My mother. . .I asked her once how she and Dad met. She told me he picked her up one day in front of the drugstore. She then laughed coyly and I was never able to figure out if she was serious. I found it kind of hard to believe since she was always so prim and proper about things. It makes me laugh because knowing my Dad, it was probably true! That scoundrel! I suppose it is true what they say — opposites attract.
Oh, the stories Dad used to tell. He told how some of his best buddies were officers with the Ashland Police Department. I’m sure that was probably a good thing for him. You just never know when you might need someone in authority! Just kidding (I think). I do imagine he was pretty rowdy in his youth. I had that impression not from things he would say but more from the things he didn’t or wouldn’t say. He grew up under entirely different circumstances than Mother. She came from a large well-to-do family and he came up from the streets. His mother died when he was 2 and he was cared for by relatives. I could never really get him to talk much about his family life so I have just tried to fill in the blanks. He grew into a very kind-hearted, honest and generous person so that’s all that matters to me.
Mother and her twin sister became engaged about the same time. Dad had to deal with quite the meddling future in-laws. Mom and Pop put their collective feet down and ordered both girls to immediately break off their respective engagements. My aunt, bless her heart, did as she was told. The family talk was that she was so broken-hearted she never fell in love again. She never married. My Mother on the other hand, defied her parents and eloped.
Dad told a story of their wedding night. Well, part of it anyway. When they returned to town, he somehow learned that some of his cop buddies had found out about his marriage. Their plan was to “arrest” him and make him spend his wedding night in jail. Somewhere along the way, he deposited Mom in a safe place and shortly thereafter a high-speed chase ensued for miles. His cop buddies were chasing him along those little Appalachian curvy, hilly roads determined to “arrest” him. He “let” them catch up to him at the hotel where he worked. He convinced his buddies that he would go along peacefully if they would have some celebratory drinks with him. He got them drunk, he got away, and Mom and Dad finally had their honeymoon!
But the drama didn’t end there. My grandparents (I’d say more my grandfather) were so against the marriage that they forced Mother to file for a divorce. Before the hearing, Dad and Mother were not allowed to see or speak to one another. But Dad was not done yet. It had taken him seven years to convince her to marry him (I think he had a lot of competition!) and he wasn’t just going to go away. He also had friends at the courthouse. Remember this was not a large town. He convinced (or maybe bribed?) someone to get him and Mom alone in a room for just 10 minutes. Well, when the Clerk called their names to appear, they were long gone. My grandparents gave up and never tried to interfere again. My parents were together for 52 years until Dad passed away.
I’m so glad it worked out for them. Especially since I wouldn’t be here otherwise. And I’ve got to be me –who else would I be?