In 1947, my sister Marion and I were invited to a friend’s birthday party. My boyfriend planned to meet me there. (He later called to say he couldn’t make it. Talk about luck.)
When I arrived, a young man opened the door. He was the most handsome man I had seen in my 16 years—with a black crew haircut, a small mustache and beautiful blue eyes. His name was Tommy. “He’s mine,” I whispered to Marion.
After the party started, we played post office. I was extremely shy, but I cheated and got Tommy’s number, 13. Before I could call it, he called my number, 10. (I later learned that he had cheated, too.) I had never been kissed like that before. I completely forgot my boyfriend’s name.
When refreshments were served, Tommy offered me a taste of his ice cream. He sat with me and asked if he could take me home. I agreed, and when we got to my house, I started to introduce him to my parents but had to ask his last name. The minute he said “Stalsworth,” I realized he had been my sweetheart in second grade.
Back then, our teacher made double rows, and my desk was adjacent to Tommy’s. One day, Tommy brought in a small glass lamb and placed it on his desk. He slowly pushed it onto my desk and whispered, “It’s yours.” Then he kissed me on the cheek and ran into the coatroom. Soon afterward, I changed schools and lost touch with him, but I thought about him often.
Tommy and I waited until I was 18, in 1949, to get married, and we had four daughters and a son. Our wonderful marriage lasted almost 57 years, until his death in 2006.