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Donna Flood
Courtship


Why a boy from the German community asked me to marry him I'll never know. He bought me beautiful rings, treated me royally, swore his deep undying love. He seemed to be so proud of me when I met his parents. His strong German name was very much approved by my two half German brothers. There was no doubt in my mind that he was the one for me. That is until he decided to enlist in the Marines. This was such a shock to me. He seemed to have everything going for him. He was a straight A student at the little college in Arkansas City, worked in the harvests during the summer and just generally was a well adjusted, mature, strong young man.

Oh well, as an American Indian of the old ways, I was raised to let the man take the lead so this is what I did. I never complained about the time I knew was ahead for me. Somehow keeping together with the girls in the apartments at Chilocco where we all were living and working gave me a  way to stay “true” to my fiancÚ no matter how long the stretches were before he returned home.

Things must not have been meant for me to marry this man. Something out there to do with change dropped down upon us like some sort of force testing the strength of the union to be or as in this case, not to be. The first thing to shake my confidence in him was when we were at a movie theater I saw him visiting with a boy who seemed to be always chipping away at my resolve as far as dating him was concerned. After their visit there was a coolness from my fiancÚ and something made me feel so forlorn. He told me this boy had informed him he had dated me. The fact that this was a bald-faced lie hurt me but not as much as the thought that my fiancÚ  would believe the person who had actually given me so much grief because I wouldn't date him.

I think the finality of the union was broken for me when he wrote home to ask his mother to get the house ready for our wedding. Remember I was still a little reserved over the incident with the liar. Maybe this is what stopped the wedding plans dead. Who knows?  His mother was so hurt, after all the work on the house  for some reason he had changed his mind.  But I was somehow relieved with his wishes not to, after all, get married at this time. It could have been too, the fact that I wouldn't return to California with him. He had never said anything about that so I made no arrangements with my work. It was an appointment with the Federal Government. Not exactly like walking away from McDonald's or someplace.

At any rate, he was gone again and this time I read his first letter having to do with how he had been given Embassy Duty in the Philippine Islands. He said he had bought a new sports car. and was having a great time. I  just threw the rest of his unopened letters on top of the television. My present husband to be,  was now mustering out of the Marine Corps he told me as we casually visited.

By now  I had moved back in with my parents at Ponca City since my appointment at Chilocco was up.  This Marine knew I was engaged so he wisely didn't offer to ask me for a date. He just simply started hanging around the folk's place. I'd come home from work and he'd be watching television with my Dad.  The porch swing was where we visited a lot and one evening he suggested we walk to the theater. This went on for the two weeks he was home before his final mustering out at California.

The day before he left he said, “Come on I want to give you a gift before I leave. We walked up to Spray's Jewelry and he had the biggest most beautiful diamond ring picked out. There was a large center diamond and fourteen smaller diamonds around it.

“I can't accept this if it is an engagement ring. I'm already engaged.”

“I know.”  He was so casual in his response.

Dumb me, if I had of known him then like I know him now I would have been aware of his intentions.

“It's okay,” he said.  “Just wear it while I'm gone this two weeks. If you don't want it when I get back they will refund my money here.”

In two weeks upon his return he showed up on my doorstep.  He had his Dad's car. I'm still not sure how it all happened but when I looked around I was married. The Justice of the Peace at Newkirk, Oklahoma said the words. We had no plans, no wedding, no hotel reservations, no reception. The ranch house was always vacant, fully furnished with utilities in tact. This is where we spent our honeymoon. That was forty-seven years ago, September 6, 1957.


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