Sunday Afternoon Rocking

Valentines Through the Generations

The story goes that she was fifteen, he sixteen. They married not for the sake of love, but to give his younger siblings a home. So it was that two mere children took up housekeeping to raise a house full of children. They grew to love one another, to become old together and to have twelve children of their own. They were my great grandparents.

Pa said he and my grandmother married in 1910, when her family was about to migrate to Texas. She had been smitten by Cupid's arrows and did not wish to leave her beau. Making their decision, they set out down the road, and on the way met the preacher. They married, he said, in the very buggy that sat for all of my memory in the shed out in the pasture. They were my grandparents.

A wonder the marriage of the next generation ever came about. He had come to the city to work in a factory, and took his lunch in the same tiny corner diner that many of the time did. She was the daughter of the owner and did not much cotton to the attitude of the handsome cocky young man who swaggered in, took his seat on a barstool and told her to get him a hamburger and "not to cremate it in the process". Without a word, she flipped it on the grill, flipped it over, plastered the raw meat between two buns and then asked if it was raw enough to suit him. They were my parents.

I have my own love story. Two of them actually. And although the first had not an entirely happy ending, it had a wonderful beginning, one I clasp in my heart and remember looking at my children, I am very glad happened. And were it not for a washing machine, a Chicken Little bookmarker, a Scrabble game, the definition of "serendipity" and a shooting star, the second could not be told. And told they will be, both of the stories, to the grandchildren that ask the same questions I asked the generations that preceded me.

So it goes through the generations, a story for each of them, a story that is the beginning of descendants that follow. And perhaps that is the reason they find it of such interest...had Cupid's arrow not found its mark, they would not have been. Or perhaps, it is just that all the world loves a love story.

Behind each of those faces looking out at us from pictures and in memory is a story, behind each scrap of paper we find that proves an ancestor married an ancestress, is a story. The stories are not documented in dusty old marriage records with their crumbling yellowed pages. They are not recorded on the pages of a family Bible, and they are only to be guessed at looking at the gray hair and lined faces of old photographs. But for those of us who have known our own stories, however they may have ended or began, there is an understanding that the story is there. If those eyes in a photograph could come to life just for a minute there would be a faraway dreamy look within them as they told the story of how it came to be that you are, and I am.

Happy Valentine's Day,

Copyright ©2000JanPhilpot



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Thanks, jan)