Our daughter, Ruth, asked if Mom and I would write memoirs of our marriage, so this is the beginning of my memories. We will, however, be doing much of our writing together. One of the emphases in our remembrances will be on the influence that faith in and commitment to God has had on our lives individually and in our marriage relationship.
I begin with our romance. No apologies, if that sounds too sentimental, for it was just that and still has much of that warmth.
We first met in the winter of 1942. One of the factors in our favor was that she was employed at the F. L. Summers’ Variety Store in Salem, West Virginia, while I was employed as a typesetter at the Church of God Publishing House in which Mr. Summers was a moving force on the Board of Directors. Naturally we had lots of encouragement.
I was in my 20s, and my mother had, on one of my visits home, said, “Edgar, Dad and I are concerned that you will just date a girl and then make a foolish decision when you do decide to marry.
It was at that time that I met Mom, Xenia Lee Randolph. I’ll confess to flirting with a very pretty girl, and our romance had a start on a kind of silly note (maybe most romances do). She was standing behind the candy counter, and the conversation went something like this:
“Do you want to buy some candy?”
“I would, but I don’t have anyone to buy it for.”
“You can buy it for me!”
“All right, wrap it so I can send it in the mail to my girlfriend.”
I bought the candy and she wrapped it for mailing, with no suspicion of what I was up to. I then found my chance to get her name and mailing address from Lila Saunders who also worked there. I grew up in Nortonville with Lila, a sister of Wendell Stephan. So I mailed the candy to Mom (XLR). Lila always claimed at least partial credit for bringing us together in marriage.
Grandpa Randolph saw the candy come in the mail, and he did just what any good Dad would do and asked, when Mom came home, “Who sent you that candy?” Mom answered like she actually felt, “Oh, it came from a college smarty.” That was that until February when I finally received a “thank you” from her. I had been disappointed to receive no acknowledgment nor thanks. Nevertheless, I was now encouraged to send her another Valentine box of the chocolate covered caramels which I did and got a prompt “Thank You”.
We visited briefly a few times that winter at the store and once at the filling station in front of her Aunt Lydia’s home, where she stayed while working. She was waiting there for her home room teacher to pick her up Monday a.m. for school. Mom was still in High School.
The next summer, when Xenia Lee was working full time and staying at her Aunt’s home, her parents picked her up Friday evenings at sun down to take her home for the Sabbath Day. One Sabbath Eve I was walking by as Mom came out to greet her folks and tell them she’d be out in ten minutes, so she introduced me to them and we visited while she finished “closing” the store. Grandpa said to her on the way home, “I did not see anything wrong with that farm boy.” She took to heart her father’s evaluation of me and that was the green light I needed. By that time I had come to realize that Mom also had beauty of character.
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