If you'd asked Mom on her 21st birthday if later that year, she'd become involved with a man almost three times her age, she would have laughed in your face. But that's exactly what happened. Mom had just left college, accepting a position as a secretary in Oklahoma City. She scoured the classifieds for an apartment she could afford on her meager salary. She finally decided to take the upstairs in an older home owned by a widower, Gordon Kiley. Mr. Kiley was 59, an accountant who'd lost his wife of 36 years only the year before. He'd decided the house was just too quiet without her now, so he cleared out the upper floor and placed an ad. Mom was the first person to look at it.
It became a habit for the two of them to spend Sunday evenings together...Mom would cook a meal and they would often take a stroll, sometimes stopping for a movie at the Centre Theatre a few short blocks away. Some evenings they would stay in, though; Gordon would talk about his Emma and he and Mom would listen to his Rudy Vallee 78's. Though Mom initially thought of Gordon as sort of a second father, gradually she began to experience deeper feelings for him. One Sunday night, as Rudy Vallee sang, they danced a foxtrot. Without speaking a word, Gordon, ever so gently, kissed Mom's lips. She returned the kiss but instantly regretted it, feeling something just wasn't right. She feigned a headache and excused herself, retreating to her bedroom upstairs.
The next morning, both Gordon and Mom tried to behave as if nothing had happened but the tension between them was palpable. They continued this way for 10 or 12 days, at which point Mom told Gordon she felt she must find another place to live. Within a week, she'd moved out and two months later, Gordon sold the home he'd shared with Emma and moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his son and daughter-in-law lived. Mom never spoke to Gordon again.
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