One day, when the first of our five daughters was a teenager, my husband watched the smiles and excitement as she talked on the phone with a young male school friend. He remarked, "I wish I had known when I was a teen that girls were waiting at the phone for boys to call."
When he was a kid, he told me, he thought he had to persuade girls to go out with him. He said he had no idea girls were waiting close by the phone for boys to call.
I am told that these days girls do not wait by the phone but initiate the calls themselves. They tell me further, boys do not call a girl that does not call them first. Does this mean males are afraid of females?
Recently I wrote a post about a time when my mother was a fatherless child in the stricken South during reconstruction after The Civil War. Before the South recovered from the terrible destruction of war, it was also faced with the Boll Weevil's destruction of cotton fields at a time when cotton was a major money crop in the South. Then the Great Depression.
But men and women loved and respected one another. Life seemed good in our little corner of the world in spite of all the deprivation. The Christian gospel of Grace brought the beauty of much "graciousness" into our community. The Christian gospel preached by Methodist Circuit Riders and others, in spite of any flaws they may have had, brought about enough "civility" that we could build civilization in our communities. We worked hard and played hard.
I have written about cooking from scratch and how clothes were made at home with long hours of sewing with needle and thread and/or a foot operated Singer sewing machine. No fast foods. No washing machines. Clothes were rubbed by cold chapped hands on a "rub" board and hung to freeze sometimes before they would dry on an outdoor clothes line.
But it seems relationships between male and female was not so complicated.
My husband, Charles, and I were teen agers in the thirties. I can testify that the thirties were not a time when boys were afraid of girls. If they were afraid, they were brave enough to call anyway. (Incidentally, a call was a knock at the door. There were few telephones in homes in the South. It was during World War II before telephones were in many households.)
The teen aged boy I married tells me that when he looked across his school gym and saw me, he said to his buddy nearby, "I am going to ask that girl for a date." A good line? He said he and his friends were taking a look at all the girls on my side of the large gymnasium. The basketball game was in his school's gym playing my school's team. We lived sixteen miles apart.
Are some couples just "meant for each other"? It so happened that Charles had relatives living in my town. I was a school friend of his cousin, Clara. Clara and I were not close friends but did visit back and forth occasionally. One day, a close friend and I happened to be visiting with Clara when Charles and his family came for a Sunday afternoon visit.
Charles was still a teenager and did not have a car but managed to get back to my town on occasion. It was a time when hitchhiking was common, When Charles was unable to hitch a ride one time he actually walked the 16 miles.
His friend, Bill, finally owned a car (with a rumble seat) and the problem was solved. Charles brought Bill down to my town and introduced Bill to my best friend, Julia. Problem again. Bill and Julia got married two months later. So Charles was back to hitching a ride when he could not borrow his Dad's car. Was Julia and Bills marriage so soon after meeting a bad mistake? Not in this case. The marriage lasted over 50 years until Bill's death.
One late afternoon, Charles came down to a pound party. What is a pound party? During these "depression years," the hostess would invite all the kids to her home for a party. Everyone who came, pitched in with refreshments by bringing a "pound of cookies" or fruit or part of a cake or whatever they had on hand. The hostess made a large pitcher of something to drink...punch or cool-aid or ice tea. We played games that would be called "mixers" today, These games would have the boys and girls talking to one another. Parents were nearby but basically out of sight.
While we were walking, he suddenly turned to me and asked, "Will you marry me?" My reply was, "Oh, I am too young to even think about marriage." Charles said, "I do not mean, marriage right now. Could we be engaged? " In retrospect, I suppose it is laughable to think of our innocence and ignorance. But as young we were, we talked quite seriously about what we expected in marriage.
As they say, the "the rest is history."