My wife Shelia and I had known each other since we were in the fourth grade. We started dating when we were juniors in high school. As we entered into our senior year my Father was offered a job in Florida which he accepted.
I of course wanted to be with my family, but it was with a heavy heart when we left our home and headed toward Florida. Shelia and I wrote back and forth, but I missed her dearly. One day in a letter I asked her to marry me. We were still seniors in high school at the time. Our plans were to finish high school as well as I joining the Army and attend the Army Flight training program. After graduation I joined the Army having qualified for the Flight Training program. Shortly afterwards I found myself crawling on my stomach through the mud in basic training.
It would be a full year before we would be able to get married and live off the base. While I was attending Flight School, Shelia came to Florida and stayed with my parents. On one of my weekend passes we were sitting in Lake Eola Park located in Orlando Florida. As we sat on a bench in the park we started to discuss our plans after we were married. Of course the subject of children came up in the conversation.
Shelia asked, “How many children do you want?”
Myself being from a family of five responded saying, “Twelve is a nice round number.”
Shelia gasping for air said, “TWELVE.”
I replied, “Why not. I like big families.”
Shelia then said, “Let’s take one off of that.”
I thought to myself, “Eleven? I guess I can do that.” Then I looked into Shelia’s deep brown eyes responded saying, “What ever you say dear eleven is fine with me.”
Shelia immediately shook her finger at me, then in the sand in front of our bench she scratched the number 12, then she crossed out the one. She then said, “12 minus 1 is two. I don’t know how many kids you are having but we are having two.”
While I was unfamiliar with that form of math, I decided to follow my Father’s sage advice replying, “What ever you say dear.”
My father’s advice proved prudent then and for the next 50 plus years. we have two beautiful daughters and two wonderful and beautiful grandchildren. I am still taken to school over Shelia’s math from time to time, but still reply, “What ever you say dear.”
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