Saturday, July 30, 2011

COURTIN' IN THE GOOD, OLE DAYS: Frank and Ressie Vick Kendrick

I’ve had a request for more Early Settlers posts, so here’s one of my favorites about “Courtin’ in the Good Ole Days” from my Early Settlers of the K-Springs/Chelsea Area book. Frank and Ressie Vick Kendrick (both now deceased) told it to me around 1974 for a newspaper article I was writing. I’m not sure how old she was at the time, but Frank was close to 90 years old. (He was born July 1887.)

Ressie’s family was from Joiner Town between Columbiana and old East Saginaw, which is now part of Chelsea. But her father George Vick moved the family around a lot, she said, following his work with a timber-cutting operation. That’s how they came to live at East Saginaw where she met Frank Kendrick.

They didn’t actually play together as children, Ressie said, because they were both very bashful. But Frank found ways to get her attention.

She recounted with a smile, while Frank just listened and grinned, “One day I was out in the yard washing clothes for Mama’s twin babies, when directly something shined in my face, and it was him out on the porch with a mirror.”

“Do you remember the first letter I ever wrote you?” he asked her.

She did, of course, but he told the story anyway for my benefit -- and because he was enjoying their remembrances as much as Ressie and I were.

“It was when I was a teenager and worked for Saginaw Lumber Company. I would walk right past her house going to the railroad track where I rode on a hand car to the lumber company. Well, on this particular morning, I walked up close to the open front door and tossed a letter to her inside the house.”
Ressie confided that his first talk of marriage was also in a letter. But they later made wedding plans in person, sitting in the parlor at the Vick home. She told him that night, “You’ll have to ask Daddy.”

“Well, you’ll have to go in there with me to ask him,” he told her.

So Ressie agreed and together they headed for the room where Mr. Vick sat. But just as they reached his open doorway, Ressie slipped on by it, leaving Frank to face her father alone.

Sixty-plus years later, sitting under a shade tree with Frank and me, she still found amusement in the trick she’d played that day. “I went out and hid behind the house until the men folk finished their talking.” she laughed.

Frank Kendrick and Ressie Vick were married on July 26, 1908.

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