My Dearest Bethany,
I have loved you from the very first moment I saw you walk into the malt shop, I know we still are very young and my parents say that we should wait until we finish high school before we make any lasting commitment. The waiting is torturing me, I love you with every fibre of my being and know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I have a plan for us to be married before I go off to war, I know that I am too young to enlist but I have a plan for that as well, I know how you feel about me leaving for such a long time but it is the best way I know to make a life for us and our child. If you except my hand in marriage please met me outside the malt shop at 7:00pm tonight, I have a friend that can marry us immediately.
All my love
“You and grandpa were married at fifteen, I am not even aloud to date yet.” I handed the letter back to my grandma. For the longest time she sat in silence with a smile on her face as if she was lost in a memory. She finally put down her coffee cup and looked up, my grandfather sat down beside her and held her hand.
“You see Candice things were much different back then, we were pregnant with your mother and you grandmother and I knew times would be difficult, marriage was the best thing for both of us. Don’t get me wrong I planned on marrying you grandmother anyway just not until we had both finished high school.” He got up and poured us another cup of coffee, my grandmother still had the letter in her hand holding it close to her heart.
“Your grandfather is right, it was a very different time but it didn’t change the fact that my parents where very disappointed when Roger and broke the news to them that night. My father was the preacher of our church and my mother was just as equally evolved and for months afterwards his sermons consisted of the dangers of premarital sex. So you see dear, they is a very good reason your parents won’t let you date at fifteen years old.” She handed her cup to my grandfather who just sat back down at the table. He just shook his head and and got back up, he told me that it would probably be a good idea not to mention the fact that my grandparents let me have coffee.
“So what happened next?” I took another sip of my coffee, I didn’t like the taste but it made me feel grown up.
“Well, that night I snuck out and met you grandfather at the malt shop and we went off to met up with the man that was going to marry us. I was a little apprehensive of being married by a stranger behind a malt shop but the marriage was legal, well you know what happened that night. My parents discovered that I wasn’t in my room and caught us trying to sneak into the basement window, I thought my father was going to murder your grandfather after we told him that we were married and with child, instead we were the subject of his sermons but you knew that already. Your grandfather stayed, my parents as well as his would not allow him to run off to war and leave his pregnant wife. Eight months later your mother was born, just weeks after my sixteenth birthday. We moved into a one bedroom apartment and I worked nights while Roger took care of your mother. And it was like that until your mother got older and was able to stay home alone on her own. There was plenty of arguments over money, because you grandfather and I didn’t finish high school we were not very many jobs open to two uneducated teenagers, we were lucky that great-grandfather gave Roger a job right after we were married.”
“Where did you work grandma? You mentioned that you worked nights so that grandpa could take care of my mom while you worked.”
“I cleaned office buildings for a $1.50 an hour, there were times we didn’t eat just so that baby could. Your grandfather and worked very hard for everything we had but we did it together, we may have not been able to give your mother every thing she has ever wanted but she certainly gave her everything she needed. Candice I know that it’s hard understand where your mother is coming from I used to have the same fights with her about boys and dating, even though I love your grandfather very much I wish that we would have waited before we let our relationship go any farther then just holding hands if you get my drift. Now go collect your things your mother will be here any moment now.”
I just rolled my eyes and pushed my chair back from the table, I know my grandparents weren’t tell me the whole story, there had to be more to it then that. My grandmother never mentioned her other children at all, maybe it was because she was much older when she had them. There is a sixteen year difference between my mother and her older brother Mark, which is strange because my grandmother is only sixteen years older then my mother. The other two, the twins died at child birth I think it was because my grandmother became pregnant with them within months of my mother being born. I only know this because I here my mother talk about them sometimes to my uncle Mark, I thought about asking my grandmother but I knew it was a sensitive subject. I heard my mother talking to my grandparents while I was packing my overnight bag. My mother sound very relieved that they had been able to get through to me the tough lessons that she herself was trying to teach me but failed in doing so. I sheepishly walked into the kitchen and wrapped my arms tightly around my mother. I cried as I apologized for causing her so much pain and that I should have listened more when she told me about the hard times her parents went through trying to raise a child when they where children themselves. My mother wiped away my tears and she told me that she loved me, she always apologized for being so hard on me and that just because I showed an interest in boys that didn’t mean I would make the same mistakes her and her parents did, that just like my grandparents she loved my father very much but wished she was older and wiser before she decided to bring a child into the world.
My grandparents love for each other was stronger then any obstacle they had to face, I still have found memories of the times we spend drinking coffee and listening to the tales of their youth. Even though my grandparents have been gone for many years now, the lessons they taught me about love will stay with me forever, it is one that I passed on to my children and hopefully they pass on to theirs.