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
“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.