Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - A Real Love Story

Since today is Valentine's Day I am writing about a love story that lasted a lifetime for The Family History Writing Challenge.

Shirley met Charlie when she was just a teenager, he was in his upper twenties.  Her mother had died a few years earlier and life had gotten very hard for her.  Her younger sister, Betty had gone out with Charlie or at least had a friendship with him.  They married when she had just turned nineteen, on Halloween in 1938.  Charlie always made jokes about that, he said she was wearing a mask and he didn't know what she looked like until too late.

This picture was taken not long after they were married.

The children began coming along, and money got scarce.  They had an infant die and Shirley had a terrible time with that.  They began to travel around the country, because Charlie wanted to look for brighter pastures.  I think he had a wanderlust kind of spirit.  Shirley spent about ten years following him around the country and the number of children was growing.  

Shirley knew that her family needed to stay in one place, so she told him they needed to go back to Indiana and stay.  Charlie also had a problem with alcohol and he strayed a little when he was drinking.  Shirley continued to go to church and pray for him.  He worked around the state and would be gone for most of the week at times.
She would be home dealing with all the issues and the children by herself.  I never heard her complain, she just worried about him and prayed for him.

When they youngest children were getting a little older, Charlie's health made a turn for the worse.  He wasn't able to work anymore. Shirley worked outside the home, and he stayed at home.  She took him to doctor's and tried to make sure he was doing as he should.  She finally got Charlie to go to church with her at times.  I think he had always known what a treasure he had, but in those years it was clearly evident to him.  He knew she had put up with a lot, that he hadn't made her life easy.

Shirley and Charlie were devastated by the accidental death of their oldest son.  Shirley was dealing with her own grief, but she put it aside to take care of Charlie.  His health was getting worse and was compounded by the grief of losing his son.  Within a year, Charlie was gone.  They had been married for 37 years.

Shirley spent the next 22 years alone, she had no interest in meeting other men.  She had her love and that was all she wanted.

This is a real love story.  It has good times and hardships.  It isn't a romantic, fantasized story, it's a love that lasts through anything that life put before you.


  1. I really like the photo of Charlie & Shirley! Mom & Dad got married in 1939. Looking at my parents' photos there are so many that look so very similar as this one posing on or around a car... everyone dressed almost the same from the shoes to a hat (if they wore one). Having suffered the Great Depression and a World War looming upon them, the pictures of the time seemed to show happiness and a love of life at the moment.

  2. My Grannie had the same kind of love. Her husband passed away in 1978 and she died in 2012. She dated, but never remarried. She loved her husband Lew who she married in 1941. Thanks for the post and letting me think about my Grannie and the love of her life.