Sunday, July 30, 2006

1,000 Acres: A Farm Tale (Part Two)



Continued from Part One

Grandma and Aunt Edith taught the twins, William and Richard, to read before they were sent to school, and so they were put in the third grade immediately. ("That was the only year of my life I knew what was going on in school," Grandpa liked to joke.) They were the youngest, at 15, ever to graduate from the local high school (the same one I graduated from 75 years later). They weren't even old enough to go to college; they had to put off going to Ohio State till they were 16.

There they studied agriculture and had a grand time. They were both dapper and fun-loving, and they had many friends. William was more serious, but Richard was a pianist who could play anything by ear; he was very popular at parties.

After college they came home to farm, with no practical experience despite their degrees in agriculture. Richard invested in chickens and built the large chicken barn that we later kept my pony in, but he went broke and decided to sell out his share of the farm--100 acres.

By that time, William had met my grandmother, Vera, eight years his junior. She was new in town--had just moved there before her senior year in high school. (She got a class ring at her new school, though, which she gave to me many years later, when it was my senior year there). The first Sunday at the local Baptist church was disappointing--it looked like there were no young adults her age there (she didn't know they were all gone to another town for a meeting). She did notice the handsome Sunday School Superintendent, although he was so much older. That was my grandpa, though he later would say that he wasn't even saved at that time. (He gave up smoking though, after hearing some boys say that since the Sunday School Superintendent smoked, it must be all right.)

Years later he called her up and asked her to a picnic at a local country club. ("Do you know who this is?" he asked her first. "No," she lied.) She says she fell in love on that first date. Next he asked her to go with a group to a Sunday School class party in another town, an all-day affair. Her mother, a very strict woman, wasn't inclined to let her go, but Aunt Edith called up Vera's mother and told her in no uncertain terms that it was all right and she should let Vera go. She did. You didn't cross Aunt Edith, I've gathered!

Part Three
The Final Part

3 comments:

Islandsparrow said...

I"m enjoying this story very much - a lot of sadness but it seems like a lot of overcoming as well.

It's so important to record family stories like that - good for you! I wish i had asked my Mom more questions before she died.
I'm looking forward to part 3 :)

5KidMom said...

I'm loving this story!! Thanks so much for sharing. Looking forward to part 3....

tonia said...

wicked grandpa! :) LOVE it!!