No, Not That One

In 1956 in the little town of Delta, Colorado while standing with her parents, a young woman cried; she wasn’t ready to leave her parents and return home.  Her vacation was not long enough, and she wished she could spend more time with her family.  As people began to gather at the bus stop that would take them to western destinations, the parents of the young women tried to comfort their daughter as she prepared to head back to California and return to her job as a telephone operator in Oakland.  Once the bus pulled up to the curb, her parents teased her about the fine-looking young men in uniform that were also traveling on the bus.  Her mother spotted a handsome man in his dress greens; he had dark hair and large brown eyes that warmly sparkled when he smiled.  “Oh, I would sit by that one,” her mother urged.

“Umm…no not that one.  I think I will sit by that one,” the woman stated while looking at another man on the bus.

Smiling, her father interrupted, “Your mother’s right.  I believe you should sit by that fella.”

Once people began boarding, the lady waited to board, so that she could spend a few more moments with her parents and her little sister.  When it was her time to enter the bus, she gave her family one last hug before she climbed the stairs.

Her tears rolled down her cheeks as she glanced down the bus aisle, looking for a vacant seat.  As she began to walk, a young soldier stood and gently took her suitcase and placed it in the overhead bin.   He took a step back and offered her a place next to the window.  Once she sat in her seat, he handed her his handkerchief, and he tried to make small talk, but the woman ignored him as she looked out the window.  Her father smiled, and her mother laughed, for she sat next to the very man that her mother had spotted earlier; the one her mother had teased her about while they waited at the bus stop.

Once everyone found a seat, the bus pulled away from the curb, and she waved goodbye to her family.  She continued to dab her tears with the kind man’s handkerchief.  Eventually, she settled in, and the two began talking.  She discovered he was also heading to California, returning to base.  As the two became acquainted, a spark grew between them and over time a friendship developed.

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My dad’s dog tags and charm of the Lord’s Prayer

Eventually, the soldier “popped the question,” and the two became engaged.  When he proposed, he could not afford a ring, so he gave her a necklace.  The copper charm was once a penny that had been flattened and smoothed into an oval with the Lord’s Prayer stamped upon it.  The soldier gave it to his girl before he left for Anchorage, Alaska. While her fiancé was away, she continued to work for the telephone company.

Four years after the two first met, the couple married on May 27, 1960, in Alameda, California. And yes, the soldier kept his word.  He bought his bride a lovely engagement ring and a matching diamond band.

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Dorothy Marie Allen and Harold LeRoy Reeder

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May 28, 1960 – Oakland Tribune
Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

13 thoughts on “No, Not That One

  1. Such a great story. I was lucky enough to visit Anchorage a few years ago but I imagine it is a tough place to live in in winter. They have some great quilting shops though and beautiful wool.

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  2. Wow & Hello Anne Marie.
    It’s been too long since we visited and I I saw your blog site listed among my monthly referrers this morning. I decided that I had to pop by to say Hi.
    This story was classic you and I’m amazed. Such a great heritage of family but how did your mom’s parents single out your dad from the group of riders that day?
    And then, perhaps my modern day sensibilities are showing, how did that soldier pivot that bus ride into an accepted marriage proposal? Is that not remarkable?
    I may have underestimated the legacy power of Greyhound Buses which seems to share some attributes and questions of the internet of today.
    What a great story – but now I want more details.
    Hope this finds you well and loving life.
    Your story-weaving friend – Gary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gary! I have had a crazy year! I started teaching a new subject, reading. The new curriculum kept me hopping. I also had a couple of health scares that also keep me from doing some of my favorite things, including writing. Fortunately, I am on the mend and getting back to my sassy self! Hopefully, I will be better this year at writing and keeping up with my writing buddies too. Thanks for thinking of me.

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      1. HELLO ANN MARIE ! ! !
        I’m so glad to see you back in my comment stack except the part about having some health scares – no one needs that and you are something of a national treasure in my mind so you should be exempted from such things.
        Glad you’re mending, sass all all. And how cool it must be to teach reading which is mighty close to being paid to read, I bet. Talk about my dream job. . .
        You’d be proud of me. My writing went very well in 2022. If you took a look at my Fiction collection, I’ve more than doubled what I started the year with and the stories are so much better. I have some requests from readers for expanded versions of several and I’m thinking of going for novella lengths of some/each of them.
        I think you know of KL Caley who took over the carrot ranch weekly #PhotoWrite prompt and as this year closes, I think I have 34 new Flash or Short Fiction stories from her prompts. I also did the 99-word story challenge this year and was amazed at my results.
        If your reading students need any off-curriculum material know that you have my permission, even my hopes, that you’ll send them links to mine. Not all of them would traumatize their innocent young minds.
        Anyway, if you’re in any mood to sit still, mend, and enjoy some thoughtful short reads, take a look at what I’ve produced while you were off wandering.
        https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/short-fiction-1000-6000-word-story-index/
        Wishing only for big blessings for you in 2023.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow! It looks like you have been busy!!! And thank you for your kindness, which is giving this ole gal a big head! lol! And that is exactly what I said when I started teaching reading…I get paid to read…a dream job!

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