Married at 8 by Carolyn J Coles

My first marriage … I was 8 years old and married my father’s younger best friend, Bill Abner. He was so nice to us kids. I had three brothers and a sister. He would buy whatever toy we wanted from the grocery store while he picked up items Mom needed for dinner. Mr. Abner was a regular Sunday dinner guest at our house after Church. I remember all five of us kids would ride home with him from Church and make Mom and Dad go home together alone. Now, that I’m older … it must have been the only peace and quiet they ever received. Probably thinking about poor Mr. Abner stuck with those loud noisy kids. One Sunday Mr. Abner let me give the directions home … I told him to turn left or right and he would do so. Well, we ended up at the country club where he and Dad played golf. He told me then that I was his “kind of gal”. I beamed as love bloomed, at least for me.

When we arrived home my best friend Mindy Conover and her family were there for dinner too. The Conover’s lived two doors down the street on the same side as my home. After greeting Mindy I announced to Mr. Abner that I would marry him some day. Well, he thought he’d call my bluff – and said how about after dinner? Mindy piped up and stated she wanted to marry him too. I told her no. She would have to marry someone else since Mr. Abner was mine. I wanted him all to myself. I was overruled. Mr. Abner said he’d marry both of us. Mindy and I ran upstairs to dress for our wedding. I had a sparkly princess tutu from ballet recital that I put on over my clothes and wore my half slip on my head for the veil with my tiara on top. I dressed Mindy in Mom’s full slip for a white wedding gown and one of Mom’s half slip for a veil. She didn’t have a tiara. I grabbed the cut flowers from a vase in the upstairs hallway for our bouquets. We took our time strolling down the stairs decked in our finery so our future husband would be surprised. Thinking about it now, it’s a wonder all the adults kept a straight face. God only knows how they did it …. but they did. Mindy’s father performed the ceremony and Bill our new husband packed us off in his car for our honeymoon at Dairy Queen. He said we had to take off our wedding attire before going inside. We were so thrilled with our bridal dresses and veils we wanted to wear them everywhere. Sadly, we compiled. It was our choice we could have anything on the menu. I chose a large hot fudge sunday with chocolate ice cream. Mindy had a banana split and our “husband” had just plain vanilla ice cream.

After our honeymoon ended, we went back at my house. All the adults were still there talking together while our husband played board games with his new brides and their brothers. When it was time for him to leave … I decide I’d go home with him, after all we were married now. He told me I wasn’t quite old enough yet and that I needed to stay with Mom and Dad – for school. He promised to come and get me when I was old enough to be a real wife to him.

The trouble was … I had forgotten all about being married when I turned 9. It wasn’t until I was 15 sitting with Mr. Abner and his new wife that I remembered being married to him. I looked over at Mindy who was sitting next to me, we were always together, and reminded “our husband” that we were still married and now he had three wives. His latest wife, the real Mrs. Abner, laughed so hard when hearing of our wedding and honeymoon, tears were streaming down her face as she wrapped her arms across her abdomen. Mr. Abner was grinning too at the memory and said, “How about I take all my wives to Dairy Queen.” Of course, it was like a trip down memory lane with all his wives laughing and giggling.

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