Tuesday, October 29, 2013


As I said, his sister lived on our block.  A Grand Ole Opry show was coming to town and performing at our school.  My sister and her boyfriend wanted to go, but I had to chaperone.   I did not want to go, because I was sewing myself a dress, and I so wanted to finish it because I wanted to wear it to work the next day.   I was such a perfectionist that if there was a stitch out of place, I had to fix it and make it so I felt good about it.  

But I was in a position that if I didn’t go, I’d make my sister mad, and if I didn’t obey my Mom, I’d be in trouble with her.  And if you got in trouble with my Mom---well.  SO---my decision was that I would go, and once they got seated, I would sneak back home and come in the back door and get back to my machine and they would not know it. 


Being wintertime, now, this huge potbellied stove was going in the auditorium.  I decided that I would stand there and get warm, and stay long enough that it was kind of safe to sneak back in at the house.   If I went back too soon, you see, it might be discovered that I was sneaking back in.  I had never met Aunt Bertie yet to know what she looked like, but there was this lady and two small girls.   When she saw me there at the stove---I guess the little girls told her who I was---she approached me, and there was this guy, this HANDSOME sailor that was with them, that just really swept me off my feet.   She introduced him to me as her brother.     (question from me, as I type---Tawa, you had recognized him as the picture by then?”)

“OHHHHHHH, YESSSSS!!!”   (Bold face type, exclamations, harps and choirs of angels).    We went through the formalities, no touching, no handshake, just “hello,” and she didn’t know why I was just standing there, so she invited me tO sit with them.  She didn’t have to beg me.  And to heck with the dress or slipping back home.  

So I sat with them.  The girls sat one on either side of him, and I was down on the other side of one.   Every so often, I’d work at getting a glance at him, and only a profile.   (I told Tawa she couldn’t tell me HE wasn’t looking back---I’ll bet he had his eyes cut so hard toward her he looked like a cat clock).

When the show was over, I went out of the auditorium with them.   He was over to my right side, with the niece still between the two of us.   I did not know at the time, that he kept glancing over at me while we were moving.   And so that ended the evening.

So naturally I told the girls when I went to work the next day that I had seen Prince Charming.  Before the week was over, maybe two days later, this nice little older lady came back to the shop.   And guess who was with her.  He made a purchase---he was looking for Christmas presents for the nieces and purchased a red sweater.  I can see it as if it was yesterday. 

He had to be back on base a day or two before Christmas Eve, and his Mom had already given me his address when she showed me the picture.   It was common
to write to sailors and soldiers during the War, and you’d get a list of five or six, and correspond. 

So I sent him a Christmas card to San Diego, with a lot of trepidation if I should be so bold, so I made a statement on the card that “maybe a card from home will make you feel a little less lonely for Christmas.   Merry Christmas.”  And my name.   Some background information that puts the statements together there---he was stationed in SD and was in steno school, taking shorthand to become a court reporter.     So he replied with a Christmas card, thanking me for the card.   And of course, his name---I can still see it.

Then he did me a phrase, a sentence in SHORTHAND.  I could not read it and did not know what it was and was still too shy to ask anyone what it said.   I didn’t want them to see my message, and didn’t know if I wanted to know it or not.  I replied to the Christmas card in the form of a letter---if my memory serves me right, his card did not get to me before Christmas.   Anyway, my letter expressed “Thanks for the Christmas card.” And a few statements about how our family Christmas was in Alabama. 

At that beginning point, we started corresponding with each other daily.  And it WASN’T in shorthand.    This was in January.  (I’m watching her, silver hair shining in the gleam of the breakfast-table light, hand to forehead, thinking up just the right sentence and order of events).


The last letter that he wrote me before coming home on Sunday, April 22, (I did not receive it until after we were married)---the content of this letter described how he loved me and that I love him and that each of us knew their love for the other.   I can see the point in this line of writing where this statement started: 

“I know that the Lord will work a way for us to be together.” 


and Moire Non . . .


Kim S. said...

Bated breath, my dear! Even knowing how the story goes!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I loved reading this..I really did!
War! How I hate it but it brought a lot of us together to start our lives. It also separated many of us.
I shall be back to see if this is continued! Great writing!

jeanne, backyard neighbor said...

Good morning my dear friend. I came over a couple of times to see the next addition to your story and I missed it. Busy week as always. I have neglected my computer lately.

I was elated to see part 2 this morning. This love story has captured my heart. So much love on the pages of letters is so sweet. Kind of like blog friends huh? I sewed my clothes when I was a teen and can identify with Tawa.

Waiting for more!!!
Love, Jeanne