April A to Z Challenge: Keeping Company

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Probably 1888

In Alzina’s words “mother wouldn’t allow any teasing about beaus, either. She said that she believed her two older sisters might have married happily if they hadn’t been discouraged by teasing.” Her sisters went to work in Vermont factories, and contracted tuberculosis and died.

So Alzina’s experience was markedly different. As a young girl, she had been given a gift of some cows from her grandmother (a gift we all dream of getting, right?) She asked permission to sell the cows and buy an organ on which she and her sister could take music lessons. Permission was granted, and having learned to play, their home became a gathering spot for the young people of their church and community, nearly every Sunday afternoon, for years. In this way, “dating” commenced for the Pomeroy girls.

“Our birthday is coming up soon Alzina. Would you let me plan an outing? I have something that I want to show you.”

Willard was planning what that evening would look like as he drove his new buggy to Alzie’s boarding house and helped her down. He had become so fond of her during their time of “keeping company”. They were becoming quite an item, he thought.

“Yes, that is our mutual celebration day. We might as well share some time with each other, although you are the “old man” by three years.” Alzie teased him. Ever since they had discovered their February 6th birthdays, it had seemed to be a bond of a sort. She thought well of Willard, and he did have a fine buggy. It had also been nice to have an escort to school and social affairs in the community.

As it turned out, Willard showed Alzie a ring on their birthday and asked her to marry him. It was a bit unexpected. Alzie promised to consider it, and she did over the next few months. And then she said “no”. That was not good news to Willard, to say the least. Their courtship was over.

One day some time later after the school term had ended, Alzie returned home. She found her mother in tears over something in the morning mail.

“Mother, what’s wrong? You hardly ever come to tears over letters! Did Father’s carload of hay come to disaster? Was it that bad?”

“Oh no, no loss of hay returns would concern me so much as the letter you got today. Look who it is from.” Mother, with a sad face, handed her the envelope with familiar signature on the back.

Alzie looked curiously at the envelope and went over to hug her mother. She didn’t even need to read the letter to know why Mother was troubled.

“Mother, please don’t be grieved over this. You know I refused Willard because I didn’t care for him enough to marry him, and that sentiment has not changed at all. I would never want you to worry about that. I know it was difficult for us all and having decided, I am quite content and glad. Willard was not the Christian man I had in mind, but I do have hope that he will someday be just that – for someone else who loves him better than I.”

And that is exactly what did happen. Some time later when Alzie was engaged to someone else, Willard came to call on her and asked her if she was truly happy. She was, and after hearing that, Willard was glad. About a month later he did marry a girl who loved him, and Alzie was glad for both of them. Once again, her prayers for others had been heard and answered.

Talk (write) to me.

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