My mother was a teenage bride. My mother was a teenage mother. Yes, in that order.
Life came full circle in some ways for my parents. In 1987 they returned after more than 35 years in Illinois to the Ritter farm in Tennessee and built their own house. Mom still lives in that house. It was to that farm that Bedford Davis drove on this day (April 5) 70 years ago to take Edna Ritter away as his teenage bride. (Although, at the time, I think the idea of a “teenager” was just beginning.)
I’m sort of playing around with my post title because of this post that I wrote after Dad’s passing in 2015. Sort of. Because I really am not sorry about my parents. I’m not sorry that they “ran off” to Kentucky, without a formal wedding ceremony, to get married. I’m not sorry that they spent their first night together on the floor of his sister’s house. I’m not sorry that they had to leave their Tennessee home and go to Illinois for work. I’m not sorry that my biggest sister was born before their first wedding anniversary. I’m not sorry that they made Illinois their home (except for one brief return to TN before baby #2 when Dad was laid off) for the next 37 years. I’m not sorry that Dad was an excellent and faithful factory worker all those years and that Mom was always there when I got home from school. I’m not sorry for the peanut butter and syrup sandwiches in my school lunch. (I told my son James about this, and he said, “Yum!” Growing up, I didn’t know it was because we were poor. I thought it was because Mom and Dad were country). I’m not sorry for all the bowls of tomato soup. I’m not sorry for all the singing in our house, at church, at the nursing home, at funerals, and on the road. (Dad wouldn’t let us turn the car radio on while he was driving.) I’m not even sorry for the raised voices in frustration or anger I would hear from time to time. Only because at the end of those “discussions” were people who stuck it out because of a promise they made before God and the witnesses there on that day 70 years ago. She was his Dearie. He was her Bedford.
They were completely faithful to each other. I know this for a fact. And they were committed to their five children.
Until death parted them.
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth ~ Solomon
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. ~ Jesus
To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up. ~ Ogden Nash
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. ~Shakespeare, Sonnet 116