Andrew and Alice … an eternal Valentine story
Comments | Print friendly | Subscribe | Email Us
The young country boy had suffered the privations of the Great Depression, but had never doubted that America would rebound from this dark chapter of her history and come back even stronger than before. Like him, the young city girl never lost faith in her country. These two, Andrew and Alice, would not only participate in the making of the Greatest Generation, but also in the making of one of the greatest love stories.
When President Franklin Roosevelt announced that December 7, 1941, was “a date which shall live in infamy,” following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Andrew volunteered to serve in the military.
Alice answered her country’s call for females to fill factory jobs that men had left in order to join the war effort. Along with countless thousands of women, she was proud to be called Rosie the Riveter.
This generation of Americans had no preconceived notions about fame or power; they served because they knew it was the right thing to do. Many did not return. Andrew was among those who did.
When Andrew and Alice met at a party, it was love at first sight. Her friends thought Alice had lost her mind.
“He is a backwoods country boy,” they said. “You are an attractive, sophisticated, well-educated city girl. There is nothing about him that can be called handsome. Yes, he’s tall and strong, but he has a few scars on his face, and is missing a few teeth.” They didn’t see what Alice saw: the man’s heart.
As a bomber pilot, Andrew flew many dangerous missions over enemy territory in World War II. He had served his country well, but now that he was back home, he was uncertain about what to do … until he met Alice.
“What do you love to do most?” Alice asked.
“Fly,” Andrew said.
“Then, that is what you will do,” his wife-to-be responded. “The demand for agricultural aviators is growing here in the Mississippi Delta. I’ll manage the business, keep the household, raise the kids, and everything else. All you will do is fly.”
For Andrew, flying was play, not work. He found a tiny J-3 Piper Cub airplane, rigged it to spray crops, and started an agricultural aviation career that would span almost forty years.
From that one little Piper Cub, the business grew steadily. When the couple’s sons learned to fly and took over the family operation, it boasted several large agricultural aircraft, an air-conditioned hangar, everything needed to mix chemicals, and a long concrete runway.
During all those years, Andrew and Alice never stopped loving and supporting each other.
Then one day, Andrew died suddenly. My mother, Alice’s best friend, noted that the widow didn’t seem to be as bereaved as she thought she’d be.
“I’m not sad, Lena, because I’m certain that within a month or two, I’ll be with him,” Alice said. In less than a month, Alice died, and was buried beside Andrew.
Andrew and Alice … an eternal Valentine story.