Back in 2010, in honor of Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo created a list of writing prompts for each day during the month of March. I didn’t participate in 2010, so I’m going to take the opportunity to participate this year, since Lisa was kind enough to resurrect her prompts for 2012.
How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?
My grandparents, Harold Miller and Marie Rottman, met as kids…they were neighbors. Although I don’t know the full story of how they met or started dating, I do have some artifacts, including a letter written by Marie to Harold two months before they married and a story about my grandmother’s engagement ring
Thursday 7:00 PM
Please do not stop at the dime store to buy anything for my hope chest. I have a plan. I hope you understand it.
You make $16.00 wk--$64.00 Month
carfare $1.25 wk = $5.00 Month
Thats all I can think of at the present.
How does it sound to you? Can you come over around 11 o clock instead of 12?
P.S. In order to get married you have to be over 18.
[Marie Rottman to Harold Miller (Chicago, Illinois), letter, 4 May 1939, Rottman Family Artifacts; privately held by the author.]
The Engagement Ring
The year was 1938. I was an 18-year-old girl. I had been going with my 19-year-old boyfriend for about a year. We were in love and knew we would marry someday. Jobs were scarce for young men, but on Christmas Day, Harold came to my house with engagement and wedding rings. I was elated.
The engagement ring was too big so we wrapped string around it to fit my finger.
During the winter we made plans to marry on July 6, 1939. We were saving as much as we could for the wedding. Harold only made $16.75 a week so our dates weren't expensive. On most Sundays we packed a lunch and went to North Avenue Beach on Lake Michigan.
One Sunday I noticed my ring was missing. We looked on the blanket and sifted through the sand. We searched for about five hours and had to give up because it was dark. My engagement ring was gone. Harold knew I was upset so he decided to burry his ring in the sand so our rings would be together just as we would spend our lives together. It wasn't an expensive ring but one that he was fond of. We packed up and took the streetcar home.
When we arrived home I told my sister that I lost my ring. She said, "No, you didn't. It must have fallen off your finger during the night because I found it when I made your bed this morning. You had already left for the beach."
We were married in July and our marriage lasted almost 43 years when the Dear Lord took Harold from me. I'll never forget the love and understanding he showed that day on the beach.
[Marie (Rottman) Miller, story, ca. June 1982, Miller Family Artifacts; privately held by the author. This story was dictated by Marie to her daughter Jean (Miller) Cahill after the death of Marie's husband, Harold.]
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