It was February 9, 1981, I had just left school and was headed to my grandfather’s farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. I just got a new, well new to me, car. It was a 1961 Ford Falcon, my very first car and I bought it all by myself. It wasn’t the best looking car in the world, it had some rust, and its share of dents but it ran like a clock and the heater was fantastic. In cold Minnesota winters, a heater is a dire necessity. I couldn’t wait to show it to my grandfather, also I wanted to see how he was doing. My grandmother passed a few months ago and he’s been taking it hard. Grandpa lived in an old farm house, a house that had been in his family since the late 1800s. It was left to him by his grandfather Doctor Albert Ingalls, or Doc as grandpa always called him. Grandpa was raised by Doc and his wife, Sarah I think was her name, but he called her Mammaw. Grandpa’s father died in WWI before he was born. His mother moved in with her parents Doc and Mammaw with his two older sisters. Doc was the only father that grandpa had ever known, and being the only men in the house they bonded quickly. Grandpa told me many stories about Doc as a young man. Doc got into a lot of mischief as a kid but his adoptive parents and sisters always kept him in line. But of all the stories grandpa told me about Doc one in particular always stuck with me.
The way I remember it, when Doc was a teenager there was this girl he went to school with, I forget her name. But she lived with her father, and he was kind of cold and bitter. Some of the kids at school gave her a hard time but Doc always stood up for her. One day when she was on her way home from school she was attacked and raped. She became pregnant as a result. When word had spread about her pregnancy it was assumed that since her and Doc had been dating for a while that Doc was responsible for her pregnancy, which of course he wasn’t. Despite that, doc was willing to take responsibility for her and even wanted to marry her and take care of her and her baby. They were about to run away together when the attacker came after the girl again. She took a nasty fall while trying to escape, luckily her father arrived at just the right time and killed the creep with a shotgun. Even though I had heard that story more than once I can’t remember for the life of me what happened to her. I know they did not elope as planned but did she survive the fall? And if she did survive, what became of her? I can’t imagine that Doc just forgot about someone who meant so much to him.
Well I arrived at grandpa’s house and caught him just in the knick of time as he was about to get into his car.
“Eddie ol boy, good to see ya. What are you doing all the way out here?” he said
“I came to show you my new car”
“Not bad, your daddy told me you got yourself a nice car, she runs pretty good huh?”
“Yeah like a champ”, I replied “you want to go for a ride?”
“I was just about to leave to go to the cemetery to visit your grandma, todays her birthday you know.” he said
“Yeah thats right, I should go visit her too, how about I drive you there”
“Does the heater work?” he asked.
“It sure does!” I replied.
“Well then that sounds like a good idea to me Eddie ol boy.”
So we began our journey to the cemetery just a few miles down the road and once again he told me a story about Doc, and how Doc taught him how to drive in a Model T Ford, doc’s first car. Since we were on the subject of Doc I decided to asked grandpa about the girl Doc knew as a teenager.
“What did you say her name was?” I asked.
“Sylvia, Sylvia Webb”.
“What ever happened to her after the fall, did she survive, did her and Doc keep—”
“Keep your eyes on the road boy!” Grandpa exclaimed.
It seemed I drifted onto the shoulder a bit.
“She moved away with her pa after she was well enough to travel. Turn right here,” he said.
We pulled into the cemetery and it was blanketed with snow. Fortunately Grandpa knew right where to go because I couldn’t find anything out here in all this snow. He walked right up to grandma’s grave knelt down and placed some flowers in the vase. He then said a little prayer for her. Barely visible through the snow was Doc’s grave. Doctor Albert Quinn Ingalls it read. Next to him was my great great grandmother’s grave. I pushed the snow away and made a startling discovery. First I noticed that Mammaw was almost a year older than Doc, and the perhaps the most startling of all was her name, Sylvia Webb Ingalls.
“Grandpa!” I exclaimed. “Mammaw was Sylvia?”
“That’s right, she was.”
“But I thought Mammaw’s name was Sarah?” I asked.
