Blog Post # 13: Family Stories — Grandma Hall Falls In Love At Age 74

Frankie Ruth Haswell Hall

Grandma Hall was my Mother’s mother.  

At age 74 she fell in love with Peter Doke, a man she went to high school with in Garfield, Arkansas.  He always lived in the country, on a farm. She always lived in a city. They hadn’t seen or communicated with each other since High School. But some-how they got in touch with each other, started writing and calling, and fell in love.  It was a long distance relationship  — he lived in the Ozark Mountains at the border of Arkansas and Missouri. She lived in Orlando, Florida.  They had a lot in common having grown up in the same place, plus they both were proud of writing poetry.  They excitedly shared the poetry they wrote with each other.

Soon he asked her to marry him and she said yes. They decided to live on his farm.  He couldn’t drive, so he would take a bus to Orlando so they could get married with her family. As she couldn’t drive either, that left one major problem:  How to get back to the Ozarks with her and her stuff?

I volunteered to take them, despite the fact I was only 19, and my car was an orange VW Bug.

The big day came when he was arriving on the bus.  My Mom took my Grandma Hall to the bus stop.  When a man got off the bus she was so thrilled that she ran up and hugged and kissed him.  Only one problem — he wasn’t Peter Doke!  Peter Doke got off soon after, and this time the run and kiss were perfect!

Now it was time for them to get married, but there was a problem — she had forgotten to get the marriage certificate.  She HAD remembered to go to the doctor and get some cream to help her when they would get passionate — but not the marriage certificate.  

So we celebrated the non-marriage anyway, followed by a nice wedding reception arranged by my Dad and my Stepmom.  

Peter had to get back to his farm, so there wasn’t enough time to obtain the needed wedding certificate in Orlando. My grandmother now faced a decision: Was she willing to go with him, even though unmarried and “living in sin”, for the time it would take to get their marriage certificate in Missouri?  She decided yes, she was willing. So all systems were go.

Next day, time to leave.  Grandma Hall and Peter wanted to sit together in my car so they could hold hands.  I needed more room in the little VW Bug anyway to hold her stuff. So we took out my front seat, packed it full, and the lovers sat in the back.

From Orlando to the Ozarks took 2 days of long driving. None of us had much money.  I found an inexpensive hotel that first night.  The thing I remember most about it is that I wanted to take a bath, but there was no drain stopper.  So I called the front desk and the clerk told me “just wad up a washcloth and stick it in, that should hold the water”.  It actually worked.

Now for the most embarrassing part for 19 year-old me.  

Whenever we would stop to eat at a restaurant on the way, they would bring in their poems.  They had each written some special love poems for the other.  Well, Peter Doke was partially deaf.   So my Grandma Hall had to read her love poems at top volume so he could hear them.  And Peter Doke, being partially deaf, read his poems at top volume also because he thought that was normal volume.  So I sit there eating my hamburger while they shout love poems at each other.  At the time I was humiliated, though now I think it was rather sweet.  We did get some funny looks and smiles.

One Christmas my Mom and I drove to visit the newlyweds.  Upon arrival, we were chased by their geese from our car to the house. After discovering they had boiled cabbage, and that’s about all — Mom and I went into town and found a Chinese restaurant open where we ate Christmas dinner. 

I wish I could say their marriage lasted forever, but alas, after a few years she was ready to come back to Orlando. I can’t remember for sure, but I think my Mom bought her a plane ticket. Then I drove back to Missouri, still in my orange VW bug, and picked up her stuff.  At least this time I was married and had my husband to help me.  I remembered packing so much stuff in the car the back window popped out, and my husband had to put it back in.

Well, it was exciting for her while it lasted.

 Hopeful Hearts, by Frankie Ruth Haswell Hall

It’s all I want,

It’s all I ask,

No pride I vaunt,

It takes no task,

If you will give,

To me a home

With you I’ll live 

And never roam.

Dear Love, I’ll give

This thing you ask,

I’ll make a home, 

It is a task.

Our mated hearts,

with love so strong,

We’ll never part.

“Hope” is our song.

LESSON LEARNED:  You’re never too old to fall in love.

LESSON LEARNED:  You are never too young, or your car to small, to help in love.

LESSON LEARNED:  If you don’t have a plug for a bathtub, you can use a washcloth.

LESSON LEARNED:  It’s not only young people who may let a focus on sex force them into awkward decisions.

LESSON LEARNED:  Young people, remember: Those same actions of old people that humiliate you today will often be favorite memories when you are old.

Here are the links to my signing and cueing YouTube “Word Of The Day” channels. I post a new word every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Check it out and I would love to know what you think of them!

YouTube ASL Word Of The Day with PSE Sentence Examples:

YouTube Cued Speech Word Of The Day:

Also, Check out my Adventure Games in the App Stores:

Please join me for my new blog posts each Friday.  Have fun with your ASL and/or Cued Speech Adventures!

Published by Donna Gateley

Developer of SignCueQuest and CueQuest

2 thoughts on “Blog Post # 13: Family Stories — Grandma Hall Falls In Love At Age 74

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