My assignment began in the fall of 1952. I had been with Charlie for 19 years
already and the Lord added another duty to my job description as his guardian angel.
I was to oversee a partnership that was in the making.
Charlie had enrolled for his sophomore year at the university. There was a vivacious brunette in his English class that sure caught his attention more than dangling participles. Upon inquiring around, he learned the somber fact that she was “going with” Johnnie Roberts. That proposed a dilemma.
It wasn’t long before Charlie’s buddies got in on this fascination and
dared Charlie to ask her out. After days of contemplating the task, he decided to take the guys up on the $20 bet. Of course he needed to ease into it by introducing himself and making small talk on a few occasions. Then he’d take on “the dare”.
The next day after English class, Charlie followed Frances down the stairs so he wouldn’t miss the opportunity to open the door for her as she left Clawson Hall. Knowing girls love that kind of thing, it would at least present an opportunity to introduce himself.
“Why thank you, “ she responded, smiling up at Charlie. “We haven’t really met yet, I’m Frances…Frances Williams.”
“Name’s Charlie Tullis. I was born and raised in this town, but I’ve never seen you until this class, so where do you hail from?”
“Small town about 100 miles southwest…it’s called Lawton.”
“Oh, I’ve been there years back visiting a family friend with my folks. How about some hot cocoa at the student center…unless you have another class?”
“Sure, sounds perfect on a cool day like today.”
The brisk fall winds left a chill in the air, but their new friendship continued to warm over steaming cups of cocoa. That day he also learned that Johnnie Roberts was out of the picture, a little fact he decided to keep to himself.
Two weeks and several after class conversations later, Charlie took on his buddies’ dare. Frances said yes and Charlie soon had a crisp $20 bill in his wallet.
On the next Friday night , Charlie splashed Aqua Velva all over his freshly shaven face and combed Brylcreem through his blonde hair. He carefully adjusted his tie one last time before donning his jacket. Picking up the keys to his red convertible, he was off to pick up Frances for their dinner date.
With dusk approaching, Charlie and Frances were cruising second street in the red Ford convertible . The Andrews Sisters were blaring on the radio and Frances’ long brunette locks were blowing in the wind. Charlie’s hair was frozen solid however, courtesy of Brylcreem. They were on their way to a great little steak house. Frances was smiling and singing along to the radio. Life was good.
“Charlie, I have to wee.”
“We’ll be at the restaurant in about ten minutes. Is that OK?”
“I need to wee now, Charlie!” Frances continues emphatically. “Please stop here!”
Somewhat confused , Charlie brings the car to a halt in front of a vacant lot
only a few blocks from the restaurant.
Frances sprang from the red convertible, dashed to the center of the lot,
and proceeded to whirl round and round, hands raised gleefully, skirt flying in the wind, all the while shouting at the top of her lungs “Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!!”
Charlie observed her glad refrain and jubilant antics with a strange look of puzzlement on his Aqua Velva splashed face. What a girl he thought. And so began an enduring and adventurous love story that has lasted until this very day. It’s been a great assignment.
*Dedicated to Charlie and Frances who really lived out this story, whose zest for life and genuine love for each other I have always admired. Frances is now present with the Lord in heaven, I’m sure eagerly awaiting her next “Weeeeeeeeeeee!” when Charlie arrives.
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