“No, Sarah was Sylvia’s daughter, my mother.”
“Okay, now I’m really confused, I thought you said Sylvia moved away and her and Doc didn’t get married” I said. “No” said grandpa. “They did not elope, but they did get together later on.”
“But how?” I asked.
“It’s kind of a long story, why don’t we have a seat on the bench over here and I’ll tell you the story that Doc told me.”
(Told by Albert Ingalls)
I will never forget that night. Earlier that day my girlfriend Sylvia and I were planning to elope. She was waiting for me at the old Atkins place. When I arrived I caught the no good creep who attacked her weeks earlier trying to attack her again. I was shocked to discover that it was the town blacksmith Irv Hartwig, a man that I was working for. Sylvia climbed a rickety ladder in an attempt to escape but one of the rungs broke and she took a nasty fall. I jumped on Hartwig but he overpowered me easily. Right as he was about to hit me with a board, my father and Sylvia’s father walked in and Sylvia’s father killed Hartwig with a shotgun. My love Sylvia was lying on the ground unconscious, and things didn’t look good for her.
After Sylvia’s fall, I made her a promise that as soon as she was well enough that we would get married. I told her that I had talked to her pa and he said it would be fine. Truth is I had not talked to him about it at all. I thought Sylvia was dying and I wanted to comfort her. I’ll never forget how terrified I was when she faded off to sleep that night. I thought the love of my life had just died in my arms. I laid my head down on her crying and the image of our first kiss at the creek appeared in my head. Then she awoke, running her fingers through my hair, and told me that she was going to be alright.
I wanted so badly to marry her. I loved her so much. When I did finally get the courage to talk to her pa about me marrying her he didn’t say no, but he didn’t exactly say yes either. While he didn’t doubt my feelings for his daughter he had the same concerns as my pa did. We were both so young, and was I wanting to marry her simply because I felt sorry for her, and how would I support her and the baby? I started to wonder myself. I had no doubt that I loved her, but seriously, was I ready to be a husband and a father? I was only fourteen years old after all. I remember telling ma that I took care of myself for several years as a child before her and pa adopted me. But I had to steal and cheat folks to make money. And I lived under a porch. That was certainly no life for Sylvia and her baby. Sylvia’s pa still had plans to move to another town and make a fresh start, and I guess I couldn’t blame him, I mean after all the terrible things that happened here in Walnut Grove starting over probably was the best thing to do.
For the next few weeks I visited Sylvia every day. I helped with her studies and anything else I could do while she recovered from her fall. She had received a concussion and a few broken ribs. Doc Baker said it was a miracle not only that she made a full recovery but that her unborn child was alright as well.
After about two months, Sylvia was well enough to travel. As much as we did not want to say goodbye, Sylvia and I decided that her moving with her pa was really the best thing for her and her baby. Sylvia and her father moved to a small town in Wisconsin near Milwaukee. We vowed to keep in touch until we were old enough to get married. We wrote each other for a while but we lost touch after a few months. I tried to move on and put her out of my mind but as hard as I tried I just couldn’t do it. I thought about her constantly. As the years went on I finished school and moved on to medical school. I dated a few lovely ladies over the years but my heart was never in the relationships. In the back of my mind I always compared them to Sylvia and none of them ever measured up.
It was December of 1891 and I had just finished medical school, all of my hard work had paid off I was now officially Doctor Albert Ingalls. I wrote Doc Baker and told him the good news and asked him if he had room for another doctor. Unfortunately he didn’t. He said Walnut Grove was still such a small town that there was simply no way they could justify having two doctors, but he said that he would put in a good word for me with a colleague of his at the hospital in Mankato.
I was returning home to spend Christmas with Ma, Pa, Carrie and Grace in Burr Oak, Iowa. Mary and Laura were supposed to be coming in too to celebrate my finishing school. It seems like forever since I had last seen all of them.
