Saturday, August 8, 2009

Short Story: My Mother-In-Law's Wedding Carriage was a 1936 Ford Coupe


Times were hard in the early summer of 1940. My mother-in-law, Geneva, told us various stories about the hardships, but the one I remember most was her working in the cotton fields from sun up to sun down to earn twenty-five cents. It was just enough money to buy two and a half yards of material to make a dress.

Back then, few young men and women had money to spend on fancy weddings. Geneva’s best friend from high school, Berta, and her husband, Herman Prater, had married two weeks before at a gas station in a nearby small town. On June 20, 1940, Geneva and her boyfriend, Thurston LaRoque, decided they would marry. Their good friends, Herman and Berta, would be their attendants.

So they drove into Cisco, Texas in Herman’s 1936 Ford Coupe, all four packed in like sardines. The two women rode in the front seat with Herman, and Thurston rode curled up on his side in the small raised space, called the package tray, behind the seat. It was so crowded, Herman reached over to put his hand on Berta’s leg, and Geneva said, “Herman, that’s my leg, not Berta’s.”

When they arrived at the gas station, Thurston took Geneva’s seat and sat her on his lap while the preacher/gas station owner married them. They were unable to take any pictures, as cameras and film were expensive. But, the memory was kept alive through the years by sharing it with kids and grand kids alike.

Geneva and Thurston settled in Brown County in the small town of May, Texas. They had two sons, Larry and Steve. Herman and Berta moved from the area and later settled in Colorado. The two couples kept in touch over the years. Unfortunately the Prater’s were unable to have children but had several nieces, nephews, and cousins to shower with love. In the late 1980’s they moved back to Texas.

Thurston’s health began to fail in the 1980’s and when he worsened in the spring of 1990, Herman visited him in the hospital. Thurston passed away in April of 1990. In December of 1990, Berta passed away and Geneva attended her funeral.
The following year, Herman and Geneva started spending time together. Though neither were dancers, they enjoyed visiting musicals in the area to listen and tap their toes. On September 18, 1992 they married at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas with Geneva’s oldest son, Larry, their only attendant.

Geneva and Herman feel so fortunate to have loved, and been loved deeply, twice in their lifetimes. Geneva’s children and their families have been doubly blessed to have had two wonderful men in their lives to love. And Herman showers them with love in return and is happy to have them in his life. At least that’s what he tells us. And after one of his bear hugs, we believe him.
The End
Since this story was written, both Herman and Geneva have passed on. They are truly missed by so many. I'm posting this memory of two young couples who later became one old couple in honor of Thurston, Geneva, Herman and Berta. It's a reminder that live is a journey--live it to it's fullest.
Happy Reading and Writing!
Linda

31 comments:

  1. A beautiful story. What a great tribute!

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  2. That is such a wonderful, true story of real love. It is a true blessing to be loved by one spouse, but to have been loved by still another is twice blessed. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks, Jennifer. I've always thought it was an awesome story.

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  4. So true, Anna. We always felt Geneva and Herman were lucky to have each other.

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  5. That was very touching and so true about the hardships folks faced back then. My grandmother also worked the cotton fields in Georgetown, TX when she was young. Her mother was the dietician for the local university there and she let my grandmother dance on the tables and sing when she was about 6. The students would toss her pennies for the entertainment.

    I'm so happy they found love twice. That's very special indeed.

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  6. What a great story. So often we forget what our parents went through. We have it so easy and they had it so hard.

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  7. Wonderful story. Makes me misty.

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  8. Hi Ciara,
    What a cute story about your grandmother. Yes, they did have hard lives. They were a lot tougher than we are.

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  9. So true, Cheryl. They knew how to work. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Made me a little misty, too, Mary while I was posting it. We miss them.

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  11. Great story. You are lucky if you find love once but to find it twice is a wonderful thing.

    lorettaC.
    lbcanton@verizon.net

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  12. Oh Linda... This story tugged at sentimental tears. The sweet wonderful tide of love, moving and changing and growing. I adore the ending, and the blessings that were given and received by the two couples who turned into one couple. Thank you so much for sharing. No wonder your stories have such heart, you draw from such romantic truth.

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  13. So true, Loretta. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. Hi Angelica and Zi. Isn't it a sweet story. We were so surprised when Geneva and Herman started seeing each other. He was a sweetheart.

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  15. Oh Linda,
    What a wonderful story.
    Reminds me of my own parent's wedding. They were married at the Presbyterian manse, Dad had jsut got out of the army and there was still rationing after the war, so my mother couldn't have a wedding dress either.
    Cheers
    Margaret.

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  16. linda, that was lovely. thank you for sharing.

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  17. awwwwww, this story was so touching! How cool to have found great loves twice in their lives!

    Val
    lastnerve2000@gmail.com

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  18. Hi Margaret. I've noticed from many pictures of that era the women didn't wear wedding dresses, just pretty suits or dresses. Thanks for your comment.

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  19. Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  20. LINDA--what a precious story, and very different. You know I LOVE these kinds of tales--I, too write them. Are you my sister? The 1936 Ford coupe--when I wrote on my blog about out trip across New Mexico and Arizona to Long Beach in our 1940 Ford, I Googled it and found hundred of photos of Fords--the one you spoke of was probably there.I found the exact one we owned, copied it, and added it to my blog post.(love those anklets with her sandals.) Celia

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  21. Hi, Celia. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, love the anklets, too. What a style? I must have missed your story about the 1940 Ford. I'll have to go back and look it up.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  22. What a lovely story, Linda. My grandmother shared her romantic memories of her husband with me all through my childhood. He was killed in a boat on the English Channel during the war. Nana was in her mid-twenties when he died, but she never remarried and raised my mother and my uncle all alone. Whenever she spoke of my grandfather, her eyes teared up. Nana passed away three years ago, and I know she's finally reunited with her beloved John. I'm hoping to write a story based on my grandmother's life at some point. It's as if I'm gearing up to it, so I can do it justice.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  23. Oh my, Francesca, what a sad story. How wonderful that she shared with you and you can write her story for generations to come. I'd love to read it when you finish.

    Thank you for stopping by and sharing about your grandmother.

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  24. I love hearing old family stories. Makes me wonder what kind of interesting detail I'll be able to tell my children someday. Oh, wow, it just hit me. I'm going to have a child to pass all my family stories onto now. Thank you, Linda! I hadn't even thought of that until just now.

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  25. Are you pregnant, Linda??? How wonderful!!!

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  26. What a beautiful story, Linda! That is just the sweetest thing ever.

    Long live love in all its incarnations. *smile*

    --Chiron O'Keefe
    The Write Soul: www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

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  27. I think so, Chiron. They were fortunate to love twice in a lifetime. Thanks for stopping by.

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  28. What a beautiful story. Thank you for posting it. It's exactly my in-laws' story.

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  29. Oh, Linda, thank you for this wonderful story. It brought tears to my eyes.

    Sandy

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  30. Thank you, Mona and Sandy, for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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