I imagine most couples, at least at the beginning of their relationship, refer to each other with terms of affection: Honey Bunch, Snookums, Poopsie, Angel Face, Sweetie Pie and the like.
I don’t remember Mom calling Dad anything but his name, but Dad frequently called her “Mus.” This was short for “Muscles.” Mom was rather frail and not a robust woman. I think this was a result of scarlet fever, which she contracted when she was 9 and was seriously ill. She, her mother, and grandmother (who lived with them) were quarantined in the house. She couldn’t leave her room. She writes
I was really sick with scarlet fever, had big nodules up and down my neck and swollen lymph glands. My ribs looked like a washboard and scared mother and grandma when I was finally well and stood up because I was so thin. The doctor came to the house but all he could offer was bed rest and a very strict diet…
Antibiotics were not
available in the early 1930s, so the disease had to run its course. I don’t have any real proof of this, but think
the disease probably damaged her heart.
I think dad started calling
her “Muscles” when he was teaching her to drive and then shortened it to “Mus.”
She probably had a struggle turning the steering wheel and shifting and pressing
the clutch pedal to the floor and all that business.
We used to own a big, old
pickup truck that did not have power steering, so I can appreciate how much
strength it takes. So “Mus” made sense to us.
This brings me to Jack and Ruth, who are both in their 90s. When she is able, Ruth comes to the monthly Bible study at church. She requires a walker, is tethered to an oxygen tank, and does not drive, so Jack ushers her in and gets her settled and then returns and picks her up. Jack is a “character,” which is a story for another time.
Ruth publishes a newsletter that includes stories, anecdotes, historical facts, poems, and jokes, that sort of thing. Some she writes and other items are things people have sent her. On occasion she has printed (with my permission) things from this blog in her newsletter.
In the most recent newsletter, she writes, “I used to call Jack “Dear Heart.” He evidently didn’t like the endearment because he started calling me “Elk’s Liver.”