My father grew up in a nearby town a bit larger than
Alderson, and was a newcomer to living in a farming community,
moving to one as an adult. By the time I was 16,
about 12 years into my dad becoming a resident of this small farming
community, he had figured out how things worked, when they worked
well. It appears he observed that “farmers sons married farmers
daughters = a larger farm.” It was at this time, in my sophomore
year, that I left Alderson to live with my dad.
There was no dating allowed, for sure, other than the
“arranged dates” he approved with one young man and his family.
Those “dates” were usually a Sunday afternoon movie, after
church, with the boy’s mother and younger sister.
No nighttime dates and never alone!
The “young man” appeared to buy into my dad’s
plan; and when I returned to Alderson for my senior year, he
invited me to the other schools prom. I really
didn’t want to go, so explained how sorry I was and how much I
wished I could go, (mistake!) but our Alderson prom was the same
night. End of story… no…not quite.
He managed to convince the rest of the senior class at the
other school to vote to change the prom night, delaying it one week.
When he called to tell me, I was pretty much hooked and out
When I graduated, I wanted to go to Marshall U. with
my friends, but Daddy chose the college I was to attend, and not
surprisingly, it was the same college chosen by his “approved young
You see, this particular young man was very smart and
very “safe” (Safe in that he didn’t believe in kissing a girl unless
he wanted to marry her, although I can't imagine how my dad could
know that), but most importantly, his family’s very large
farm adjoined the second farm that my father and stepmother had
purchased a few years earlier. Enough said…and
of course I knew nothing of “the plan” until many years later when
my dad explained how I had ruined his plans.
Daddy was right - the really big farms now are most
generally those that were joined in matrimony, over the years.
Ours is still very small, thanks to my strong independent