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.
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.
Dorothy Marie Allen and Harold LeRoy Reeder