The Chronicles of Harold
By Harold, Editor-At-Large
True Romance Enters My Life
One evening the neighbor boy and I loaded a lawn mower in the trunk of my car to deliver to some of their family friends, a widow with three girls, (one married) who lived in the next little town. I noticed the two girls when we unloaded the mower and after showing them how to run it, we went back home.
I was asked to go and pick up the mower a couple of days later and when I did, the Mother was out there and we got acquainted. She offered me a glass of iced tea and since this was August in central Illinois, I readily accepted. We sat on the porch swing and her daughters came out, including the married one who was there for a visit, and we were introduced. The middle girl kept looking at me kind of shyly and I smiled when she looked my way again. She smiled back and came and sat down on the porch closer to us. Mom went back in the house and she sat down on the porch swing with me and we proceeded to get better acquainted. When I asked her, “Are you open to my courting you?”
She said, “You have to ask Mom.” I did so and after a careful grilling, her Mother agreed that I could indeed call on her, but our meetings had to be there at her house until she knew me better before she would allow us to date.
Catherine was sixteen, nearly seventeen at the time and I was twenty, so the age difference was not nearly so great. She was a gorgeous girl and I was amazed that she would actually speak to me let alone agree to courtship.
When I returned home, my brother asked me if I had met the girls and I said, “I did, and I’m going to start courting the middle one.”
He said, “Boy, you sure do move fast! Come on and we will go back and pay them a visit, since I need to take them some eggs, and I bought a ten pound can of coffee for her Mother since she loves her coffee.”
We went back and had a pleasant visit after which Catherine walked us back to the car and said good night. My brother said he highly approved of the situation. I said that had not even crossed my mind — asking anyone’s approval. These were prophetic words that nearly caused a break between a couple of my sisters and me later on.
Time went on and in late September, we were allowed to leave on dates. I had told her prior to dating that I was a poor boy and could not afford to wine and dine her nor to go to a lot of attractions, but we would just simply have to be satisfied with being with each other.
She said, “If I haven’t noticed, I’m a poor girl too and didn’t expect an expensive, no cost barred type of entertainment.” We went on nature walks and had several picnics and by October it was plain that we would be compatible.
I asked her in October, “Will you accept the fact that I will never be able to shower you with jewels and furs, but will promise to always love and cherish you. And I will keep a roof over your head and food in the house. I would like to marry you.”
She replied, “I’ve fallen in love with you also, and want you no matter what. I’m quite willing to settle for what you can offer since on the face of it, it is more than I have now.”
We asked her mother for permission to marry. And her mother’s first response was “Do you have to get married?” We told her no, that we were not doing anything like that and we just wanted to get married.
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