It was a cold snowy morning in Minneapolis. I hurried to the train station and arrived just in time to find out that my train was late due to the heavy snowfall. As I went to find a place to sit to wait and elderly man bumped into me. He was kind of tall, with gray hair and and glasses. When he said “excuse me” I noticed that his voice sounded very familiar but I couldn’t place it. But when I replied “I’m sorry sir” he immediately recognized me.
“You that Ingalls boy ain’t ya?” he said. I could hardly believe my eyes. It was Hector Webb, Sylvia’s father. He actually looked happy to see me.
“How have you been?” he asked.
“I’m good sir, I actually just finished medical school, I’m a doctor now.”
“A Doctor huh, well I’m glad to see you made something of yourself. How are your folks?” he asked.
“They’re good, they moved to Burr Oak, Iowa a couple of years ago, I am going home to see them for Christmas”.
I could hardly believe how nice he was. My memories of him were not exactly the best. After all he tried to kill me with a shotgun once. He was talking so much I could barely get word in and then I just cut him off mid sentence and asked him the question I have been dying to know the answer to for so many years, how was Sylvia?
“She’s doing good, her and little Sarah.” he said
“Yes, her daughter,” he replied. “You know it’s kind of funny, just the other day she was talking about you wondering what you were up to, why don’t you go and talk to her, she’s sitting right over there”
I looked where he was pointing, and there she was looking more beautiful than I had remembered her. That long flowing brown hair slightly curled at the ends, I’ll never forget how it would shine in the sunlight. And I could get lost for days in her beautiful dark brown eyes. Oh to gaze into them again, I could hardly wait.
“Do you think she will recognize me?” I asked.
“Well I’m half blind and I recognized ya” he said.
“But, I don’t know what to say to her”
Mr. Webb chuckled and said “why don’t you start with hello, then take it from there” He patted me on the shoulder and walked away.
I walked towards Sylvia, nervous as could be. My heart pounding. I had been dreaming of this moment for years and now that it's here I was so nervous I didn’t know if I could even speak. But I couldn’t let this moment escape. “Hi Sylvia” I said. She looked at me with a look of shock on her face then she began to tear up.
“Albert? Albert Ingalls?” she said.
“Yes its me” I said. She jumped up and hugged me so hard I thought I was going to fall over. I wrapped my arms around her, and we held each other for what seemed like an hour, although it was only a couple of minutes, both of us crying tears of joy. I could not believe I was holding the love of my life in my arms again.
“I can’t believe it's really you I always hoped I would see you again” she cried.
“Well here I am!” I said as I ran my fingers through her beautiful long brown hair.
“Oh Albert! I missed you so much. I thought I would never see you again, but always hoped that I would.”
“And who is this lovely young lady?” I asked.
“This is Sarah, my little girl” she said as she wiped away tears.
“Sarah, that is such a lovely name” I said as I knelt down and shook her little hand.
“Sarah was my ma’s name” replied Sylvia
“Sylvia she’s beautiful, she looks just like you.”
“Thank you” she said.
“Sarah, this is Albert”.
“Hi Ahlbrit” replied Sarah.
“How old are you Sarah?” I asked.
“She looked at Sylvia and Sylvia whispered in her ear and then Sarah replied “five” as she held up her little hand with all five fingers up.
Sarah was kind of shy but then most five year olds are.
“So Albert, what are you doing here, I mean, where are you headed?” Sylvia asked.
“Well, I’m on my way back home. I just finished medical school last week, I’m a doctor now can you believe it? I’m going home to spend Christmas with my family. How about you, where are you headed?”
“I’m not really sure” she said kind of sadly. “You see, my pa just sold our farm and we are just traveling west hoping he can find work. But I’m worried Albert, he’s getting up in age and he just can’t do farming work anymore and I’m not sure what else there is for him to do as far as work.”
“So where will you be spending Christmas?”
“I don’t really know.” she said. “Probably in a train station somewhere I guess”
“Sylvia, a train station is no place to spend Christmas.”
“I know Albert but where else can I go?”
“This is going to sound crazy, I mean I know we haven’t seen each other in years, but why don’t you and Sarah and your pa come and spend Christmas me and my family. I know they would love to see you again.”
