Brides Wearing White #4/ Secrets!
Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Leroy had taken a job working at a garage on the weekends, so she saw him only once or twice during the week Sometimes he met her at the Wednesday night youth activities at church but seldom on Sundays.
Now, this was a military city, and there were several military bases all around, mostly Air Force. Therefore, soldiers were a common sight. And nice girls were cautioned to avoid having anything to do with these ‘Fly Boys’ when they met them on the street. Well, they were to be found in great numbers in the city, taking leave from their bases for a day’s excursion. So when Annie went downtown, which she did a couple times a month, she was very cautious.
She often took the bus downtown to shop and always went with a friend. On such occasions they would walk down to the bus stop, catch the bus downtown and get off on Main Street. Then they would start their trek all the way down the ten blocks or so that ended at the exclusive Cox Brothers Department Store. There the girls would go to the fancy lounge and freshen up. Then they would begin the trip back down the other side of the street where they always window-shopped and daydreamed. Sometimes they would even go inside a store and put something in lay-away, usually for $5.00 down.
When that happened, they had to be sure to take this trip again the next month at the same time so they could make another payment on their lay-away goodies. And always the girls would stop at the Manhattan Café, located next to the Majestic Theater, to enjoy great burgers, fries and cream sodas.
And all along the way, up one side of Main Street and down the other, they would meet or be followed by these dangerous ’’Fly-Boys’. If they whistled, the girls were to ignore. If they said, “shake it, but don’t break it”, they were to ignore. And never, never should they make eye contact or actually talk to any of them! Mothers in those days believed that because service men were all drafted, and almost every young man in the country wound up in the military, girls had to be careful. No telling who these guys were! The service was not selective. Everyone went, regardless of character: the good, the bad, the whatever. But when a girl met a service man one-on-one, he was probably all right.
And so it was that Annie did meet several military guys in a less-than-dangerous environment. She had begun taking skating lessons in an old skating rink across town, and Annie would take the bus there and back once a week for lessons. Then often on weekends, her mother would take her there to spend the afternoons skating. Her favorite was dance skating, and she usually had someone invite her to be his partner. To dance skate she had to be pretty good at skating backward and turning around, not to mention stopping.
Those were fun times, and some of the interesting guys she met there were soldiers stationed at the nearby army base. As they, one by one, received orders and left, she began to correspond with them from afar. One fellow who wrote to her often was eventually stationed in Korea!
It was at these evening skating ventures that Annie met Bob, who was an airman stationed at one of the local air bases. His home state was Missouri, and he was set to be discharged soon. Bob and Annie skated every dance set together. Their favorite song, always played on the organ, was ‘Buttons and Bows’ . Oh, how they glided across the skate rink! Of course, Leroy didn’t know about any of this.
In fact, one time Annie saw a little girl at the rink who attended the same church as Annie. This little girl’s name was Francine, and she was there at a Sunday School skating party. Annie was afraid little Francine would tell someone from church, someone who might know Leroy, that she was there skating with another guy, so she quickly put her finger to her lips and said, “Shhhhh.” She would rather keep this weekend boyfriend a secret from Leroy. What he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him!