Mid-Summer, 1943, WWII rages on. The Seaboard Champion train, is leaving Savannah, Georgia, with a long track ending in Bradenton, Florida, 10 hours of clacking and rocking wheels along the track.
17 year old Lucille, sits huddled in the seat beside her stone-faced, angry mother. Her sobs keep time with the clackety clack of the rails as she sobs quietly. Her eyes do not register on any of the handsome young sailors, in their bright white uniforms and sailor hats.
Her mother, Alva, hisses in her ear, Stop Crying! you are 17 years old, Charlie is 29, you are not going to marry Charlie.
The train finally reaches the train depot in Bradenton, and grabbing Lucille by the hand her mother drags her off the train and marches her down the street to their home in Palmetto.
Summer passes slowly for Lucille, her heart is breaking for love of Charlie.
The date is Sept 21, 1943, tomorrow Cille will be 18. She waits as the train from Savannah pulls into the Bradenton Depot and a handsome man, with black Irish curls, steps down into the railway station. She leaps into his arms and he assures her we will be married tomorrow. You will be 18 and she can't stop us.
Charlie gives Cille's mother the ultimatum. We are getting married at the courthouse tomorrow, you can be there or not, its your choice.
The next day, September 22, 1943, Charlie and Cille walk into the courthouse to be married. Cille is wearing a pale blue suit, Charlie a Navy blue suit. Alva watches as her 18 year old daughter pledges the rest of her life to the man who will be 30 in 3 weeks, and as they walk to the train to leave for Savannah, her parting words are This Will NEVER work!
Charlie and Ceil wave out the window as they sway to the rocking Seaboard Champion taking them to Savannah and the rest of their lives. They did live happily ever after until death did they part.
Lucille was my mother, and Charlie my Dad. It did work, they lived happily together until my mother died in 1990. Daddy loved her until he died in 2006.
Over the years of my life, my Grandmother Alva, continued to say the marriage will never work. After a few years it became the family joke.
My Grandmother always regretted she let my mother ride the train to Savannah to stay in the boarding house where my Grandfather was staying while worked in the CCC camps. Charlie stayed in that same boarding house. The two of them met on the steps, while sitting outside enduring the hot Sept heat. It Worked! My brother and I are living proof!
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