Through Any Given Door ~ Catherine Sevenau

Catherine Sevenau Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir. The full memoir is available as a web series at A longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country, she can be reached at [email protected]


Hell or high water! 

Posted on June 16, 2022 by Catherine Sevenau

Chapter 35: 1947 • Sonora
Missive to Marceline (part 1 of 2)
When our cousin Marceline turned seventeen (the same age Mom was when she married Dad), she became engaged to a young man named Roy. She wrote my mother of her wedding plans; Mom penned her niece in return a four-page letter:

May 2, 1947
Dear Marceline:
Received your letter when I got home late last night. Carl didn’t know where he had put it, but I found it by accident, otherwise I never would have found it.

Marceline, I don’t know this boy and therefore don’t know anything one way or the other about him, but I am going to put in my 2 cents worth. I don’t care who you marry but if you marry as young as you are you will regret it. I did, your mother did and so have hundreds of women I know and every darned one of us wishes we had waited until we were older. From 16 until 26 is the best time of your life. You may think you will be divinely happy and you probably will be—for six months. By then the glamour is gone. I tell you going out on dates with a boy is a lot different than having to look at him across the table day in and day out, going to bed with him night after night; it may be swell at first, but oh you get your belly full in such a short time, and I don’t mean that with a double meaning, but you probably will. You know Marceline, you were raised to be a good Catholic and with your heredity you will probably have an immense family if you don’t do something, have you thought about that? If you intend to follow rhythm, for heaven’s sake, get some good advice on it and follow it, come hell or high water! But for your own sake, for God’s sake, change your mind before it is too late. When you’re married you’re married for a long time, don’t go into it with the idea in the back of your mind that if you don’t like it you can get a divorce, go on and finish school and get a little experience first, don’t ever fear that you won’t get another chance. You know another thing Marce, you have never had to skimp in your life, you don’t know how to stretch money, and boy, the price of things now you are going to have to skimp. You may think now that it will be fun to be working, but when you have to leave work you have to shop, then hurry home and cook. Oh, I know, your thinking, “well, we will eat out,” but you will be darned lucky if you get to eat out once a week, there is the rent, the gas lights, and dozens of other items that you don’t think of now, but they will pop up and soon there will be one continuous struggle to keep your head above water. Your pride will keep you from appealing for help from your folks or his. I know you don’t believe any of this is going to happen but you wait and see, the same thing has happened to so many thousands of others. Why do you think it won’t to you?

To be continued…

Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir, available at She is an author of three books, several volumes of family genealogy, and a longtime Broker/Realtor at CENTURY 21 Epic Wine Country. [email protected]t


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