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Since Valentines Day is traditionally a time for LOVE stories, I thought I would share!
Summer 1960

On a cool fall evening, August 30, 1959, my parents announced that they were going to attend revival services at the local stone church. Of course, I would also have to attend. At about six fourty five we went walking up the church steps, My father, mother, myself and younger sister, Linda. As I went up the steps, I glanced towards the side of the church, where a group of boys or young men had congregated. Among the usual group was a stranger! He was slight of build, very "city looking" in his fisherman knit sweater with a button down underneath! One of the locals yelled at me and I waved and went into the church with my family. I was not allowed to hang around the outside!

I sat with my younger sister and a girlfriend near the back of the church, while my parents went towards the front! I was relieved that they had not waltzed me to the front with them! The young fellow in the fisherman knit would occasionally wave or make some gestures from outside the church. As the services was near the end, he came inside the church and sat down beside me! My heart nearly stopped! And he asked if he may "walk me home!" I told him I doubted if my parents would permit it but that I would ask! Since he was with a neighbor boy, my Mother said ok! He walked with us the short distance home, and promised to call! I was in love! He was in love!

Around the end of November we ask my parents if we could marry. Being sensible people, they said NO!

We began to plan our get away. The first of December I skipped school and we went into town and got our blood tests! On December 7th, 1959, two days before my 16th birthday,he picked me up at the school bus stop and we headed for town and the courthouse! After much trouble in finding someone to sign for me, we finally arranged to have a local "lady of the night" type, to forge my mothers signature, which she did for $2.00 and a bottle of "thunderbird" wine! We were married at the courthouse by a Baptist minister, who happened to be my Mothers first cousin. He inquired about her health, and we told him she was not physically able to attend! We got on the greyhound bus at four o clock that afternoon, and at four thirty the police arrived at my in-laws looking for us! They did not know where we were at! We traveled by bus to Wilmington, Delaware where Roy found a job at the Chrysler plant. I did not contact my parents until after New Years! We called my in laws and my father in law encouraged me to call home!

I called home and spoke to my Mother, she said, "the least you can do is come home! We arrived at "home" on Valentine Day 1960! My father and my husband became best friends, they adored each other! My mother was not quite so forgiving, tho with time, her relationship with my husband did improve!

This will be our 41st Valentines Day! Making all the hurdles of a young marriage, we both managed to finish our educations and both have degrees, we have raised three children to adulthood and educated them. We have survived a military career with numerous seperations. We have survived and are better because of our dealing with a mentally ill son. We are now grand parents to two wonderful grand daughters!

I am still in love! He is still in love!

Happy Valentines Day to all!!
Fall 1999

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carol estep maynard