Remembering A Man And A Marriage

Oct 7, 2011

Thomas Morris worked for nearly 30 years at the Brentwood Post Office in Washington, D.C.

"When he would get off work, he would get home in the early morning and we would go out to eat breakfast at 2, 3, 4 o'clock in the morning," his wife, Mary, says.

The couple married on May 1, 1991, within 90 days of meeting each other at his mother's funeral. Mary says she was impressed by how well he had looked after his mother.

"And you know if a man treats his mother right, he's going to treat his wife right," she explains during a visit to StoryCorps in Beach Park, Ill.

At one point back in 2001, Mary says, Thomas said he wasn't feeling well.

"We went to the doctor and the doctor said it sounded like flu symptoms," she says. "And one morning Thomas woke me up and said that something was really wrong. So he placed the call to 911, and they took him to the hospital. I expected him to come back home, but that wasn't to be the case."

Thomas Morris, 55, was one of two postal service workers to die in October 2001 after coming in contact with a letter laced with anthrax bacteria.

"After he passed, I was living by myself again, and Thomas' voice was on our answering machine," Mary recalls. "I don't know how, but I erased it, and I thought, I will never ever hear his voice again. But that would always have left me expecting something to happen that was never gonna happen. When someone passes you think that they are going to show up [at] the dinner table. It takes a while to get used to the fact that it's no more.

"I miss him, but then I think that with all those people going in and out of the Brentwood Post Office, only two died," she says. "That was nothing but the grace of God."

The Morrises were married for 10 years.

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman.

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