To the readers: There is no sex in this story. It's a story about a man and a woman and how they met and lived. It's a story written for Valentine's Day. The story is told by their eldest daughter. A special 'Thank You' to Estragon for editing this story and making it a much better read.
This story is about my Mom and Dad. They both had passed away a few months apart. Mom went first at age eighty-one and Dad at age eighty-four. They had been married sixty-two years.
This story only covers a very small aspect of their lives. Every two years we have a family reunion at Lola Valley Park, in Michigan. It been going on as long as I can remember. Throughout the years, as our elders passed away, the next generation of our family continued on with the tradition.
My generation is now the eldest, since the death of my parents. We all vowed to keep the reunion going, so the youngest of the children would have insight into the lives of their now-deceased relatives.
We are the Connors clan, even though my name is Rogers, since I got married forty years ago. I'm the matriarch of the family now, at sixty years old. I've got two brothers and two sisters. We all have children and grandchildren of our own.
My name is Christine; my two sisters are Cheryl and Cathy. My brothers are Carl Jr., and Charles. Yes, all of our family's first names started with a C. Mom's name was Caroline and of course Dad was Carl.
When we take into account all our cousins and their families, we have quite a reunion. Someone from each of our families is picked to tell a story about our family. It's usually fun stories, about things the younger kids didn't know about their grandparents and great-grandparents.
I, being the oldest, was asked to tell the story how my parents met and what kind of people they were.
We always have a ton of food; everyone brought covered dishes, and plenty of soft drinks for the youngsters and a few beers for us. After everyone was through playing games and eating, we would sit down and tell our stories.
I've told this story many times to my three kids and even to my five grandchildren. It never gets old and brings tears to my eyes.
The story was told to me by both my Mom and Dad. Of course when I was old enough I could see everything for myself. These two people really loved each other but you would never picture them as a couple.
Dad was a big man; I mean a really big man. He was 6'4" and weighed over two hundred seventy-five pounds in his heyday. Mom was 5'1" and maybe a hundred and ten pounds, soaking wet.
Dad worked at Ford Motor Company. His dad, my Paw-Paw, got him a job there when he was nineteen. He worked on the second shift. He still lived at home so before work he would stop at the drug store and get something to eat. Back then Cunningham Drug Stores had a dairy bar and lunch counter.
That's where Dad met Mom. She worked there part-time at the lunch counter. She was still in high school and was in a school-work program. According to Mom, Dad tried to get her to go out with him for over a month. Of course Dad tried to deny it. He said he was just there for lunch. One day Dad went into the store and told Mom he was drafted and would be leaving in a month.
Mom got nervous; she really cared for dad but always tried not to show it. The next time he asked her out, she said yes. They saw each other every day at the lunch counter and went out every weekend. Before Dad left for basic training they vowed to write each other regularly.
When you hear people say that 'absence makes the heart grow fonder', it was true in this case. Mom had saved every letter that Dad had written her. She went on with her life and worked every day. Her parents, my Grandma and Grandpa, were mad at her for not going out with other boys that asked her out.
They liked Dad but just couldn't picture him and Mom together. Mom did go to her high school prom but she said all she could think about was Carl, my Dad. She did say her date was a nice looking guy and she did kiss him goodnight but she felt she had cheated on Dad.
The funny thing was they weren't even going together. They had just promised to write each other. Mom got worried when Dad told her he was going to Korea. They called it the "Korean conflict" but everyone knew it was a war. Dad had been gone for nearly two years. Mom was getting fewer letters from Dad and one day they stopped.
She went to see Dad's parents and asked if they had heard from Dad but they said they hadn't. According to Mom, she broke down and cried. My future Grandma took her in her arms and hugged her. "Caroline, no news is good news. You have to understand that. Just pray for his safe return."
Mom returned to work the following Monday. When she looked up, a serviceman was sitting at the counter. It was Dad; he had returned home. Mom ran to him and was crying. They hugged and kissed right there in the store.
Dad turned around and there was a display of chocolate covered cherries right behind him. He grabbed a box, got down on one knee and asked Mom to marry him. He handed her the box of cherries and promised her they could go shopping for a ring later.
She cried, took the box of cherries, said, "Yes, I'll marry you!" and the rest is history.
Dad got his job back at Ford, and ended up retiring from there forty years later. Mom still worked at Cunningham's till she was pregnant with me. She then became a stay at home mom. She had four more kids over the next ten years.
We were a happy family. Mom always let Dad think he was the boss but we all knew better. Dad's philosophy was, "Keep your mother happy and everyone will be happier; mom gets mad, everybody pays for it." It was a pretty true statement.
Dad pretty much went along with what Mom wanted. Mom was smart enough to know not to push Dad too far. To us kids, Dad was just a big Teddy Bear, but for us girls, our dates and other men were afraid of Dad. He didn't talk much but when he did, people listened.
Dad wasn't big about holidays; even Christmas he thought was way too commercial. He would argue with Mom about buying so many gifts. The one thing he would do is make each of us something out of wood. He spent a lot of his free time in the garage where he did his woodworking. We were older before we realized how much more the gifts he made meant to us. He made model cars for the boys and dollhouses for us girls.
Each year he made us something new. He even did the same thing for our kids after they were born. He made mom all types of things, a grandfather clock, rocking chairs for both of them, end tables and many other things.
Some people might have considered him tight but he would help most anyone out.
The one thing that he bought every year for Mom was on Valentine's Day. I think it was his favorite holiday (even though not a real holiday). Looking back, the day he returned from the service, it was Valentine's Day.
He would make sure that Mom received a box of chocolate covered cherries. I don't think a year past that she didn't get a box of cherries. One year the local store was out of them and he drove forty miles each way to make sure he got them.
Mom and Dad did have their ups and downs. The thing was Dad would never harm Mom in any way. If anyone tried to make a pass at Mom, Dad would interfere.
A couple of stories I didn't tell the kids I'll mention in this story. Mom and Dad didn't go out much when we kids were little, since all us kids were so close in age. After we got older Mom convinced Dad to go out dancing once in a while. Dad wasn't much of a dancer but he did try.
Mom had eventually got her old job back at the store. She worked in different departments. Dad didn't want her to work but she was getting bored with all of us kids in school. She set up a schedule so she could always be home when we got home from school.
A couple of women asked Mom to go out with them about once a month. Dad didn't like the idea but knew Mom deserved some free time of her own. He did go to ball games and often took some of us kids with him.
Mom always dressed up nice. She would always kiss Dad before she left to go out and he wouldn't go to bed until she returned. He always told us he trusted her but was still worried about her. Come to think about it, he always waited up for his daughters till we got back from a date also.
Sometimes Mom and her friends went to bingo, jewelry parties and even out dancing. Mom told me and my sisters this story. Dad never knew that we know what happened.
Mom did tell dad that she had danced with men but it was only dancing and nothing more. Dad wasn't overly happy to hear that. She said she and her friends always stayed together and didn't except drinks from strangers.
That made Dad a little happier. On one of Mom's nights out with the girls, a couple of guys where Dad worked asked him if he wanted to go out for a few beers. He mentioned it to Mom and told her he'd see her when she returned home from her night out.
Dad was big on country music. It's all he would listen to in the garage while doing his woodworking. He and his friends went to that type of bar/lounge where they could watch the people line dance. A couple of Dad's friends were pretty good dancers but Dad was just a spectator.
The place was crowded and Dad and his friends got a table near the back of the room, but the floor was raised and he had a great view of the dance floor. He was surprised to see Mom and her two girlfriends there dancing. He always loved to watch her dance, especially if it was for him.
.... There is more of this story ...
Tear Jerker /