Growing up, whenever my sister and I would ask our parents how they met, my father would respond with a version of my mother's favorite fairy tale. Here is my recounting of this family lore, which I wrote as a gift for my parents many years ago. As to what of the story is truth and what is fiction ... well, perhaps that shall be revealed in the Comments section on Valentine's Day.
Enjoy, Mom & Dad. Happy Anniversary.
~ The Story of Cinderella ~
Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a Prince. No one knew he was a Prince, and since his town was very Plain, with not much of a View, one would not think it much of a kingdom. But the Prince knew one day he would be a mighty King and so he contented himself with cleaning the town pool and working hard and studying hard and playing sports quite ruthlessly, and in all got through his days … but something was missing.
Now in the same town there lived a young woman who led a happy but harsh existence. Both her parents worked all day, so it was she who had to toil over a hot stove cooking the dinner, she who had to vacuum and wash and dust and scrub and care for her dog, Ginger. And on top of all that she had to study her schoolwork and practice her cheerleading and endure the indignity of a part-time job at the local dry cleaner. She did, however, have four sources of joy: dancing at teen club, painting her long nails a different color every day to match her dress, sun bathing at the town pool and flirting with boys.
At all of these things she was very good, but particularly the last; and dozens of boys would surround her when she sun bathed. (She never swam, maybe just a dip now and then, but nothing that would get her thick mane of—quite honestly mousy—brown hair wet.) In fact, so many boys surrounded her that she never even noticed the Prince.
And so the days passed and the nights ended and the weeks wore on, until one sticky summer night, the Prince was sweeping out the locker rooms and he came upon a sneaker. A single woman's sneaker, alone and somewhat soiled. He looked about for its mate. He looked in the lockers, above the lockers and below the lockers; he looked in the pool and around the pool; in the trash bins, under the picnic tables, even in the showers. All to no avail. So the Prince went to search the town and find the owner of the sneaker.
One would think that a Prince had better things to do with his time than wander around finding the owner of a dirty sneaker. But this Prince was quite methodical and liked everything to be organized. Most of all, he abhorred people who did not complete what they began.
So off he went, to every house in the Plain town with no View. Being a very handsome Prince, he was welcomed into the homes of every young girl; and being quite charming when he wanted to, every girl tried to fit the dingy sneaker. (Even though some secretly turned up their noses at something so ordinary and unjeweled. "Dahling, how could you put that schlock on your feet?" they asked each other when he left.)
After days and days of this the Prince finally came to a simple but tidy house with a lawn like a carpet and marvelous curtains. He knocked on the door, and who should answer but our sun-tanned, nail-painted beauty.
"My brother's upstairs," she said immediately to the Prince, thinking him one of her brother's buddies, "and I'm in a tither because I'm going dancing and I can't find my sneaker!"
Whereupon the Prince produced the sneaker, which fit the young woman perfectly, and the two fell instantly in love. She blew off her dancing date (with a boy who also happened to have been the Prince's good friend; oh well!) and married the Prince.
The two were very young, and some said very foolish, but the Prince was so Charming and the young woman fancied herself as living her favorite fairy tale, Cinderella (even, at one point, injudiciously dyeing her hair bright blonde), and after years of toil the Prince did indeed become a King (of Accounting) and Cinderella grew wonderful flowers and vines, and many riches came their way, including two wonderful daughters, two suave son-in-laws, two adorable granddaughters, and many good friends.
All in all, one could say they live happily ever after.
Photo of my parents, John & Lorraine, at a high school dance from family archives.
"Use the good china for breakfast."