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Long ago: A courtship begins September 16, 2012

Posted by Jenny in history, memoir.
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My grandfather

This is taken from a memoir entitled “When I Was a Girl” by my grandmother, Sybil Crowninshield Kennedy Bennett. The series starts here and alternates every other post.

Wells and I met on the Lehigh Valley train coming home from Syracuse University when we were juniors for Thanksgiving vacation. Several Syracuse students were on the train. The boys were singing and giving cheers after a football victory, the Colgate game which was the big game of the year. We girls joined in, Alice, Celia and I, and so were introduced. This was necessary then. Alice knew one of them so she could speak to him. We [my grandfather and grandmother] had been on the train several times together and each knew the other was a Syracuse student but in those days one had to be properly acquainted before we could speak.

Soon after that Wells called on me and so it all began. I remember on Washington’s Birthday about 1909 he came and took all three of us to a moving picture show downtown. It was our first real movie except for an occasional reel shown in a lecture at church. These were the days in which the train ran right out into the audience head on. It was a slushy, snowy day and we walked back to the campus about one and a half miles in the snow, eating cream puffs which he bought at a bakery, having a hilarious time with our own wit, which was not bad, I think even now. We were soaked in water to our knees. We girls later sat with our feet in the bath tub to prevent catching colds and discussed which one of us he really liked. We decided Alice was prettiest, Celia was most charming, but even so he seemed to like me the best, and so it turned out.

We had a good many dates after that. He took me downtown to the theatre to see The Chocolate Soldier and to another musical show in which a girl was shockingly dressed as a rabbit, a very good show. Also to a harp concert, then quite the thing. Six girls were dressed in white satin, each playing a green and gold Irish harp. We went to the Vesper Services at the First Presbyterian Church, walking the long distance. We seemed to like long walks together better than everything.  Hot chocolate was the usual treat. It was awfully good and the cups although big, not big enough. “Walker’s Drug,” about six blocks from Winchell Hall where I lived was the place we went, the student hangout. At Commencement time he took me over on the north side to Otto’s, an old German restaurant, where beer was served. It was off limits for students. It was very daring and much fun. We were really quite in love that night. I remember a kind of magic about the whole thing.

(To be continued)

My grandmother

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Comments»

1. BrianR - September 17, 2012

I’d love to have a pair of pictures like that of my grandparents. You can imagine them coming across that boulder on a merry stroll through the countryside. I used to chuckle at the quaint stories my grandma told me about dating in the 1920s. A girl daring to go for a ride in a fellow’s car would generate a lot of disapproving talk. We could learn a thing or two from that generation now though. My school was more traditional but friends i knew going to colleges up north said few people date anymore. Romance was completely replaced by “hookup culture”.

Jenny - September 17, 2012

One of the things I enjoy about this part of my grandmother’s memoir is that she does convey a feeling of romance even though she was a pretty down-to-earth type, more given to laughing than swooning. (I will write more about my sense of her personality at the end of this series.) It was my other grandmother, my mother’s mother, who was prone to to lose herself in the pages of romantic novels. But I like to think of Sybil and Wells tramping about the countryside, having long discussions about all kinds of ideas and the issues of the day.


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