Photographs and family trees tell some of the story; however, a personal story can speak volumes. It doesn’t have to be a history story that would make even a paragraph in a history textbook. It doesn’t have to be a story that ranks a newspaper headline to be a good story. Perhaps the best stories aren’t ones that receive heavy circulation. Perhaps the best can be found among stories handed down for generations. Such stories though simple can be a blessing to those who received it.
Once upon a time, there was a young lady who spent an afternoon working over a hot stove to bake a pie. She was as sweet as she could be at sweet 16. She labored over that pie so that it would be taste-worthy enough to be bought by her date to the pie supper that night.
Pie suppers were common back then. It was a way for a community to raise money and folks to get their sweet tooths filled. This was how it worked. The young lady baked the pie; the lucky fella escorted her to the supper and bought the pie; and they both sat down and enjoyed it at the pie supper. That is, provided the pie didn’t give the young fella a stomach ache.
The young girl was escorted by a fella she described as a “cowboy”. He bought the pie and then sat down to eat a slice or two. She took it as a good sign that the cowboy didn’t have to wash it down with his drink.
The whole scene changed when a fella comes in by the name of Edgar (Ed for short). He looks over and sees the young lady with the cowboy. She sees him out of the corner of her eye. Eyes meet and sparks fly.
Ed is so taken with the young girl that he has the nerve to go over and sit down with the “lady and the cowboy”. Shortly thereafter, the “cowboy” gets up and they ask where he’s going. He just said something to the effect, “I”m not needed here.” The cowboy picked up on the signal that something was happening between his pie supper date and Ed. He didn’t care for being a third wheel. The lady asked if he wanted the pie since he bought it. He didn’t and left the supper by his lonesome.
I can identify more with the cowboy in this story. I know about being the third wheel. With my autism, I haven’t always known like the cowboy of picking up the signal and knowing it was my time to leave.
That evening began a long journey for the young girl and her one and only love Ed. He didn’t waste much time asking for her hand in marriage and she wasted not a second telling him yes. But then came the tough part. Back in those days, 1929 exactly, it was proper for a gentleman to ask the lady’s parents for her hand in marriage.
Ed wasn’t brave enough to ask the young lady’s father. He knew she was the apple of her Daddy’s eyes. He thought he stood a better chance of asking her mother. Her mother Mary’s response is: “I don’t know why. She can’t cook. She can’t keep house.”
Ed’s response was something like: “Ma’am, that’s not what I asked you. I love your daughter. I want to marry her. What is your answer?”
Mary’s answer was Ed had her blessing. I suspect Mary put Ed on the spot on purpose. She was perhaps a woman before her time. In 1929, women were not found at the workplace earning a salary. Women were expected to be hard-working wives, mothers, and housekeepers. Marriages weren’t necessarily based on love. Divorces were rare a century ago, but I don’t know if that meant there were more happier marriages back then or not. Anyway, Mary had her daughter’s back as we would say now. She wanted her child to be more than a housekeeper in her husband’s eyes. Maybe Mary had that with Annie’s father and she wanted her daughter to have no less.
The young girl was Annie, my Grandpa’s little sister, my Great Aunt, and my pen pal for the last five years of her life. She wrote me this story and I don’t think she would have minded my sharing it. It isn’t a story to be hidden in my chest of Annie’s love letters.
Annie and Ed were married in October of 1929. Sixty-six years and four grown children later, Ed passed away. Annie joined him some seven years later.
It’ll never be known what Annie’s story had been if Ed hadn’t gone to the pie supper that night. I’m glad he did because I wouldn’t have their daughter as a pen pal and their grandson and great-granddaughter as my Facebook friends.
It never ceases to amaze me how someone’s action at any given moment in one’s life can have an impact on future generations. That is why I love such stories as this one, “Annie and Ed”.