No Fancy Shoes
Updated: Aug 13
There wasn't a fancy shoe in her closet. She was left as the only girl of five after her elder sister met her untimely death when her nightgown caught on fire. Brought up in a loving Christian family in the South, they were strong. Their dad, Ira, was a builder, and to his character: diligent, confident. Mother, Floy, a homemaker: fierce, loving. The boys were boys. Fun, painfully boisterous and loved her relentlessly.
She introduced herself by drawing on his collar in English class. Lester was 16 and she was 14. His mother was not amused, but her repetitive drawings suited his fancy. He was a charmer, tall, handsome and popular. She had blossomed into her own beauty with wavy brown hair and dancing green eyes. They were a striking match. He, however, was no easy catch. On many occasions he would ask her out for a date only to show up with someone else in his car, breaking her heart. Or he would say he would pick her up, and would not show up at all. But sweet Frances, known by her brothers as Sissy, would be patient. Sissy faithfully waited on Lester.
That day came. That day none of the women wanted to face. Several of Sissy's brothers had already enlisted in World War II, but now it really hit home. Lester had enlisted too. She had already been heartbroken over her precious brothers but now her love as well would be thrust into this helacious war.
Lester was faithful to write. Letters came weekly. He wrote to Ira and Floy and to Sissy's brother Charles who was too young to serve. He served in the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. Alabama in the South Pacific, so letters arrived from Guam, the New Hebrides Islands, Fiji and the Marianas. He soon proclaimed his love for Frances and asked her to marry him in a letter, after first seeking her parents' approval in writing.
Docked in Los Angeles, California for a week, Lester called Frances and asked her to fly out and marry him that week while they were in port. Ira said the only way his daughter would be able to do that was if Floy could go with them. So, the marriage was postponed until after Lester was no longer aboard ship, which was three months later, in June 1946. It was a sweet wedding but was made challenging when Lester's parents were two hours late for the event. The happy couple was married 48 years. He always made sure she had plenty of fancy shoes.