FIRST PERSON Mom says not that ‘playboy’

By: Jean Wilson, Loomis
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It was 1944 when the handsome young farm boy with the curly black hair began frequenting the ice cream store where he flirted with the girl behind the counter.  And she responded by serving him up double thick chocolate shakes.  They had their first date on his 21st birthday in September. 

Her mother did not approve of her dating "that playboy Billy Heck."  Nevertheless, in December they got engaged on her 18th birthday.  In February, they decided to elope and made their plans. They took her sister and went to another county so the marriage license notice would not appear in the local paper. Needing another witness, they drafted a sailor passing by for the ceremony. 

But Billy didn't yet have a place for them to live, so he took her home and for the next two weeks only her sister knew of the newlyweds' secret. 

Then, one afternoon he came by to fetch his bride and carry her off. Her mother was fit to be tied and did not speak to them for the next year! That is, until news reached her that a  "little stranger"  – as babies in waiting were called in those days – was on the way.  When I arrived the next January – the first grandchild – all was forgiven. "That playboy Billy Heck" was at last deemed a respectable Bill, even with the curly black hair. My parents  were married almost 50 years and had six children.

Jean Wilson, Loomis