Grace

grace Whenever I think to write this page, the lines from a song come into my mind. The song was "Love Story". The lines are these:

  Where do I begin
To tell the story of how great a love can be
The sweet love story that is older than the sea?


Grace Kinuyo Tani, later Grace Kinuyo Canfield, was the light of my life for nearly twenty years. My life can be divided into three sections: my mother Helen, my wife Grace, and all the rest. Grace deserves a book. How can I write a short story about someone I lived with for twenty years and will love forever? I spent twenty years being half of "Andy and Grace".

When a man and a women live together, and they speak the same language, they tell jokes to each other. Grace would say something funny to me, then a few days later I would say something funny to her based on what she had said to me. The strings of this joke based on that joke would go on and on. Grace and I had been living together for four or five months when I realized that the jokes had no origin. The funny thing that I said to her based on what she had said to me based on what I had said to her based on what she had said to me had gone on for so long that I could no longer remember how that joke got started. It became a bit of humor in the possession of the two of us, together. We no longer knew, or cared, who started it. That's when I realized that it was getting serious.

During one era Grace developed the habit of tripping. Not tripping over curbs, or roots, or broken sidewalks; no, she was fine on those. Grace would trip where it was flat, and smooth, and there was absolutely nothing to trip over. It got to be a family joke. We would be walking along, and I would turn to her, point to the walkway, and say "Watch out! It's flat here!"

Before I met Grace, I had lived for a while with Yvonne. Once, my mother caught Yvonne and me naked in bed together. We were talking. My mother, a very proper Christian lady, came out with the most extraordinary statement. She yelled at us "I can see an occasional piece of ass, but this playing at being married has got to stop!" Well, that line also became a family joke between Grace and me. Years later Grace and I and our two children Heather and Chris were living in the house we owned, and yes, we were had been legally married for many years by then. On a quiet evening I would turn and say "Grace, I can see an occasional piece of ass, but this playing at being married has got to stop!" Then I would smile, and she would smile.


In 1987-1990 I abandoned my wife and children.

The lady I loved, the lady who taught me how to love, no longer exists. She ceased to exist when I walked out. I destroyed her. I destroyed her dream. For that I am truely sorry. I was not strong enough to be good enough to be worthy of her. It lasted nearly twenty years. Most people in America today don't get half that.

I will never again, in my entire life, be as happy as I was with Grace. And I knew that when I left. But there are things in life that are more important than happiness.

Grace -
Thank you for being the most important woman in my life.
You were an excellent lover, an excellent wife, and an excellent mother.
I'm sorry I broke your dream.
- Andy.

There was a TV commercial showing a happily married couple and the man says to the camera "I love my wife.". Grace used to say that that was one of the most horrible things she ever heard. Her feeling was that 'wife' is a role, a job description, a position, and you don't love positions. I loved Grace, and Grace wanted me to love Grace. Grace never particularly wanted me to love 'my wife' or 'the mother of Heather' or 'the lady who cleans my house' or any other such title. It was the person, the human being Grace, which wanted to be loved. That has stuck in my mind all these years.

If I recall correctly, the man in the commercial actually said "I love my wife - I think I'll keep her." It was an effective commercial, a good punch line. It was supposed to irritate feminists by implying that the husband owns his wife. But as far as she would tell me, it was the first half, not the second half, which irritated Grace. I can understand that. Once you accept the first half, that this face next to him is an object called a wife that he can love, then it isn't too much of a stretch to let him own that object. It is the objectification of the person, the reduction from a human to a role, that irritated Grace.

Years later, when Grace and I had broken up, Grace was talking to some other lady about me and she said "Well, I have to say, living with Andy was never dull."

Grace Kinuyo Canfield died peacefully, in her sleep, on 22 April 2017 at 6PM Pacific Standard Time at the age of 72 years old.