The story of how my great Aunt Bonnie met and married great Uncle Cliff is the stuff of classic love stories. My grandfather (Cliff’s brother) had told me the story almost completely devoid of romance. When I was a senior in high school, I began corresponding with Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Cliff. Here is their story, in her own words, from an email dated 18 March 1999:
I’ll tell you how I met Cliff. I attended the women’s college at Western Reserve Univ. in Cleveland and he was a student at the engineering school (Case) across the street (where your grandfather went). Well, the women’s college junior-senior prom came along and my boyfriend, Jerry, couldn’t go with me because he was teaching a college aeronautics class. I asked if it was OK to invite someone else and he said OK, so I invited Karl.
However, my friend, Josephine from NJ was a senior and really wanted to go to the prom as it was her last before graduation. Jerry suggested I get Bill for Josephine as he really wanted to stick old Bill with a blind date. Jerry said I should handle this myself as he wanted nothing to do with it. Well, Bill had a tux but couldn’t go but suggested his classmate, Cliff. Well, Cliff and I talked on the phone lots of times to make arrangements for his date with Josephine.
At the prom dinner at a downtown hotel, Josephine, Cliff, me and Karl sat together. I was a bit peeved at Josephine because she put cream in Cliff’s coffee and did a lot of helpful things that I never even thought of doing. I started thinking I should learn to be more solicitous. After the prom, Cliff called me but not Josephine. I finally got her a date with Jerry.
Bill and Cliff and Mickey, my best friend, and I double dated a lot before some of the guys were called up for WWII. Cliff was gone 2 years. During the war, we communicated by G-Mail, little tiny, one-page letters, photographically reduced from the original letters and censored.
To let you know what happened to the personnel in the above story, Josephine went back to New Jersey after graduation. I met her for lunch in New York one time but we’ve lost track of one another. Bill just died and shortly after his wife (2nd) died, too. Jerry died in a fire after spending time in prison for shooting at some girls who cut through his property. Karl lives way out in the country, outside Cleveland with his 2nd wife. Mickey is still one of my best friends. Her husband died last year.