Tunnel of love

it ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
And you’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love


Bruce Springsteen

Better times June ’08

Even before marriage I thought this was the most accurate song of a real relationship.  I still think so.  Today is the 15th anniversary of when I met my husband Mark Peel.  My friend Heather was with me.  I had just had a lousy stand up set.  I was in an area of town I barely knew. Heather knew less having just moved to LA from San Francisco where we met each other working Metro Traffic in 1991.  The Tobacco Road of broadcasting.

“We could go to Luna Park or go upscale and go to Campanile.”

“Let’s go upscale” she said.

That changed my life.

It was around 10.  Dinner crowd had drained out.   We perched ourselves on the dark orange leather square seats.  Felix the bartender served us warmly. Great wines, yummy nibbles, we joked to those within earshot. All was good.   I made fun of some guy from the kitchen with a funny hat.  He looked confused.

Later the manager would introduce that man to me.  Chef owner Mark Peel.

He was not my type.  Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about what he looked like without those white clothes on.

Cut to now.  2 children, helped raise my stepson and two older stepchildren who have been very important to my life.  A step grandson who I adore.

But, we are not good.  Details are not for here, but I know I’m not the only one whose great love story does not have “a happily ever after.”

I’ve recently started doing some stand up again.  One of my jokes “weddings are ruined for me.  I’m sitting there with a slow clap, clap.  Good luck.  You two against the world.  Wait till you have to share a sink everyday and watch your spouse floss, yeah, “at last”!!

There is love, some respect and the intense devotion to our children.  I wouldn’t write this if they didn’t know something was rotten in the produce drawer.  They do.  I’m sorry they do.  Most of the time we are “fine”.  But, in my belly there is a daily churn.  Occasionally, so bad I have to have a Brian Wilson day. ( aka not get out of bed)

I started wanting to do mom blog videos back in 2007 because I knew I wasn’t the only mom who felt isolated by new motherhood. Now, I extend the same message, but with a twist: who here is isolated because your marriage is not quite right and you cannot say it aloud?  You don’t want to reveal too much, you don’t want to dog your man, you don’t want to embarass your kids.   I have felt alone the last couple of years.  But, a few weeks ago it shifted for me.  Now, I’m practically stopping strangers on the street.   “Did you find everything you needed?” asks the cashier.

“Not the key to conflict resolution, no I did not.”

The isolation and shame of not having my happily ever after has stifled me creatively as well.  I’ve barely generated one funny, or sad word here in the last couple of years.  I texted to a friend tonight “I’m a shadow of my former self.”

” How did this happen?  I never thought this would be me. ”  I muse.

You know how when you are young you are full of absolutes.  “I would never____” . “If ___ happened, that’s it, I’m gone.”  Then you grow up and all those things happen and you do not change course.  “you learn to live with the things you cannot rise above.”


I’ve written before about my brother’s suicide.  “Why?” People ask.  I ask myself.

“Why do you two have problems?” People ask.   I ask myself.  In both cases, it’s multi layered.  Never one clear, “well, he never folded the laundry!”   “He hated how I chewed my food.”  Now you have the same finances, friends and children. Unlike when you are dating you just can’t grab your toothbrush and favorit pillow and go.   I have no answers and no pronouncements.  I only know as a friend told me once, “we are lost in the storm.”

I know, without knowing, I’m not the only one in this blizzard.

Viv and I in ’12.. the last days Campanile was open. I met her dad a few feet from where we sat

11 thoughts on “Tunnel of love

  1. Daphne-this is Jack Stumpf’s youngest daughter Lori. So sorry to hear about the storm and despair-isolation-shame….the hard and lonely and disconnected place you find yourself in. You write about it with poignant precision – not a standup script that would get laughs but a raw truth telling that sadly is too relatable in this broken world. Your vulnerability here is a bridge to healing I believe-saying it out lead so you remember you have a voice that is desperate to be heard -a God given voice that will be a blessing to just the person that needs to hear it ……especially you! I will pray for you and all those kids and Mark whenever I think of you. Will pray for rest and recovery and healing ….with some levity thrown in. Hope you can be gentle with that big heart you clearly have. Lori

  2. That song has always hit me in the gut.

    I feel you girl. I’ve been married 7 years and the last year was the first time I felt the cracks. Hanging in there. Hope you get through the tunnel.

  3. The feel and the do are so different. You love and want to love sooo hard, but the reality is – this is not where I am supposed to be, but I don’t want to leave. Every day you find the words and the will to say, ‘I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!” Then you have that tender, perfect moment, with promises you never really know if you can keep. You will never be able to go.

  4. Ironically what led me to this “blog” (divine intervention?) I was doing some back history check and I looked up Michael’s in SM and found a picture of a guy in his young 20’s and remembered the reception (first wedding with ALL of the Stockwell’s made an ASS’s of themselves) well just Paul, and looked up Spago after that, and then Campilline and that MaMason relationship with you know who. And I came across a kid (young man look it up he had a beard) I once knew, I guess the favorite picture is the one at Michale’s that guy (knowing him as much as I say I can, well all my life I guess…) he still looked like that guy at UCSB that freeeeked !!!! out along with his sister when I ate some “special brownie’s” for a Rod Stewart concert… but that’s another story without mixed company LOL. All I can say is this about that we all love you the most ! Just saying, ok so I got another story to tell, I guess you know of #1 (code) well Mark was staying at the Palisades during that time as was Ken, I came home for the weekend and I guess #1 had been calling for at least infinity to get a hold of Mark and Ken was doing his best to fend her off..well anyway about the Umpteenth time she called I took the phone and told Ken to follow me…. listening to her rant on the other end (GAWD could she rant !!) we took the phone to the toilet and flushed about 5 times until she shut up and hung up…LOL I’m not sure that was the final straw but anyway all we know she was really, really, wait for it REALLY.. pissed at Mark LOL….. Hmm…and Hell I know I didn’t say anything and Ken was scared of him or her I don’t know which LOL.. so you cant tell on us either ! well OK yes you can…So if ever you question or wonder or get frustrated as we all do remind yourself and him as will many many of us that know…. you ROCKET the mostest.
    LOVE YOU GUYS !! Tell Rex I owe him an Astros shirt.
    The End (hope I made ya smile a bit !)

  5. Oh one last thing light some candles tell the kids to go outside and play with the trucks draw a bath with bubbles..wait for Mark to come home call him in drag him into the bath (with clothes on if necessary !) Krank this song as loud as you can give him a deep soulful kiss and then tell him it was from me and Thanks..!
    (its ok we are cousins !) He will know listening to this !

  6. Wow, I just came across this. I could have written it! So it’s a little over a year later…..has anything changed? I so want a change. I have 2 boys, who are my world and part of the reason I don’t tip over the apple cart. My oldest knows that things aren’t perfect and I don’t think would be surprised if we separated. My youngest would have a really hard time and this is why I hesitate. The other day I did suggest that I should get my own place, however, that was in the heat of the moment of me riding them all about not cleaning up after themselves. I need the courage to put my big girl pants on and just make a move. I’m not getting any younger It’s just so easy and non-confrontational to do nothing. Ugh.

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