Chub was a student in electrical engineering at the University of Missouri
when we met in 1930. He wore the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps uniform with
a marksmanship medal on the left breast.
He was tall, dark and handsome with dark brown hair parted in the middle, and
he had transportation, such as it was.
Chub, my former boyfriend, and I were acquainted because we attended the youth
group at Little Bonne Femme Church. We had just completed a Christmas pageant
where I was to read the Nativity story from the Bible.
Show-off that I was, I memorized it and said it confidently and well. I wanted
Chub to be impressed. Later I bought a 1-cent “comic valentine” about
college students. Comics were the other kinds of messages sent on Feb. 14. Not
hearts and lace and all that but the reverse. They were usually sent with no
identification, but I didn’t take a chance. I wanted this dashing ROTC soldier
with medal to know that I existed.
Now these were very lean times because the Great Depression hit America’s
coasts in 1929, but it seeped out to the Midwest a year or two later, just as
I entered MU. Chub earned a meager income by hauling large cans of milk from
farm to dairy on the way to his classes and by returning clean cans to the
farms on his way back home at Deer Park.
Chub was a busy guy, but he had that old Pontiac truck. Our early dates were
to attend the MU Presbyterian Student Association. Everybody was poor so the
students took turns fixing a Sunday supper snack for about 20 cents each.
Our most memorable experiences include a PSA hike from Rocheport to the Cave.
Chub hauled as many as could ride in the old Pontiac. About 20 of us hiked
from the Rocheport Katy depot carrying paper sacks of food for our bonfire
meal. Fellows looked at the dark sky in the west, but someone said, “Oh, we
can do it.” Those city students assumed we could walk four miles on a
railroad track, cook hot dogs with bacon wrap, eat, sing, hike four more
rail-tie miles back, drive back to Columbia and Deer Park -- and be in our
classes by 8 a.m. the next day. Not so!
About halfway to the cave the sky broke open and let a cloudburst down on us.
Our paper sacks were soaked, and we lost food along the way. I was carrying
raw, unwrapped bacon slices and wet bread.
The fellows had gone ahead and built a great fire. Arriving, soaked to the
bone, we ate raw hot dogs on wet bread while we pulled off wet jackets, hats,
shoes and socks and held them over the bonfire on sticks like marshmallows.
Then came the boomerang.
“Grab all of your things, QUICK!” The firebuilders called as they emerged
from farther back in the cave. “A wall of water is coming in through the cave
and we could all be trapped in a few minutes!” It was true.
Grabbing and running we must have left a lot of stuff. But we also found
apples and oranges on the four mile wet trek back to Chub’s old Pontiac. We
never wanted to see another railroad track after eight more miles of it.
Why do I write of this today? Because today is our 57th wedding anniversary.
After almost seven years of episodes like the PSA hike, we said “I do” at my
home on Dec. 27, 1937. We’ve had some really great times together.