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Old Fashioned Courtship and Perseverance

by on November 19, 2012

I’m thankful for my dad’s perseverance because without that I wouldn’t haven’t written this post.

Apparently the picture shows a very dapper young man about to go ‘a courting’ in the late sixties in Mississippi. A few things you have to know about my dad before this story unfolds. He entered college on the GI Bill after serving in the Vietnam. He was hit by shrapnel that partially paralyzed the left side of his face, leaving him unable to smile or completely open his left eye. In essence, he looks like he’s scowling all the time.

He kinda likes it that way. He’s not a social butterfly.

So he was a 25 year old freshman when his younger brother was an 18 year old freshman. Guess who else was a freshman? That’s right – Mom!

My mom and my future uncle became friends and he invited her to lunch with his older brother who didn’t live on campus. As the only one with a job, Dad paid for this lunch.

For the next few weeks, Mom showed up at the brothers’ lunch and Dad paid for it. One day, Dad asks her why she is always mooching. He’s trying to joke but because of the angry scowl and his deep voice, he can’t tell jokes.

Mom bursts into tears – full blown heaving sobs and in southern belle fashion runs from the table. Dad chases after her and apologizes. He invites her to lunch the next day, just the two of them. That turned into lunch for the next two weeks.

Not a single kiss and she wouldn’t let him hold her hand.

Then he asked her out for a party on the weekend. My mom had to tell him that she wasn’t allowed to go because her mom picked her up every Friday after her last class and she didn’t return to campus until her first class on Monday morning. (Now you may have thought your parents were strict but you never met my grandma!)

Dad’s bright idea was to visit the small town Mom was from and take her out there.  That got a ‘no’ from my grandma. She did however agree to meet him one Friday before driving my mother home. Bad idea! My grandma disliked Dad instantly and forbade my mother from seeing him. (Maybe it was the outfit?)

With summer break approaching, my Dad was getting antsy. How was he supposed to go through an entire summer without seeing this girl? He worked on Mom to get her to talk some sense into my grandma. In the end, Mom resorted to contacting her dad and begging for his help.

Thank goodness for Granddaddy! He worked out a compromise. My Dad could have dinner with the family once a week and then watch TV.

Dad wasn’t exactly thrilled, but it was better than nothing. His first dinner at my grandma’s home was a family affair. There was the dinner for about twelve relatives where he was seated far away from my Mom. Then there was the promised television viewing where he sat on one end of the sofa and my mother sat on the other end with my grandma in between. At 10pm, he was shooed out of the house by my grandma while my Mom waved good-bye behind her.

This went on for the entire summer. As Dad says when he tells this story – I don’t know why I kept driving 120 miles that whole summer!

Oh, we all know why!

He and Mom eloped one month into her sophomore year of college. They struggled as my grandmother had predicted, but they also enjoyed twenty years of marriage before Mom’s passing in 1990.

You’ll find a little of my parents’ relationship in each of my stories. The characters are playful with each other – that‘s the example of love I grew up with. Love is fun and well worth the drive!


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  1. What a lovely story! Tales of true love always thrill me. And that outfit…whoa! But hey, I’ve seen worse styles, right? I enjoyed reading this post.

  2. What a sweet story. I laughed when I imagined those ‘dates’ with grandma sitting in between them on the sofa.

  3. Thank you Dahlia and Tricia! Dad is going to kill me when he sees this picture!

  4. Oh wow…I loved this story. So beautiful. Thank you!

  5. Shyla Colt permalink

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing this Vallory. True love like this is why I write/read romance.

  6. It always makes me smile Nikki just because Dad is not a touchy feely kinda of person. And me too, Shyla!

  7. Lovely story! Thanks for sharing, Shyla. 🙂

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