I plainly remember the day my grandmother asked me when was I going to get married. Did I want to grow old without a husband? Well, frankly yes, at that current moment I did want to grow a little older without a husband. Granny died when I was 13.
I did marry before I was 21. My dad was 23. My paternal grandfather was 21. I tend to take after that side of the family. I think early twenties is a good age to get married (at least I do now, #1 is 18. Maybe late twenties. LOL)
My Granny grew up in an orphanage. At 18, she left the orphanage, and married grandpa. He was 36, widowed, twice divorced, with 3 kids. She thought he was stable and the guy she’d been dating was an alcoholic (where did they meet, I wonder). So Grandpa came to a dance, they met, she fell in love with the persona. They got married. Then she found out he was an alcoholic.
They were married for 25 years when he died. She was 43. He was 62. She loved him and never remarried. She lived another 17 years without him.
Did my grandmother really want me to marry at 12? I doubt it. She probably saw me becoming more and more of a tomboy and worried that I’d never marry. While in High School, my friends were mostly boys. Guys are just easier than girls. They tell you what they think and don’t mince words. If a guy tells you that you smell, you better believe you smell, even if the smell is $40 perfume.
My grandmother would have loved my husband. He’s the kind of guy she appreciated. Like my dad, he’s a good provider for his family. He’s loving to me and the kids. He’s not too strict (Lord knows he could be stricter.) And he doesn’t drink. It took me a while to find him, and even longer to convince him I was the best thing that had ever happened to him and even longer to get him to the alter. But Granny would be proud. Or as we say in Alabama, “right proud.”
Granny was 18 when she married. Her mother, my great grandmother, was 24 when she married my great grandfather, but she already had two kids by other men by then. Her mother, my great great grandmother was around 13-16 when she married. And as far as I can tell, her mother, Susan Markham never married the man (or men) who were the father(s) of her children. Maybe that’s why granny worried about me never marrying. She didn’t care how old I was, she just wanted me married first.
At twelve, boys were gross. At fifteen, I was smitten by most of them. By sixteen, I was in love. Again, and again and again… By eighteen, I knew which one was for me. By twenty, I was married.
Now my kids are sixteen and eighteen. They are far to young to be in love. Or to know, this is the one. Or to marry. When did kids get so young? 🙂 Frankly, for this generation, I am thanking dating at forty would be a good thing. They can date for a decade or two, which by then I will be gone, and then they can marry. Maybe we need to bring back the courting rules of the 1700s. No man can court a lady alone. They would do it in the parlor, sitting on opposite sides of the room. If he was seen touching as much as her arm, her father could shoot him. Why did Granny think being a spinster was such a bad thing? I am promoting it to my girls. At least until thirty. LOL