Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An Alice Romance

Many people in relationships have a get-together story.  How they met, when they knew they were in love, their first fight.  Today I will tell you what I know about my in-laws' early romance.

Robert liked to tell his version of the story, a sort of a tease, about how Alice saw him in the library and tripped him up with some sort of string or wire to capture him.  The details changed but he always spoke about how irresistible he had been.  The twinkle in his eye was enough to let listeners know he might be exaggerating.

The actual circumstances were somewhat different.  The library at Chapel Hill definitely played a role.  I believe they also saw each other at church. Robert was a young man on the GI bill.  It seemed there was something about Alice that intrigued him.  She was older than he and studying for her master's in botany.  Somehow (without a trap) they started to court.

Then tragedy struck.  Robert's father died and as the oldest boy in a family of seven children, the smallest younger than ten years, Robert had to be responsible.  So he went back to his small town.  Before he left though, Robert went to Alice and let her know that he had to be in charge of his family.   Accordingly, there could be no understanding between them, and there was no contact for some time.

At home, Robert convinced his mother that if she wanted the younger children to get an education they had to move to the big city.  They bought a house together in Chapel Hill.  (Yay GI bill again!)

Once the family was well taken care of, Robert went back to find Alice.  I don't know how much time had passed or where she was living, but he found her and they were soon married.  And they remained married for over fifty years, until Robert passed away in 2003.

There was obviously something compelling about Alice, an undefinable fascinating quality that made Robert seek her out again.  Something kept Alice on his mind, even when there was no communication between them. We should all be so lucky to be that captivating to someone.

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