Blogging has given me a new appreciation for holidays, mainly because they help me come up with content. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I asked my Grandma if I could come over and hear her and my Grandpa’s story. Over a warm turkey sandwich, I listened in on parts I’d heard before, and a few details that were new to me.
Meet Viola Soule. Have you ever in your life seen a more beautiful name? She grew up in Pasadena and played violin for the Pasadena Civic Orchestra. Quite the lady.
While Art Johnson was in WWII, his parents moved next door to Viola. The day he came home from the war she was out trimming the hedge between their houses. He stopped and talked with her and asked to take her out right then and there. She said yes and they headed to the picture show that night.
Viola said she had an older spinster woman living on the other side of her house who left a sign on her lawn mower that read, “I took this out for a turn today and no one asked me out on a date!”
Grandma liked Grandpa right away explaining, “I enjoyed him a lot more than the other guy I was dating at the time. I could’ve married Art the next day ”
Grandpa, not so much. He moved a little slower.
They dated the next two years before getting engaged. As my Grandma retold the story, Grandpa interupted to remind her that during their dating, he took off with his cousin to work a job in Illinois. Viola looked bothered and said out of the corner of her mouth, “His cousin was a regular rounder.”
I made a mental note to begin using that phrase.
Art insisted there was no commitment at the time and Vi chimed in with, “You’re right, I could’ve gone back to that old boyfriend while you were gone.” They both smirked and moved on to the part where Grandpa didn’t love the job and came back to date Viola again and eventually get engaged.
It’s funny picturing them navigating the dating world so long ago. Viola with her boyfriend she wasn’t thrilled with, and Art independent as ever. Somehow, things worked out and they eventually raised a family for which I’m very thankful to be a part of. They lived their lives and it all worked out when it was supposed to.
Like the letter from Steinbeck said, “Nothing good gets away.” In dating, it can feel like everything is super fragile and crucial. Lunch with Art and Viola was a good reminder that Lord willing, life is long and things have a way of working out when and how they are supposed to. It’s important to simply enjoy each day and take things as they come.
Grandpa developed alzheimer’s a couple of years ago and it’s been hard on everyone, especially my Grandma. Before leaving lunch she told me, “You know, life has good years and bad years. You take the good with the bad and your Grandpa and me have had more good years than bad. That makes us pretty lucky.”
I like her perspective.