Sunday, September 13, 2009


It's strange how we boys never noticed how beautiful Gwendola had become.

She had been a classmate since the first grade, and by the time she was in high school, she was heart-stopping beautiful, but that was never commented upon, because it wasn't noticed.

Gwendola was shy.

She rode the bus to school from several miles out in the country where her father was pastor of a little "holy roller" church, and thus did not join in the activities of us "townies" who ran together after school and on Saturdays, playing with our old cars and lying to each other about our exploits on our dates. She contented herself with playing the accordian in church sometimes.

Gwendola never had a date. If she attended a school social function it was with her younger bother. Her shyness kept her from participating in any of the school's extracirricular activities -- she wasn't in the pep squad, the girls' chorus, the mixed choir, anything. She simply came to school on the bus, attended her classes and boarded the bus for home.

She was ignored by the popular girls: Sharon, Eleanor, Marilyn, Marguarite, Phyllis and Carolyn, the girls who were active socially and thus considered pretty. The boys ignored her, too. I don't remember a boy ever speaking to her throughout her entire twelve year school career, and certainly not Bob Glorfeld, handsome athlete, top student, obviously destined for greatness and sought after by all the girls.

"Bob told me he liked my dress, today." A girl could live a month on that.

Bob was a year ahead of Gwendola, and when she became a senior, he was in the airforce and stationed in Germany. He wrote to Gwendola and asked her to marry him. I can only imagine how her heart must have jumped when she received that letter.

Surely it was a mistake! Surely the letter was meant for someone else! Surely... surely... why they had never even spoken! When Bob came home on leave he brought her a beautiful engagement ring, and the first night he was home Gwendola had her first date ever. A year later they married, and moved into a little house around the corner from where I lived with my grandparents. Our back yards joined, and on occasion when I would see Gwendola out hanging clothes on the line, I would walk over and visit with her. Gwendola had changed.

Now, to go along with that incredible beauty I saw for the first time, she was bright, ebullient, warm and friendly. Why not? Gwendola was happy.

I would walk back to the house wondering how we all could have been so blind? Why didn't we see what Bob saw? How stupid we were! Gwendola was a prize for any man.

When Bob got out of the service they moved to Southeast Missouri where Bob got a good job with the telephone company, and they raised two fine boys. When Gwendola turned forty, she developed cancer and died. She's buried in the little cemetery south of town where all my folks are buried.

When I go out there it seems I can hear the strains of her accordian faintly in the air.

-Joe Edwards

Quote of the Day

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. -Andre Gide

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