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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Century or Centuries (02/17/11)

TITLE: A Century of Love
By Sharon Eastman


The game of love began long ago when God created man and woman. Hearts have melted; breath has fluttered; and eyes have glowed with this wonderful, ecstatic, insatiable gift. Songs laud this emotion; movies praise the feeling; and poets soulfully describe it. Besides God, who is love, it is the most important thing in life.

In Biblical times, Jacob was so besotted with Rachel, he served seven years as a servant to her father. When his tenure ended, he was tricked into marrying her older sister Leah. He served another seven years before he could marry Rachel. He waited with eternal love and consummated his love in marriage for her 14 years from their first meeting.

I recall a century of love affairs in my family. In fact, I wrote and distributed accounts of them to family members. They begin with my Hinkle grandparents . . .

In the hills of the Ozarks, over a century ago, stood a sleepy little town,
Doniphan. Richard Hinkle resided in this countryside. He was a poor young man, who scratched out a living from the good earth. Ora Milner was the oldest daughter of Seth Milner, an educated middleclass gentleman. They also lived in the country where Seth made a decent living. When Ora’s mother died, she was selected to care for her younger siblings. Seth had a mean streak and lashed it out on Ora. She was verbally abused and hated it. One day Seth ordered Ora to draw water from the nearby spring. There he stood, like a mythical god, Richard Hinkle, her possible love and rescuer. They introduced themselves, chatted, and decided to meet again. After several meetings they fell in love. Richard asked Ora to marry him. Ora, enchanted by his fair looks and sense of humor said, “Yes,” from all of her heart. They had only one obstacle – Seth. He thought Richard was too poor for his daughter. Finally, one day at the break of dawn Richard and Ora found a preacher and eloped. They were married over 50 years and had eight children.

The country was agog with victory at the early years following WW11. Dad, Lee, served as a sailor in this worldwide catastrophe, and Mom, Helen, was growing up in Detroit. They met through a mutual friend at a cozy café. Lee was exceedingly handsome, and Helen fell in love at first sight. Lee fell for her exotic ebony hair and sky blue eyes. He drove her home that day, and from then on they spent every possible minute together. But, Lee had many defenses against marriage and commitment. Finally, after a heated discussion, Lee confessed his everlasting love for Helen, and he proposed marriage. Helen was ecstatic when she received her engagement ring at the top of a Ferris wheel. They were married in April, 1948.

The late 1960’s were notorious for hippy antics, and of course, I had to be one. As a pseudo-hippy, I wore the clothes and jewelry, but I wasn’t involved in drugs or protests. I met my future husband, John, at a party. I fell in love with his vivacious personality and tall, dark looks. He liked my baby doll appearance and quiet, serene spirit. Our hearts reeled as the music pounded. He invited me to a rock concert, and from there we were a “couple.” Later in our relationship we partook of the “free love” attitude. To my horror, I became pregnant. We were in love and wanted to be married anyway, and we had a big “shot gun” wedding. Sadly, our marriage ended in divorce. We had a daughter.

Jenny, my daughter, had conquered all her goals except one –marriage. Looking for Mr. Right at age 29 turned out all wrong. All the nice guys were taken, and she gave up. One night she was singing at a piano bar, and her accompanist noticed a very handsome man. Lily introduced the two and the fireworks began. Frank, Mr. Right, was fond of sending pizzas, flowers, and candy. They dated for about a year, and Jenny was anxious to be wed. On a special anniversary one night, he presented her with the ultimate token of his love, an engagement ring. Jenny mumbled a heartfelt yes, and they were married that July. They are very happy and have two children.

That was love in the 20th Century. I’m sure it will continue in all the centuries to come.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jennifer Hill02/24/11
I enjoyed reading the family stories of love. Thank you for sharing. Retelling true love stories in one's family is an awesome way to share true love to our children in this day and age. The world has done so much to "love", our children need to be taught how to recongnize true love and not settle on any imataions.
Jennifer Hill02/24/11
imitation! Don't settle for imitation love. I do know how to spell:)
Bonnie Bowden 02/26/11
I loved this intergenerational love story. I grew up during this time period, too. The 1960's and 1970's are often romanticized as an era of peace and love, but in my experience these terms couldn't be farther from the truth.
diana kay03/01/11
great idea "love" through the centuries :-)