I finally opened a Lowney’s Fruit & Nut Chocolates box that contained Valentines and Christmas Cards that I thought my grandmother Addie Watling-Skinner had saved.
Upon closer inspection, I discovered my mother, Eleanor Stevens Skinner, had save the contents.
I knew there were Valentines in there, but I also found Christmas cards, her acceptance letter from Washington College, cards and letters from boys from West Point, Trinity College in Connecticut and Catonsville, Maryland. Courting by letter is a lot different from doing so by phone or texting, I would imagine. The letters showed fear of rejection, that’s for sure.
None were from my father. My guess he was too busy working his way through college, holding jobs of egg candling in a market in Southwest Washington that still has a commercial use and a warehouse in the same area on a main highway. He did have a car though and attended the University of Maryland, so maybe his courting was in person after Mother took a job teaching on the Western Shore.
It appears my mother was on more than one college boy’s mind.
Her one-time farm neighbor, Calvin LeRoy Skinner, was the winner in the marriage stakes.
But, not until I was driving him around Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, while he was being treated for lung cancer (from cigarettes, of course) did I even learn that. Roy, his tenant-farmer father had rented the land next to the Stevens’ family farm near Barclay for a while when they were both in the same class at Sudlersville High School.
I can’t be certain that this Valentine is from my father to my mother. It is “To Eleanor…From Guess Who…Calvin W.”
My Dad’s middle initial was “L.” So, what’s with the “W?”
Did she know two “Calvins?”