“Oh Albert, that would be wonderful but, I don’t know if I could go back to Walnut Grove after everything that happened.”
“Actually we are in Burr Oak, Iowa now. We moved there a few years ago right before I left for college.”
“That’s awfully nice Albert but I don’t think we-”
“I insist” I said. “There is no way I am going to let you spend Christmas in a train station.”
“Albert I want more than anything to spend Christmas with you, but what about my pa? I don’t know how he’s gonna feel about that.”
Just then Mr. Webb walked up.
“Looks like she recognized you huh?” he said.
“She sure did!” I said smiling “Sir, Sylvia told me that the three of you don’t have a place to spend Christmas, so I told her that I want the three of you to come and spend Christmas with me and my family and I won’t take no for an answer.” He smiled and said
“To Burr Oak, Iowa huh, well since we don’t have nowheres else to go I guess I can’t argue. Who knows, maybe I can find work down there. But I don’t want to be in the way.”
“Don’t worry sir it will be no problem at all I promise” I said.
“Alright, I guess we're goin to Iowa Sylvie! Let me go exchange these tickets.”
I could not believe how easy Mr. Webb was to convince. He certainly has changed since I last saw him. Sylvia was so overjoyed all she could do is hug me and cry tears of joy. At long last the love of my life was back in my life, and there was no way I was ever going to let her go.
The train finally arrived about an hour late. As we boarded, Mr. Webb insisted that Sylvia and I sit together and he took little Sarah with him.
“Let mommy and her old friend talk and you come and keep your grandpa company” he told Sarah.
“Alright, bye mama!” Sarah replied.
“Bye sweetie, I’m right here if you need me” Sylvia said
Me and Sylvia sat down a few seats behind them, and we talked almost non stop on the whole trip. I think I was still a little in shock that I was not only talking to her but that she would be spending Christmas with me. Seeing her again was the best Christmas present I could have ever received.
“So what is with your pa?” I asked. “I mean, I am not complaining, but he so different.”
“Well” Sylvia said. “I hate to put like this but I think my fall is the best thing that could have ever happened to him. You see, when my mama died, he was sad and angry all the time. Blamed himself I think. She got scarlet fever and there was nothing he could have done. But after I fell and he didn’t know if I was going to live or not and he got really scared. Scared he would be alone for the rest of his life. Both his parents died when he was young. Then he lost both his brothers in the war of the states. Mama was all he had until I came along. Then he lost her. I think he lost his faith in God too. I never told anyone this but the night after my fall, after you, your pa and Doc Baker had left, I had gotten up to use the outhouse and I saw papa in the barn. He was on his knees praying, and he was crying asking God for help to give me the strength to recover and to forgive him for acting as he had, you know for blaming me for the attack and all. And after that, he really began to change. But it wasn’t until Sarah was born that he really became a different man. Since then he has been a different person. We are in church every Sunday now. He absolutely adores Sarah.”
“I guess something good always comes out of something bad” I said.
“You know your pa was somewhat of local hero in Walnut Grove” I said. Sylvia looked at me a little puzzled. “Shortly after you fell,” I explained, “your pa went into town and Mrs. Oleson said something to him and he lit into her something fierce. I don’t know what he said to her but for nearly a week nobody saw or heard a word out of Mrs. Oleson. Nobody has ever shut her up like that.” I laughed. Sylvia laughed and said “that must be why Mr. Oleson forgave pa’s credit debt!” “Yeah I think you're right!” I said. It was so good to see her laugh. I always loved how her face lit up when she did.
Ever since Sylvia and her pa moved away I had been wondering how she was doing, adjusting to her new home and preparing to be a mother. After she stopped writing me I figured maybe she found someone new, or was she mad at me for something. Ever since she left I wondered if maybe I should have fought harder for us to be together, that maybe I gave up too easy.
“So, what have you been doing all these years since we last saw each other?”, I asked her.
