LOVE STORY: Boy who braved the cold still warms heart of wife of 52 years
I was a junior in Fairbanks High School, Alaska. There was this boy I had noticed because he stood out from all the rest of the guys in his wool sweaters and slacks and crew-cut hair. The kids nick-named him Yaley because he dressed in the manner of rich college men of that time. He had not lived in Alaska long, and had that mysterious outsider – meaning lower 48 states – modern air about him.
High school was still on the third floor of the old building that had served for many years as the only public school, and it was overcrowded. There was no room for a study hall, which was mandatory, so the auditorium became the study hall for all grades. Students were seated alphabetically with an empty seat between each person and, what do you know, that guy had the same last name as mine: Brown.
We became friends, and eventually, started seeing each other, going to dances, movies.
He had no car, so when he came to my house, he would walk about four miles across town, sometimes in 40 or 50 degrees below zero. The daylight hours are very short, too, so he would also be walking in the dark. My dad would let us use his pickup to drive to the movies, and when we returned, he would either take a cab home or my dad would drive him.
My boyfriends always had to help with whatever project was in progress at the time: painting, washing cars, mowing the lawn or helping me babysit my younger brothers and sisters. He didn’t mind and actually seemed to enjoy all the activity in my big family. Besides that, he was fun.
So, after two-and-a-half years, graduations and good jobs, we were married.
That guy who walked so far in the cold still warms my heart, and the romance of that age became one that has lasted more than 52 years.