My Valentine

Lest you think I’m so old I’ve forgotten about all the romance in my life, I thought I’d go back to the beginning.

This is how my hubby looked back when I met him on our blind date. A girlfriend had called and said she and a bunch of kids were going out, but a date was needed for a sailor, would I be interested? I was a senior in high school and certainly thought I could do as I pleased and said, “yes.” I left a note just saying I was going on a blind date–no other info.

The group that was going out started walking in my direction and I in theirs. We probably lived about 3 miles away from one another. My two girlfriends and their older sister all showed up with servicemen in uniform, another sailor and I believe a Marine and soldier. The extra was cute as could be, but a bit on the drunk side. I’d never seen anyone who was drunk before, but I didn’t worry about it. We headed back in the direction of my friends’ but when we reached the streetcar tracks, we all boarded one heading for downtown L.A. We ended up in a Chinese restaurant where they had a live band and dancing.

Unfortunately, my date said he didn’t know how to dance. (He really didn’t, but after we married I taught him and he became a better dance than I ever was.) The other fellows in the party all took pity on me and asked me to dance–each one saying they were sorry that my date was such a dud.

Of course as time went on, my sailor (whom I soon learned was a Seabee) sobered up and began talking more. By the time we got back to my friends’ house, we’d learned a lot about one another. My date was going to school at the Port Hueneme Seabee Base and had hitch hiked to L.A. for some fun. He’d run into the other military fellows who’d brought him along to my friend’s.

My friend said her mom would take me home–but she never showed up and it started getting really late–way past midnight. Of course I didn’t even think to call home. My date and walked back to my house. Lights blazed which meant my parents were waiting for me. I’ll say they were. After the initial interrogation, I introduced my blind date and asked if he could spend the night.

Mom conferred with my dad in the kitchen. We heard him holler, “Who? Do what?”

Next we were brought into the kitchen where my blind date was interrogated by my father. One question I remember was, “Are you a Christian, boy?” Blind date’s answer, “I’m a Methodist, does that count?”

To make this story a bit shorter, blind date who I now called Hap was given a blanket and pillow and put in the den on the couch. He came to our house every weekend, except when he had the duty. He spent a lot of time with my dad who was working on a boat in the garage. He went along with us when the boat was taken out in the ocean the first time.

Most of our time was spent on family outings, but once in awhile we went on a real date to a movie. It was on one of these “real dates” that he proposed.

At the time I was 17 and Hap was 20. In California at the time, the female had to be 18 and the male 21 to get married without the parents’ permission. We were not given permission. Hap finished his schooling and was sent back to Norfolk VA. Before he left, Mom promised if he got overseas orders, she’d see that I got back East to marry him.

It wasn’t long before I received a call that the overseas orders had come through. Mom kept her promise and we traveled by train back to Washington DC and Hap met us and took us to his family’s home. We were married by his minisiter in the parsonage on the next weekend. Mom cried when she left me behind.

There were lots of hard times after that–and plenty of good ones. The marriage survivied despite everyone’s predictions of disaster, we had five children, and to date, eighteen grandkids and eleven great-grands. We’ll celebrate 60 years of marriage this coming October.

And that’s the story behind my Valentine.


5 replies
  1. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Marilyn, I love that story! And what a cute pic of Hap! So glad you filled us in on the details behind your blind date. What a riot…and what good folks your parents were to let him sleep on the couch in the den!

  2. Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith
    Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith says:

    When I think how my folks must have worried when they had no idea where I was or who I was with, I cringe. If one of my kids had done that, I'd have been out of my mind. Mind you, this was L.A., true an earlier time, but plenty of bad stuff went on back then too, but like all teens I thought I was invincible.


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