They had a vacation home in Owls Head but they returned to Grafton in 1999 like everyone knew they would. It was their home where they met, so many years ago. Both families had deep roots in the community.
Her devoted daughters are now lost. They would call every day, sometimes more than once. There would be jokes and stories, advice both solicited and unsolicited. There were daily questions about her health as she approached 90. She was largely confined to her Grafton house as she failed. She could no longer read without a magnifying glass. But she loved those excursions when the daughters arrived. She hated to admit it, being a fabulous cook, but she savored her visits to McDonald for a sandwich or even just a cup of coffee.
Family and friends shared tears at St. Philip Cemetery Monday, as they said goodbye to Florence. She would now join her loving husband and they would be together, again.
Forever. Our Bogie and Bacall.