Well, folks, now is the time to open up Windows again and take you with me into the past. Last week when I closed the window we were observing a skinny young woman being transported, via bus, headed out toward a big step that would influence the rest of her life--elopement!
My friends on the bus, the ladies that regularly commuted to their jobs, in Terre Haute, knew I was up to something. Mabel McCullough, Virginia Wassell and Mary Harmon were taken aback when I, boldly blabbed my plans. The bus driver, Lester, checked things out in the rear view mirror. The ladies ears were receptive and their funny bones had been tickled, but then all three women gained composure; motherly advice followed. My mind was made up. I would take the road less traveled on that very day. I made a promise.
Now while I was taking that early morning commute, young Paul was making his move. He was staying at the home of his foster parents, Johnny and Roxy Vaught, several miles away, near Farmersburg. The couple took Paul in and nicknamed him Mr. X. Soon the little city boy became a country boy; the son they always wanted. He was of the opinion that they would never approve of his hasty decision to marry me. They wanted him to further his education and someday, become a veterinarian. I suppose he thought being my husband would be more challenging. Boy, was he right!
Even though my sailor didn't find it necessary to ask permission, he did deeply respect his beacons of light and their feelings. Cupid had stabbed him in the heart, the leave was nearly over and he had a promise to keep. He decided to surprise them and bring home a wife.
That morning, as Paul recalls, before sun-up he slipped out of his bed while Johnny and Roxy were still asleep in the master bedroom downstairs of the two-story farmhouse. Grooming was easy, because there was no need to shave yet and sailors don't mind a splash or two of cold water now and then. No warm --up or gurgling of pipes was necessary that morning!
Ready to go, the little sailor worked his way down the steep creaky oak staircase and unlatched the front door. He met up with the chill of a cold snowy November day, put his 1949 brown Ford two-door in neutral and pushed it almost the length of a very long driveway that led to Hwy. 246. He was on a roll!
He arrived at the designated meeting place that we agreed on the day before. My bus was slightly behind schedule. He feared that I would chicken out and I wasn't sure what to expect when I reached the Terminal on Wabash Avenue.
The place was crowded. Several busses were loading and unloading passengers. I finally spotted the groom to be.
I, wearing that uniform, was in need of a quick wardrobe change and did so. I vividly remember standing in front of the foggy old mirror downstairs, in the ladies lounge, smoothing out the fabric of my little gray and white two - piece sailor dress that I found neatly and conveniently folded inside my beauty supply case, just because. I brushed my long blond locks again, added a tiny touch up of cherry pink lipstick, just a hint of Evening in Paris to my wrist and checked for wrinkles and or runs in my nylon hose. A bag lady, fishing out smokeable butts from a container of sand, nearby, checked me out and gave a toothless smiled of approval.
Sunshine was waiting upstairs, still grinning like a Cheshire cat and winking, like he had just been speared in the eye.
Oh, but we weren't ready. At that time young men, in the military, or not, were required to have parental consent, in regard to marriage, until age 21. We headed out for his mother and stepfather's house on Eight Street. When he told Winifred what was needed from her, within seconds, she was donning her plush foxy fur coat. Winifred Marie liked "Paul Boy's" choice, it seemed and more; I felt a bond could be established the minute we were introduced. I called it, planning ahead! First steps don't need to be awkward.
Winnie was in the back seat helping Paul drive, giggling and enjoying the ride. Our next stop was Marshall, Ill. That idea came with fault. We were sent back across the state line.
Tired already, we returned to high ground and climbed the steps of the Vigo County Court House. Determined, we entered the basement office of a wonderful old gentleman, namely, Lee Easton, a reputable Justice of the Peace. There, according to ordinance of God and the laws of the State of Indiana, at the City of Terre Haute, Nov. 15, 1957, Paul Sartor and Mary Lou Lynch joined together in the honorable estate of marriage.
The young sailor was so shook up and happy that he almost forgot to give Lee the fin for the fee. In the hall, my husband introduced me to a friend, "Fats" Newton, as his knife. Imagine that!
We took my new mother-in --law home and went to O' Days Drive-in. He refused to eat. Unbeknownst to me, after he purchased my little gold wedding band at Morris Pawn and paid for a license and fee; Paul only had enough money left, on him, for one sandwich and a small drink. I selfishly ate a small portion of little flat cheeseburger while he watched. I did share my cherry coke.
I'm sorry that I can't tell you, quite yet, about the rest of that day, because, once again, its time to close the window, until next week. The big flare-up on Elm Street will be rekindled then.
A lot more happened, before my young husband asked me if I wanted to go to the barn to count the pigeons.
I can be reached at 446-4852 or drop me a line to 613 N. Elm St., Brazil, Ind., 47834 or firstname.lastname@example.org.