Charlotte Schaefer, the youngest granddaughter of Michael and Margaret Schaefer tip toed into her grandparent’s den and climbed up onto the sofa beside her granddad. She held her breath as she stared at the old man who sat erect in an arm chair in a quiet repose.
“Papa?” she whispered.
“Yes?” inquired the old man as he adjusted in the chair, still keeping his eyes closed as he clung to the remnants of his afternoon nap. “What is it, child?”
“How did you and g-ma meet?”
The old man opened one eye then the other, and shifted again in his seat.
“Well,” he began, “it was love at first sight of course. Did you know that I was the captain of our collegiate football team?”
The little girl shook her head.
“Well I was. And your g-ma was the captain of the pom squad. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She still is your g-ma. But you little Charlotte are getting quite pretty too.”
The child giggled. “Tell me the story, papa.”
“Okay, okay. During our last year of school, the football team made it all the way to the championships.”
“It’s the last game of the year between the two best teams.”
“Your team was the best?”
“We were. Or really the second best. Princeton was number one that year. Before the game, I was sure we would win. So sure in fact that I decided to tell your g-ma that when we won, the first thing I was going to do was take her out on a date.” The old man smiled. “I remember that beautiful woman batting her long brown eye lashes before telling me, ‘Sure, Harold. If you win, then I will go on a date with you.’ That promise made me smile. With the biggest smile on my face, I walked over to my teammates and said, ‘boys, we have a lot riding on this game today.’ I then looked back at your pretty g-ma and winked. That was when the entire team looked her way and then they said in unison, ‘for Harold and Margaret!’”
Charlotte clapped her hands together and giggled. “Did you win, papa?” asked the little girl.
“Did we win? Of course we did, kiddo. You asked me how me and g-ma met. If we had lost, g-ma wouldn’t be here making you your peanut butter and banana sandwich.”
“Now go check and see if she is finished,” said the old man, settling back into his chair and closing his eyes again.
The little girl jumped off the couch and skipped to the kitchen where a woman with white curly hair stood over a cutting board.
“There you are, Charlotte” she said, gesturing towards the place setting at the kitchen table where a sandwich and glass of milk sat.
Charlotte climbed into the seat and took a big bite of the sandwich.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full, honey.”
The little girl obeyed, taking her time to manage the sticky sandwich into something swallowable, chasing it down with the cold glass of milk.
“Now what were you saying, dear?”
“Papa told me the story of how you two first met!”
Margaret looked up and saw her granddaughter’s bright eyed, smiling face. “What did he say?”
“At campy and ships. His team won and you promised to go on a date with him.” The little girl then paused and scrunched her face. “G-ma, what’s a date?”
“It’s when two people who like each other spend time together getting to know each other.”
“Oh, like we are doing right now?”
Margaret chuckled. “Not quite. Now sit still and finish your lunch.”
After Margaret settled Charlotte in for her nap, she found her husband napping in his arm chair. Margaret shook her head as she walked past him, and climbed into her own chair that was in the opposite corner from his. She took another look at her husband and shook her head again before taking a book to read.
“Woman, what are you shaking your head at?”
“Your stories, Harold,” Margaret began. “You told Charlotte you were the captain of the football team. And that I agreed to go on a date with you if you won the championship game.”
“Charlotte remembered all of that, eh?”
Margaret shook her head with a smile. “No, I overheard you telling her that silly story.”
“Come here,” Harold said, beckoning Margaret towards him with his outstretched arms.
Margaret raised an eyebrow, but ultimately put down her book and walked over to her husband. He patted his lap, and she sat on it like when they were young and had just married so many years ago. Cradled in his arms, she shed a tear, thinking how dear Harold’s memory was not quite what it used to be.
“There, there,” said Harold, wiping the bead of water from his wife’s face. “Remind this old man how we first met. He seems to not remember it so well.”
Margaret moved to speak, but before she was able to begin, Harold pinched her on the bottom.
Margaret swatted at him. “You’re so bad Harold!”
The old man kissed his wife. “Now, tell me. How did you and I first meet?”
“Well,” Margaret began, “It was in the hospital; during the war. You said, if I saved your life, then this heart of yours would be mine forever.”
“And what happened next?” asked Harold. His blue eyes, now slightly cloudy, met hers.
“You recovered,” Margaret said, getting a little choked up. “And you were discharged. That was when I thought, ‘oh silly me, I got too close to the patients.’ To believe a handsome man like yourself would remember a lowly nurse’s aid like me."
“And then what happened?” asked Harold, cupping Margaret’s chin in his hand.
Margaret let out a giggle. “You came back. You had a little bouquet of flowers in your hands and a sheepish grin. You were wearing your best uniform. It felt like the world stopped when you walked up to me."
“Then what happened?”
“You handed me the flowers and you said, ‘Margaret Brown, I’m here to keep my promise.’”
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Reminded me of a scene out of the 1950's or 40's. Very cute.
This was sweet! I enjoyed it. ☺️
What a charming story, Allya. It had me smile from the very fist paragraph. So lovely and lighthearted and cleverly written. I enjoyed every single line, every single sentence. The dialogue, description, the story flow, pacing, everything was absolutely flawless. Perfection. Such lovable characters. It warmed my heart reading a love story like that. This should be an absolute winner because you are surely a pro. No doubt about it. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your submissions. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.
You're welcome, Gabriela. I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.