Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where to Start?

This is my dad.  One of three Mandeville brothers from Freestone County Texas who served in World War II.  Proud?  You bet I am!  He was a handsome guy, wasn't he?  My mother thought so too!  She was engaged to be married with a wedding dress under the bed when she met him.  You see back in their day, entertainment came in lots of forms, but one was a gathering of people who loved to sing gospel songs.  They were called "singings".  My dad's family was among the best in the county.  The Mandeville family was not only known for their good lookin boys, but for their beautiful voices.  My dad was home from the war and visiting a singing quit a way from his home in north county--a small community called, Curry.  The singing was taking place in a small community in South County called Freestone.  This was my mom's home town.  The place where her family was very prominent and where they had lived for a long time.  She has told this story to us many many times.  It seems the church where the singing was taking place had a cloak room on the side.  The visiting singers were seated at the front of the church and the rest of the people in the congregation area.  From the cloak room, she had a straight view of Pete Mandeville-one of those good looking Mandeville boys.  She spoke sharply to her first cousin, Tommie, "Do not go with me.  I am going to ask him to the house for a glass of tea". 
When she caught his eye, she used her index finger to motion him to come into the cloak room.  Of course, he did, and as we always say, the rest is history. 
I know that dad had a girlfriend also that he obviously "dumped".  There were several pictures of her in our family "picture box".  As a child I would ask him, "who is this"?  He would just shush me up.  Mom never had much to say as her fiance' picture was also in the box.  I never knew she was a serious girlfriend until after dad was gone and I was working at the museum.  A couple from the Wortham area came in and in conversation they ask me if I had lived in Freestone county all my life.  Why yes, I answered.  My family has lived all over the county.  My dad lived in Curry which is very close to Wortham.  I told them my maiden name is Mandeville.  Their eyes lit up and they said that they knew of the Mandeville boys and which one was my dad.  I told them Pete and then they said that they remembered that he was engaged to a Wortham girl.  They called her name, but I cannot remember it (bad, I know).  The next comment was, "We never did know what happened to them.  They just quit seeing each other really suddenly."  I didn't say a word, but I knew what had happened-----------------MY MOTHER!