“Well,” Sylvia replied “Even after everything that happened in Walnut Grove I still didn’t want to move. But then I thought maybe papa was right, that it would be best for me and my baby to make a fresh start of things in a new town. But it wasn’t easy. I agreed with papa that the best way to explain my situation, you know, being with child and without a husband and all, was to say that my husband had died in an accident. I had even come up with a story about it that my husband had worked for the railroad and that he died when the train crashed. And I couldn’t help but cry when I told that story because for some reason every time I said “my husband” I pictured you Albert.”
My heart just melted at that moment.
“When things got bad back home,” she continued “with papa blaming me for the attack and the whole town looking at me like I was some kind of a tramp, you didn’t judge me Albert. You were the only one who believed me, and the only one who loved me. Even when the rumors spread that you were the father, you stood up for me.” Sylvia began to cry. “Oh Albert, I didn’t want to leave you.”
“I know” I said as I hugged her. “And I didn’t want you to go either. But you remember, we were so young, and there was no way I could have supported you and the baby. It was best for you and the baby to make a fresh start in another town.”
“But it wasn’t!” she cried. “I was so lonely, papa was gone a lot working and I never really had a chance to make any friends. I couldn’t attend school because I was with child and after Sarah was born all my time was spent with her. I remember how I felt so safe with you Albert, Oh, how I wished we could have gotten married.”
“Me too” I replied “I wanted to be your husband more than anything. I wrote to you but you stopped writing me back.”
“I know”, she said “And I am so sorry, but every time I tried to write to you I started crying, when we left Walnut Grove I thought I would never see you again. We moved so far away and I wanted to make the best life for my baby. I thought it was best if I tried to forget about you Albert and move on, but I just couldn’t.” She cried.
“I thought maybe you found a new beau” I said.
“Well, there was this one guy Mr. Cartwright, Joe as we called him. Papa had hired him to help with the farm. He was a real nice guy, and handsome. He liked me, and he asked me to the church social. I went, but something just didn’t seem right. I mean it wasn’t him, he was a real good guy and all but I just, I couldn’t … feel …”
“I know exactly what you mean Sylvia. I courted a few ladies but I just couldn’t get serious about anyone. I could not give them my heart, because you had it. My heart belongs to you Sylvia, it always has.”
She grabbed my hand and held it tight, she looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and kissed me. It was at that moment I knew that Sylvia Webb was going to be my wife, one way or another. I had lost her once before and there was no way I was going to lose her again.
“Sylvia, we have a second chance and I want to make it right. I never stopped loving you, and I want us to get to know each other again and fall in love again.”
“But I never stopped loving you Albert.”
“And I never stopped loving you Sylvia.”
We sat there gazing in each other’s eyes for what seemed like forever, totally oblivious to the world around us.
“So how do you like being a mother?” I asked.
“I like it very much” she replied smiling. “But I was so scared at first. Knowing the way my baby came to me I wasn’t sure that I could love her. I mean, what if she looked like that horrible man? I thought about giving her up to an orphanage, I had even talked to the lady there. But after Sarah was born and I held her for the first time I just fell in love with her. She is a piece of me after all.”
“I know, she looks just like you” I said.
“She has my mama’s eyes, at least that’s what papa says. That’s why I named her Sarah, after my mama.”
“I grew up without a mother, I had no choice. I wanted my little Sarah to have a mom. What happened to me was not her fault and she shouldn’t have to suffer for it. And I want her to have a pa someday too. Papa has been great but he’s not her father.”
“Well, she will have a pa someday Sylvia, and you will have a husband.”
I wanted to ask her to marry me right then but I knew it was too soon, after all we hadn’t seen each other in nearly six years. Letting her go those many years ago was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. I wanted so badly to marry her, and if that no good creep hadn’t come after her that day we would have run away and got married in the first town we came to. I know I could have found a way to support her. I probably I wouldn’t be a doctor now if I had married her then but I know I would have had no regrets. I’m sure our folks would have been some furious if we had run off and got married but I’m pretty sure in time they would have forgiven us. For a long time, I wondered if I made the right decision, letting her go and all. I mean I knew I didn’t have a lot of say in the matter but maybe I should have just sneaked out one night and gone to her house and run away with her? Maybe I should have tried harder to convince ma and pa that I was able to care for her and the baby? Many nights I laid awake thinking about her and the life I could have had with her and how was she doing without me. Did she miss me as much as I missed her? Well that was then and this is now and I am going to make her my wife, whatever it takes.
