As Pop-pop sat in his leather recliner in the den last December, I typed away as fast as I could to capture his stories just the way he told them–or close to it. In honor of Pop-pop’s 85th birthday today, I thought I would post a story from him in his own words. This is the story he told of how he met Mom-mom Hilda.
I didn’t ask Pop-pop Olen for Hilda’s hand in marriage. She was old enough to answer for herself. We were 27 coming up on 28. I guess I met her at the youth group over at the Reliance church. They scheduled a sailboat ride and somebody asked me to go. Hilda was on it and Madeline Schmick, and Mrs. Murphy [was] on it too. I assume that cousin Eunice might have been on it.
I didn’t ask [Hilda] for a date that night. And then, this friend of mine, Slow Shoefelt—we called him Slow cause he talked slow and moved slow—somehow he made arrangements for me and him to go on a double date with Hilda and Madeline Adams. I don’t know if we went to the movies. Nobody was designated who was with who. I ended up on the backseat with Madeline, and Slow was on the front seat with Hilda. He wasn’t really interested in pretending to date Hilda.
[Hilda] knew I was interested in going out skating, so she started to go skating. I always kidded her that she started because of me. She always denied it. She wasn’t a very good skater, but she was pretty nice. Eunice also went skating. She wasn’t a good skater either, but she was a good conversationalist. She was always saying something nice.
I asked Hilda for a date. I was going to meet Maggie or Olen. I dressed up in my suit. That was kind of the thing to do back then, especially on the first date. Pop-pop Olen had a haircutting business on what they called the front porch. Nobody came to that door, but in the door on the side of the house. People who came for haircuts could come right in if Mom-mom Maggie was busy. I guess [I] knocked on the door, and Olen said, “Come in.” He said later that he kept looking at me and said, “I don’t know who that fella is, but he looks like he’s got somewhere to go, all dressed up.” He didn’t know Hilda and I had a date, but I guess Maggie did.
Hilda was upstairs and not quite ready, but she called down to Maggie that she’d be ready in a minute. I wasn’t quite sure that I was going to date Hilda, but she said, “Next time, I’ll be ready.” So I took that as a sign that there was supposed to be another time.”