When they were dating.
Mama’s mother wasn’t very motherly so didn’t give Mama much motherly advice, but she did demonstrate one very clear lesson … she adored her husband (Mama’s beloved father). And, in turn, Mama lived that example for her daughters. She adored our father.
Here’s an excerpt from Mama’s book, I Remember, about how she met the love of her life:
In 1928, in January I think, I went to Sunday School at the First Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Irma was in the same class. She was new too, so we sat together. When class was over, she asked me if I was coming back the next Sunday. I told her I would come back if she would. So we went to Sunday School there for about six weeks. Then Irma said, “My mother thinks I should come back to my own church. How about you coming with me?” I said, “Okay.” So, the next Sunday we went to the Church of the Brethren. Irma’s mother and grandmother belonged there.
It was a small church and I liked it. We were in a Sunday School class taught by Hylton Harmon, a teenager himself then but studying for the ministry, Our class decided to have a contest to bring new members into the class. We divided into two groups. The group that brought in the most new members was to be given a party by the other group.
Our class grew to 50 members in just a few weeks. Each Sunday we would introduce the new members we brought. I took a girl that I worked with at Eastman Kodak. Her name was Myrtle. Then a member of the class, Opal, brought her neighbor, Ruhl. That was the first time I ever saw Ruhl. I thought, “What a guy. He isn’t a teenager, he’s a man (he would have been 19 at the time).”
We didn’t take to each other right away. I was going with John and Ruhl started dating Myrtle. We double dated quite a few times. Myrtle confided to me she would marry Ruhl in a minute if he asked her. She had been married and had two small daughters who were 6 and 2. Her mother took care of the children while she worked.
Anyway, it seemed like every time the four of us got together, Ruhl and I ended up in an argument of some kind. We argued especially about politics. He was a staunch Democrat and I was just as strong a Republican (because our dads were).
Ruhl went with Myrtle most of that summer.
One night in September he came by our house. We only lived about six blocks apart. He said he just dropped in to say hello. We sat in the porch swing and talked. The next week there was an ice cream social at the church. Ruhl wanted to know if he could come by and walk up to the church with Ivy and me. I told him yes.
After that he dropped by several times. Once he came by and Myrtle was there. She asked him what he was doing there. He said, “The same thing you are, visiting.”
The next week he asked me for a date. I told him that Myrtle was my best friend and so long as he and she were going together, I wouldn’t date him. He said they were not going steady, but I turned him down anyway. Then he came over one evening and said he had stopped dating Myrtle all together.
Myrtle and I worked together in the finishing department at Eastman Kodak. The next day, at work, I told her that Ruhl has been coming over pretty often and was asking me for a date, but that if she didn’t want me to date him, I would tell him not to come over any more. She said, “No, don’t do that. He would know I had asked you to do that and if I can’t have him, I would rather you had him than someone else.” So I started going with Ruhl on October 8, 1928. We dated Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday all that winter. By Christmas we were engaged. We were planning to be married in May but the first of April Ruhl said, “Why wait?” So, on April 10, 1929 (a Wednesday) Ruhl and I went to Olathe, Kansas and were married. Opal and Joe, her boyfriend and an old friend of Ruhl’s, went with us and stood up with us.
We had to wait until payday to get married so we could rent an apartment. I was working at the Nelly Don dress factory and Ruhl was working as a welder at Columbian Steel Tank. He was making close to $200.00 a month and I was making between $15.00 and $20.00 a week. We were making good money for those times.
Our first apartment was at the Kensington Apartments. It was a one room apartment. A couple of months later we found a two room apartment at 13th and Central. We lived on the second floor of a private home. The people’s name was Terry. They introduced us to the game of Bridge.
I always said that if I met a man as good as my dad, I would marry him. Ruhl fit the bill.
By the way, if you’re worried about what happened to the “older woman” Myrtle (I make that assumption because she had a six year old daughter) “post-Ruhl”, here’s what Mama said about that.
Myrtle met a little guy who fell for her head over heels. Myrtle had been married before and had two little girls and her mother to support. The new fellow, Roy, married Myrtle and took on the responsibility of her family. We remained friends and visited back and forth for many years. They finally moved to California and we lost track of them after about 1946.
Well, it’s true. I can’t deny it. I come from a long tradition of women who adore their husbands.
Hubby said one time, after I had done something for him that he considered especially nice, “You know, your grandmother adored your grandfather; your mother adored your father; and, God love ya, you adore me!” And then I gave him a punch in the arm. Nothing cures smug like a good swat.
Truthfully, I do adore him, but I don’t want him to get too sure of me. That’s the reason I occasionally refer to him as my first husband … just to keep him on his toes, and keep him taking out the trash.