We finally arrived in Burr Oak around five o’clock in the morning before the sun was even up. I was so anxious to see my family, but at the same time a little scared because I wasn’t sure if there would be room for Sylvia, Sarah and Mr. Webb. When I got off the train the cold air ripped right through me. Pa was standing there waiting. His hair was totally gray now. He had the proudest smile on his face I had ever seen. I ran to him and hugged him tight and before he could speak I told him
“Pa, I have some guests staying with us for Christmas.” He was shocked when he saw Sylvia, Mr. Webb and little Sarah.
“Pa, you remember Sylvia Webb don’t you? I ran into her at the station.”
“Hi Mr. Ingalls” she said.
“Now how could I forget, how have you been Sylvia?”
“It’s been tough but we have managed” she said with kind of a shy chuckle.
“This is my daughter, Sarah.”
“Hi, Sarah” said Pa.
“Hi,” Sarah said while burying her face in Sylvia’s dress.
“Hector it's good to see you again” Pa said while shaking his hand.
“You too Charles. Now, your boy invited us to stay without asking you first, and I don’t want to put anyone out, so if you don’t have room there’s no hard feelings we’ll be just fine at a hotel.
“Nonsense, we have plenty of room.” Pa said, “we’ll just make Albert sleep in the barn!” Pa laughed.
“Hey!” I replied.
Honestly I really didn’t care. I would have slept out in the snow if I had to. Having Sylvia back in my life meant more to me than anything else.
“Well come on, Caroline has breakfast waiting for us!” Pa said.
We climbed onto pa’s wagon. Mr. Webb sat up front with pa, and Sylvia and Sarah and me huddled close together in the back trying to keep each other warm. The whole time Sylvia and I held hands.
“Pa,” I asked, “did Laura and Mary make it in yet?”
“Adam and Mary send their regrets they won’t be able to make it, but Laura and Almanzo should be in sometime in the next few days I think. I know little Rose will be happy to have Sarah to play with.”
“Who is Rose?” Sylvia asked.
“Rose is Laura and Almanzo’s daughter. She is about the same age as Sarah.”
“Well I know Sarah will be happy to have someone her age around for a change,” Sylvia said.
“So Hector, this certainly is a surprise, how have you been doing all these years?” pa asked.
“Well” replied Mr. Webb, “after we left Walnut Grove we settled in a small farming town called Spring Hill, Wisconsin. A few miles south of Milwaukee. We did alright till the storms last summer messed up my crops. Not too long after a man from the railroad come to see me. Said the railroad was a comin’ through and they needed the land. With the crops being no good I couldn’t argue. He made me fair offer so we packed up and moved on.
“Well I can certainly relate to that, a hard winter got us a few years back so we moved down here. So where are you headed to?” Pa asked.
“Don’t really know,” replied Hector. “We were headed west, heard land was was priced good out that way but honestly Charles, I’m a gettin a little too old for that sorta thing. Then we run into your boy at the train station in Minneapolis. He invited us to spend Christmas with you folks and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Seein’ him and my Sylvie together again there was no way I could argue with him. I ain’t seen her this happy in a long time.”
“Yeah I know whatcha mean,” Pa said “I don’t think Albert ever got over her.
“So you still farmin Charles?”
“No, I work for the mill as a purchasing agent, I could sure use some help if you’re interested.”
“I guess it wouldn’t hurt to look into” Hector said.
Sylvia smiled big when she heard that.
We finally arrived at home and I couldn’t wait to get into that nice warm house. I got down off the wagon and helped Sylvia and Sarah down.
“Albert why don’t you go in and see your ma, Hector and I will get this wagon unhitched.”
