I met my Husband of nearly 54 years ago, on a sunny day on the main street of Dexter, Maine. He was leaning on a parking meter waiting for his friend Joe, who was trying to convince me to go out with him; of course, Joe was trying to convince me to go out with him. Joe and I worked in the Dexter Shoe Shop, not together, but on different floors. I had been turning him down, but this day, I said yes. He had been telling his friend Shirl about “this Redhead that he had been trying to date for a year”.
It could have been because of the great looking guy with him, tall, just under 6 ft., blond wavy hair and the bluest eyes I had ever seen, or because it would be a double date! So I put him through some paces, just for the fun of it. I told him, yes, if he came down to the farm and met my parents, first. I didn’t need their approval, I was 20 years old, but, it seemed like a fun thing to do.
The great looking guy, Shirley (Shirl) was dating three other girls. Damn. So they showed up all dressed up for the Bar-L dance hall, which was just a big converted barn. These two guys were like long lost brothers, even though they only knew each other for a few months. We were dancing and they bumped into each other, they paused, looked daggers at each other, they took off their coats, and just passed then to each other and put them on. This may sound blah, but the fact that Shirl is just shy of 6 ft. and Joe is just shy of 5” 6’ makes it hilarious. They just turned around started dancing with their respective partners, while everyone surrounding just stood with their mouths open.
We had a great time all that summer, going to dances, picnicking, swimming, and just enjoying being young. Shirl and I teased Joe about his use to our language, which was a little unfair, as he did not speak a word of English, when we came across the border from Canada. He learned to speak from watching TV, which was pretty impressive. He actually used his brothers ID, and even bought a 57 Pontiac, which was very fast!!
Shirl had just buried his father, and was grieving in his own way, while trying to keep his Father’s Pulp business going. The saddest thing is that I never got to meet him as an adult. You, see, I knew his Dad when I was a little girl. Shirl says that he would have loved me. I know I would have loved him, as I already did.
My family lived in a big old duplex house on Middlesex Ave, which was behind the stores on Main Street, which was probably the cheapest rent that we could afford. Shirl’s father, Don, delivered Ice to our Ice Box. If you don’t know what that is, it is a sort of refrigerator. It is a box that you put a big chunk of Ice in to keep you food cold. BTW, not only did Don deliver the ice, his family cut big squares of it out of the Wassokeag Lake in the winter, and stored it in a huge warehouse encased in sawdust for summer delivery.
Anyway, Don was wonderful to all the kids in the neighborhood, when he delivered ice; he would cut a piece off and give it to all of us kids, never from the floor of the Ice Truck, but from a block of ice he could sell. One day I was showing him my kitty, all dressed up in doll clothes. He tried to tell me that the cat didn’t like to be dressed up. I told him no she loved it, and he told me she would run away if I didn’t stop. I looked up into his eyes, BTW which were, one green and one blue, as he had lost an eye as a child and had a glass eye, and knew he was wrong. One day, of course the kitty did run away. My kitty also had one green eye and one blue eye.
I trooped up to his house and knocked on the door, and asked if they found my kitty. I was pretty sure that he had taken my cat. Can you see my logic?
I tell people that Shirl’s daddy was an Ice man and he is a nice man too!
That summer we double dated with Shirl and one of his many dates. One day when we met, Shirl had a Bee sting on his upper lip, poor kid it was all swelled up. So as a joke, I kissed it to make it better. Joe and Shirl’s dates were furious!
Later in the day we stopped by a park with a small stream running through it. While, we were just setting, Shirl’s date, of the day, got all excited and wanted to have each of us throw a Maple leaf in the stream and see what happens. Well, Joe’s leaf and Shirl’s date’s leaves just floated over to opposite sides and caught on the bank. Shirl’s and my leaf met in the middle of the stream and locked together and floated down the stream.
I bought a horse that summer! I had always wanted a horse when I was little, and it was not something that we could afford. When I started working at the Shoe Shop, the second thing that I bought was a horse. The first thing was to have a well drilled on the farm. Shirl and Joe used a Pulp Truck to bring Chocolate Boy home to me. A Pulp Truck! That horse was scared to death! Good thing that it was back in the “old days”. Now they would never be allowed to do that. When we got him home, Joe decided that he would ride Chocolate Boy. So he proceeded to hop on his back, and Chocolate Boy proceeded to buck him right off again
. Joe never got on him again.
We double dated all summer and in the fall, Joe told Shirl that he had to go back to Canada, and for him to take care of me, and for the past nearly 53 years he has done that.
Shirl was born Dec 26th, so he never really had a birthday party. On his 60th birthday, I planned a party for him with about 35 people, and flew his daughter who was living in Washington State, down for Christmas and his birthday. To say he was clueless and surprised is an understatement. I will blog about the party some other time, but couldn’t forget the cake that I commissioned from the local Grocery store. I told the ladies at the counter the above story, and they exclaimed with tears in their eye, “just leave it to us, you will love it”. And love it I did. It was a half sheet, with a stream running through it with two maple leaves in the center. It was the hit of the party, and brought tears to my eyes, too! Just thinking about it, now, makes me a little misty.
Our Daughter lives in Seattle, WA and, our Son lives in Bentonville, AR with his Daughter. So the fact that we are Full-Time RV’ers should not come as a great big shock. On one of our trips to WA to visit our Daughter, our Son and family drove up to join us. On the way to WA they made a few tourist stops and found a great pair of earrings, Maple leaves dipped in gold. They are my favorites because of the memories attached to them, and I get many compliments on them.