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Rumble Seat Romance

Updated on November 27, 2014

Almost Not a Romance

When my parents first met, things didn't go well. My mother was a little self conscious about her appearance and in particular her weight; so when she met a man who thought teasing her about her weight was a good way to flirt, she wrote him off pretty quickly.  My dad was that man.  He would never have had a chance after that if it weren't for a couple of friends and rumble seat.

It was a while later that my dad was riding with his best friend from their farms in the country to the city where my mother lived. His friend's car was only a two seater but it boasted a convenient pop up rumble seat in the back in case you needed a little extra space.  On this particular drive, it proved very useful when the two men spotted a couple of young women walking along the road as the reached the outskirts of the city.  Dad's friend stopped the car.  He had recognized one of the women as his girlfriend.  He suggested that my dad should pull out the rumble seat and ride in back with the other girl so his girl could sit up front with him.  The other young woman, of course, was my mom.  My dad must have offered a good apology because as they rode along together in the rumble seat, their romance began.

Simple Wedding

My parents were married just before the United States entered World War II. The nation was still suffering from the effects of the Depression. As a result, my parents had learned to live frugally and wanted a simple wedding. They didn't have wedding rings, but they didn't need them. Their promise to be faithful to each other was enough. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a temple marriage was the one thing they weren't willing to compromise on.  They wanted to have the blessings offered in the temple for their marriage which would seal them together for all eternity. The closest temple was in Manti, over a hundred miles away from their homes.  Although it would be difficult and expensive to travel to Manti, it was important to them to start their marriage out right. Family and friends traveled with them. It was the end of July and the weather was good for camping and traveling. They camped out along the way, so their honeymoon was spent camping on the way back. They felt the most important thing was to start their marriage out right. Their commitment to each other and to God set a secure foundation for our family.

Videos of Where They Were Married

One of the expenses forgone was wedding photos, so there is no visual record of their wedding; but I like these videos of the Manti Temple where they were married because they help me imagine the two of them at the time of their wedding.

This video showcases the beauty of the Manti Temple which was a beautiful place for my parents married life to begin.

Newlyweds and World War II

My parents had not been married too long when the United States entered World War II. The draft followed and the day came when my dad received a draft notice. It was a sad day as my parents looked at being separated. My dad went for his physical. When blood was drawn from my dad's arm, it ended up being paralyzed. He was rejected as not being fit for military service. I imagine there was anxiety about what he would do if he couldn't use both arms for his work. Just a couple of days ago I waited on man who was paying his utility bill. He only used one arm. He got out his wallet, pulled out the money needed to pay the bill and folded up and put his receipt in his wallet all with one arm. As I watched him, I thought of what my dad must have gone through. When my dad was younger he had a haystack fall on him. Perhaps that accident had a part in what happened at the physical. Eventually my dad was able to use both arms again. The paralysis lasted just long enough to save him from going to war. I'm sure my dad would have served if he had been physically able to. His best friend, who owned the car with the rumble seat, went to war and never returned. His oldest sister's son died in the war too. World War II certainly made the first few years of my parent's marriage an unsettled time.

I think the following photo was taken right after my dad got his draft notice or maybe after the physical. My dad was called Smiley because he was usually smiling, but not so in this picture. It is the saddest looking picture that I have of him.

What It Was Like to Send Someone Off to War

This video I think shows the feelings that must have been felt in sending someone you loved off to war during World War II.

Adding Children

My parents wanted to add children to their family. It took four years before their first child, my sister, was born. About six years later my parents were offered the chance to adopt a little baby girl who had been abandoned. They were excited since it didn't appear they would have other children themselves. Because the father of the baby girl was a relative he found out that my parents had his baby daughter. He threatened their lives. Family Services stepped in and took the baby girl and placed her in a closed adoption where her father wouldn't know where she was. I am sure it was devastating to my parents to lose their hope for a larger family. Within two years, though, I was born and less than three years later my brother was born.

My parents love for each other was enhanced by having children, although it also meant problems and challenges. Because of health problems my dad quit working in the coal mines that were the major employers in our area. He decided to become a full time farmer. The first plan was to establish a herd of cows and sell the milk. My mother kept the records of the expenses and the income. They had always had a flock of chickens and sold the surplus eggs. As they looked over the records they saw that the chickens were bringing in more money than the cows. Their plans changed and they sold the extra cows and bought chickens. My dad did most of the care of the chickens like building coops, feeding the chickens, gathering the eggs, crowing crops for feed, but my mother helped and we, as children, were assigned regular chores to help too. My mother's main job was preparing the eggs to be sold. She cleaned them, candled them, graded them and cased them. Again we, as children, were assigned to help get the eggs ready to be sold. Then the whole family would load the eggs in the car and drive around a route delivering the eggs. As soon as we were old enough to carry a dozen eggs without breaking them, we were assigned homes to deliver the eggs to. Money handling was really difficult since most of the eggs were large and sold for 50 cents a dozen.

I didn't see my parents fight with each other. They seemed very supportive of each other. My mother said they had worked out most of their disagreements before I was born. The only thing I ever knew they disagreed on was Day Light Savings time change and the schedule for feeding the chickens. My dad felt the chickens should be fed by the sun not by the clock. My mother agreed except when the time conflicted with one of the church meetings. She felt the time for feeding could be adjusted so the meeting could be attended. I think they worked it out so the time of feeding was changed by a few minutes each day for a week or so until the chickens were being fed at a time that didn't conflict with the meeting. Day Light Savings time didn't make much sense to my parents, and it still doesn't make sense to me.

Too Early of an End

My parents worked very well together as business partners. They had their roles, but they also helped each other. Mom would feed the chickens and gather the eggs if needed, and Dad would help clean and case the eggs to get them ready to sell. They worked together well and supported and helped each other.

My mother's illness and death was devastating to my father. After her death my father become seriously ill himself. He underwent many medical tests and was hospitalized for a period of time. My brother and I tried to do the things our mother had done to help our dad. We were both still in school and were gone to school from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. We learned to do homework on the bus ride because once we got home there was a lot to do. We would finish getting the eggs ready to deliver, then deliver the eggs. Then the chickens had to be fed, the eggs gathered and there still was a cow to milk and pigs to feed. Some evenings when there was an activity to go to, we would literally run to get everything done in time.

Dad went on to remarry, but he always talked about Mom as the love of his life with us. He loved his second and third wives and enjoyed their companionship, but he looked forward to being reunited with our mother after death because they had been sealed together for eternity when they were married.

And just think--it all started with a rumble seat.

Share your unusual romance stories here or share a story about a rumble seat.

Do You Have Any Unusual Romance Stories in Your Family?

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    • Mythical Dreamer profile image

      Mythical Dreamer 5 years ago

      I have seen rumble seats at the Hot August Nights in Reno, NV. They look like you'd get really dirty riding in them but they also look like such fun!