This Saturday, we were set to celebrate my grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary. Last night, I had the honor of being with my 93 year old grandfather one last time before he went to be with the Lord.
One of my assignments for the anniversary party was to chronicle my grandparents love story - how they met, how they fell in love, how my grandfather proposed. With the craziness of the past few weeks, I only completed a draft yesterday morning.
While it may not be my best work (and I am too distraught to attempt an edit), it is the best tribute I can imagine to the love of a 93 year old man who raised a family of ten children with an 89 year old woman whom he called "his best girl" until the day he died.
I love you, Grandmom and Granddad.
Samuel and Barbara Smith – A Love Story
When we think of love stories, most often the plot lines of classic romantic films or Elizabethan sonnets come to mind. The love story of Samuel and Barbara Smith, however, is much more simple than that. And after 70 years, I think you can agree that the best things can indeed be the simple things.
Samuel and Barbara met in a school cafeteria in Oklahoma. Barbara, who was 13 at the time, was introduced to Samuel by a mutual friend. Barbara had never seen Samuel at school because, at the age of 17, he was regularly pulled out to work - as was common custom at that time. After their introduction, the two had a casual friendship, occasionally meeting at school basketball games.
Shortly after their friendship began, there was a tragic car accident involving several students from Oklahoma City High School. Many of the students involved in the crash passed away, and the funeral became a focal point for the city. Barbara’s mother attended the funeral, and on her way home saw Barbara walking home with a young man. Upon further inspection, she noticed that the two were holding hands. The young romance was now public, and Barbara’s mother quickly made her displeasure clear. When Barbara returned home, her mother asked, “What do you think you’re doing?” At the age of 13, Barbara’s mother felt that she was much too young to be in a relationship.
Time passed, and Samuel eventually moved to Northern California to begin his career as a carpenter. Barbara was accepted into the University of California, Los Angeles to begin her undergraduate studies. She moved from Oklahoma to California to attend school, living in the home of family members who owned property in the area. While Barbara was studying at UCLA, Samuel asked for her visit him in San Francisco. Their relationship strengthened even with the distance between them.
While Barbara enjoyed her studies at UCLA, she became increasingly uncomfortable travelling alone to-and-from school to her relatives’ home. She eventually returned to Oklahoma to be closer to her family. After her return to Oklahoma, Samuel asked for Barbara’s hand in marriage. She happily accepted and took a final solo trip to California by train to join her soon-to-be husband.
Seventy years, 10 children, 20 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren later, the love story of Samuel and Barbara Smith continues. While not the epic drama of your typical romantic novel, theirs is a love that has stood the test of time – standing as a testament to the power of simple, true love.