It’s the 4th of July. Our nation’s birthday, as well as the anniversary of my grandparents’ first date. (This year marks the 69th anniversary.)
Want to hear the story?
My grandparents grew up in a little town northeast of Austin called Bartlett, Texas. It was one of those everybody-knows-everybody situations. My grandpa asked my grandma out many times, but she always told him no. He was a “bad boy,” see. Always making trouble.
One day a big group of friends all went out together, including my grandparents. My grandma decided that my grandpa wasn’t so bad after all, and that if he asked her out again, she would say yes.
He did, and she did.
He borrowed his sister’s car and drove my grandma to a neighboring town to see some 4th of July fireworks. Alas, the weather didn’t realize this was a first date night, so it rained. As they were driving back to Bartlett, my grandparents decided they weren’t quite ready for the evening to be over.
So what did they do?
They pulled over to the side of the road, turned up the car radio as loud as it would go and danced in the street in the rain.
*pause for reaction*
They got married that December and have been together ever since. 🙂
When I decided “There With You” was going to have a time travel hook, I panicked at the thought of having to come up with believable things to happen in previous times. Then, a flash of genius: My family has so many interesting, true stories. What better way to pay homage to them than to incorporate the stories in the book?
So that’s what I did. They’re altered to fit, of course, but this 4th of July first date story appears in “There With You” as the first time the main characters allow themselves to drop their guards and let their feelings for each other show. Also in the book: a prank pulled by Grandpa and his friends that involved the dissembling of a mail wagon; the scenario of how my great-grandfather was shot in an underground club during Prohibition; the first-person narrative written by my great-great-grandfather on his journey home from the Civil War.
I didn’t use all the stories I know. Gotta save some for the sequel, right? 😉
Happy 4th of July, and happy first date anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa. Thanks for the inspiration.