John and Irene

(the story as told to me by Grandma Bindel, June 2010)

She had graduated high school, and her parents were sending her to business school in Wichita Falls. There wasn’t a lot of money, though, so a family with just two kids with parents both working took her in as a boarder and she helped get their kids off to school. After she’d get them off, she’d go to Mass, and then to her business classes. She became friendly with some other girls who were attending Mass, and one Sunday, they invited her for dinner at their house. She got to know their brother, too, and joined the family often for meals over about a month. John asked her to the pictures, and they had a couple of dates. Then one day after lunch, he asked her to go for a walk and asked her to marry him. And then told her he’d be going overseas. She wondered what she would do with him leaving, but he told her he really wanted to marry her. She told him he’d have to ask her parents, so she called her mom and her mom said she’d fix them a nice meal, to come on over. She could tell he was nervous, but John finally worked up the courage to tell her mom he wanted to marry Irene. Her mom told him he’d have to ask her father, so Irene waited in a bedroom where she could watch and saw her father reading the Sunday paper. John had to say “Mr. Mengwasser” at least three times before her father put his paper down, but she could see the grin on his face the whole time he was playing this little game. When John finally got the words out, after asking if he was Catholic, her father said he’d have to ask her mother . . . and John explained that he had. Then he said he’d have to ask Father Bender. Off they went, John and Irene, to the priest’s house in the country. They knocked on the door, Irene introduced John. Father Berber asked if he was Catholic and then invited them in. When they explained they wanted to be married and that John was about to go overseas, Father Bender said he could marry them the day after tomorrow.

And he did.