I walked into the house and there was ma in the kitchen “Hi ma!” I shouted.
“Oh Albert, it is so good to see you! and Sylvia Webb? My goodness how have you been?” she asked
“I ran into her at the train station. I asked her and her pa to spend Christmas with us”
“Hi Mrs. Ingalls! I hope we won’t be too much trouble” said Sylvia.
“Oh no trouble at all! Oh Sylvia! It is so good to see you” ma said as she hugged her. “And who is this lovely young lady?”
“This is Sarah” Sylvia replied
“Well hi Sarah! I am Caroline.”
“Hi Caroline” replied Sarah.
“How is your father Sylvia?” ma asked.
“He’s good he’s outside with Mr Ingalls”
“You know Charles”,said Hector “I want to apologize again for my behavior those years back. I had no right to come after your boy like that.”
“That’s quite alright Hector, as father of four girls I understand completely.” Pa replied.
“He’s a good kid, treated my Sylvie right. Stood up for her when no one else would. I’m glad he was there for her, like I should have been.” Mr Webb sat down on a bale of hay. “When Sylvie’s mama died I got into the bottle to cope. I blamed myself for her sickness even though the doc said there was nothing I could’ve done. Thought I had my drinking under control, then Sylvie got attacked by that, that no good Hartwig. Then it got outta control, started drinkin’ heavy. The night after she had that fall I made a promise to the good Lord that if he’d see fit to save my little girl that I would be the father she deserved and I’d that I’d never drink again. And I haven’t touched a drop since, not since that day. Seeing Sylvie with your boy, well, just made me feel good. After we moved she cried a lot, she was so miserable poor kid having been through so much I thought moving away and making a fresh start of things was the right thing to do. But sometimes Charles, I wondered, should we have stayed in Walnut Grove? Maybe I should have just let her marry your boy?”
“Now come on Hector, they were too young and you know it. But I have to admit, after seeing how broken up Albert was after the two of you left I sometimes wondered the same thing. Do you know he was going to tell you that he was the father of Sylvia’s baby so you would let him marry her?”
“Is that a fact?” replied Mr Webb. “Well I’m sure glad he didn’t, the way I was back then I’da probably shot him! But I’ll tell ya Charles, I hope he does ask her to marry him. That’s why I didn’t put up a fuss when he insisted on us spending Christmas with you folks. He’s good for her ya know. And she never did get over him”
“Well if I know Albert he’s going to wait for just right time.”
I was waiting for the right time. Heck I wanted to ask her the moment I first saw her at the train station. But everything was just happening so fast. Last week I had finished school and all I could think about was seeing my family for Christmas then starting my new job as a doctor in Mankato. Then two days ago the love of my life that I said goodbye to six years ago was suddenly back in my life. I fell in love with Sylvia Webb six years ago and I was ready to run away from the only family that I had ever known to be with her and raise her unborn child as my own. Then it all stopped cold, because then she had to leave. And for six years I tried to move on and forget about her but I couldn’t. Then suddenly she’s back in my life. Everything was happening so fast I guess I just needed time to take it all in. But there was no way I was going to lose her again. I love Sylvia Webb and I was going to ask her to marry me… again.
I was really faced with a major dilemma. I had a good job, which was going to be a great opportunity waiting for me in Mankato. And a few days ago I had no doubts or second thoughts about going. Now that Sylvia, the love of my life, was back in my life I was starting to question whether or not I should take the job. So many thoughts were racing through my head. Sylvia was going to be settling here in Burr Oak with her pa now that he had steady work. I wanted her to come with me to Mankato but we will have to get married first, and she would have to leave her pa behind. I didn't want to rush into a wedding because I wanted to give her the wedding of her dreams. And her and her pa have gotten so close and the way he adores little Sarah I just don't have the heart to separate them. I could pass on the job and stay here but what will I do for work? I'm just out of med school I want to work for somebody first before I go out on my own, and there is no doctor in town. What should I do? I asked myself over and over again.
To be Continued...