She wasn’t going to wear an apron. Because the only girls who wore aprons were housewives, and she wasn’t going to be one. It wasn’t that she had anything against housewives, it was that she saw something else whenever she looked into the mirror.
“I didn’t want to be a maid and cook,” she said. “I had too restless of a brain.”
But, this was wartime. And in small-town, rural Florida, once girls reached puberty, they had two career options: (a) teaching school (b) aprons.
And, since she had a God-given passion for not wiping snotty noses, she went away to the Florida College For Women, in Tallahassee.
“I was in the marching band,” she said. “We got to travel everywhere. It was like being famous. Suddenly, this little farm girl was wearing sparkling uniforms with tassels. I loved it.”
And then the war ended.
In a few weeks, the entire world was overrun with soldiers looking to make new lives for themselves. And there weren’t enough colleges to hold them all.
“So they renamed our school,” she said. “The name stuck—Florida State. You might’ve heard of it?”
It rings a bell.
“We girls weren’t happy about it,” she said. “Taking classes WITH boys, meant, well, you know…” She gave me a look. “… boys only think about one thing.”
Don’t I know it, sister.
“After a few weeks,” she went on. “All my friends quit thinking about their studies. They started thinking about dating. Next thing you know, everyone went boy-crazy.”
And then one day she went to church. It was the same particular day that a young gentleman asked to sit beside her. The man—even though he walked with a cane—was quite nice-looking.
“He looked like Tyrone Powers,” she says. “Only he had farm-boy ears.”
He was a hick, from small-town Florida, with no big dreams for his life—other than farming tobacco and having a family. He had no money, no prospects, no education, and a bullet in his left foot. Tryone Powers would never do.
He invited her to lunch after church. She accepted, but only because she felt sorry for him. He called on her again; they went for a drive in the country. They went out a few more times; but only because she didn’t have anything better to do. He told her he loved her; she dropped out of college. He asked her to marry him; she said, “The courthouse closes at three.”
She had six children. And even at her age,
She still wears an apron sometimes.