Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting Married

My parents raised me to be an independent thinker. I am also not afraid of hard work although I would rather sit back with a good book and a cup of tea. I never developed a taste for coffee so tea it is.

When my husband and I decided to marry I did not tell my family. There were several reasons. One was that independence. I was used to doing things my own way... within the limits of house rules of course. Also my family had very little money and could not afford a wedding.

The main reason was that my parents did not approve of my boyfriend. Now that I am a mother I understand that no one would have been good enough for me but at the time my rebellious nature took hold. I have to tell you now that my parents came to love him very much and he loved them as much.

I met my husband on a Saturday night. That was the night all the kids "hung out" downtown. He was driving around with a couple of his friends and I was with my sister and a couple of my friends. It was shortly after Christmas. We made a date for New Years Eve. The guys would pick us up at my house.

In the meantime my sister and I were out past curfew and my parents grounded us. When the guys came to pick us up we had to go down and tell them that we could not go with them. They wanted us to just get in the car and go. My girlfriend said she was not grounded and she was going. My sister and I decided to go too. So we jumped in the car and took off. I saw my father running after the car and yelling.

We rode around for a while. That was what kids did then unless the drive-in theater was open. We had a good time. Except for wondering what was going to happen when we got home that is.

My parents were furious. My father actually spanked us. With a belt! He did not hurt us. It was one of those times that he needed to do something and a spanking seemed to be in order. We were re-grounded with a much longer sentence.

Eventually my soon-to-be boyfriend got brave enough to come around again. My parents gave us permission to go out but it was not happily.

So we dated and eventually decided to get married. I was out of high school and working at the hospital. He worked for a farmer that lived less than a mile from the farm my family had moved to.

But we still wanted to pay for the wedding ourselves so we made arrangements to stack bales of hay for a neighbor of his parents. That was when I learned to drive a truck.

To gather the bales of hay for stacking we had an old farm truck with a flatbed trailer behind it. Attached to the truck was a machine that, if correctly positioned while the truck was moving, would act as an elevator and deposit the bales on the flatbed. The person on the flatbed had to retrieve them and place them in order on the trailer.

Bales of hay are deceptive. One might weigh 50 pounds while the next might be 75 pounds. You never knew what you were going to get until you tried to lift it. So my husband decided that I should drive the truck and he would arrange the bales on the truck.

When the trailer was full we would drive to the spot to stack the bales. Then the bales were lifted from the flatbed to the stack and put in place so they would be secure.

I was doing quite well at centering the bales so the elevator would pick them up. I was driving right along until there was a knock on the door of the truck. I had turned too fast on a little hill and dumped my boyfriend and several bales off the truck. I was a bit more careful after that and we had no more accidents.

My boyfriend's father came to see how we were doing. I was up on the stack of bales arranging them and my boyfriend went over to talk to his father. His father was furious. He told his son to get up there and not let me do all that hard work.

His father and I both worked at the hospital. Soon after that he was going around telling anybody who would listen that I was going to be his daughter-in-law. I guess he liked my gumption.

So we had the money for everything. The problem was that in our state he was too young to marry without parental consent. He went to his mother to get her to sign the paper. I went with him.

She refused at first. Finally she relented and signed. She told us not to "tell Dad" that she had signed. She had no idea that he approved.

So we went to get the license.We had the blood test results and the permission slip. Unfortunately we had not known that the state laws were slightly stricter than we thought.

At the desk the woman told us that even with parental consent he could not marry unless I was pregnant. Was that the case? He quickly nodded and said, "Yes." I turned many shades of red. Of course I was not pregnant. And she required proof from a doctor. No license that day.

We finally found that across the border the state would marry us if he was as old as I was. He made a slight change on the consent form and we got our license there.

We were married by a retired clergyman there. He and his wife were so nice. The ceremony was conducted in their home.

We were going to live in a farm house owned by the farmer my husband worked for. It was common for farmers to buy other farms and rent out the houses on them. Sometimes they became part of the wage package. We spent our first night there.

The plan was to get up first thing in the morning and go tell my parents. Instead we woke up to my father standing over our bed. He told me to get dressed and he took me home.

My brother was there too. He was letting the air out of my husband's car tires.I have no idea how he finally managed to reach someone to help him air them.

I spent my first full married day at my parent's house crying my eyes out. My mother insisted the marriage would be annulled. My husband would drive by or stop in the middle of the road and try to get me to go with him.

The problem was that I had been their daughter a lot longer than I had been his wife. I could not go.

That night Daddy began to soften. He could see how miserable I was. That night he told me he would see if he could get Mom to bend a little too.

The next morning when I got up my mother-in-law was there with my husband. She sensibly explained that we were married. Maybe they should let us be married.  I went home with my husband.

When I tell my children this story they are amazed. It is very hard to explain how we were raised to obey our parents. Even though I was grown (and now married) I was still their daughter.

It took very little time for everyone to make up. Soon we were a big happy family again.


  1. Just catching up on some of ypur recent and very prolific posts, Emma, and glad to read at the end of thisntale that both families relented in their initial disapproval of your marriage.

    1. I really believe that my parents disapproved more because they wanted so much for me than because they did not like my choice of husband. And my mother-in-law was wise enough to recognize that we were too young. I would not change my choice because I have four beautiful children who have inherited so much from their father. But it was a trying time for us and our families.