Sample P22 from [Anonymous,] "A Husband Stealer from Way Back," True Love, 76: 3 (October, 1961), 6-7, 12. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,031 words 243 (12.0%) quotesP22

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[Anonymous,] "A Husband Stealer from Way Back," True Love, 76: 3 (October, 1961), 6-7, 12.

Typographical Error: 1 [for I] [0840]

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I knew it as surely as everybody in Westfield -- that Lucille was a husband stealer . You can't keep that kind of information quiet in a town of only 4000-plus . And I've been told that just about every town , no matter what its size , has its Lucille Warren .

Just as it has its Susan Dolan , though nobody'd ever bothered to tell me that . Susan Dolan , that's me .

They even talked about Lucille down at the Young Christians' League where I spent a lot of time in Bible classes and helping out with the office work for our foreign mission . I never heard my folks talk about her , though . They were good-living religious people , and I can truthfully say I never heard them spread any gossip about anybody . Even if they ever did say anything about people like Lucille Warren , I know they wouldn't have dreamed of saying it in front of me . My folks and my faith protected me from things like that .

And so I was really upset the first time I discovered that my boy friend Johnnie was seeing Mrs. Warren . I asked him about it one night while we were sitting in his truck . I asked him if it was true .

He gave me a straight , honest answer . `` Look , Sue baby '' , he'd said . Much as I love you -- well , a guy's a guy and Lucille's willing to -- to come across . Honest , kitten , that's all it is -- I don't even like Lucille much '' .

I guess it was at that moment that I realized what I was up against in the person of Lucille Warren . But it didn't seem fair . My love for Johnnie was young and clean -- how could I possibly compete with a woman like that , who didn't hesitate to use her sex .

Johnnie was a trucker with a small lumber outfit in a town about twenty miles away , and he was also pretty good at anything in the carpentry line . It was a vivid , sharp February morning that Johnnie first made his appearance in my back yard , bringing some stuff Dad had ordered . I wasn't in the habit of batting my eyes at delivery men , but the moment I saw Johnnie , I knew he was different . He wasn't only different -- he was it . He had an easy masculine grace about him , the kind that kids don't have , but that I had sometimes admired in other older men . His smile was quick , and his eyes held some promised secret that made my knees go limp .

The most unbelievable thing about the chance meeting was that he seemed interested in me , too . I could hardly believe such good luck was mine .

And now Lucille Warren had gotten a look at him . I guess she was between affairs or something , but anyway , she had set her sights on Johnnie , my Johnnie .

I didn't like it one bit . But what could I do ? ? A man had to have his release -- at least that's what the boys used to say in high school -- and I wasn't providing it for Johnnie . Neither was his wife . She wouldn't have , even if he'd asked her .

But he wouldn't ask her -- he wasn't the kind of man who would force his wife to submit to him against her will . And he wouldn't leave her either -- he'd told me that . He was too honorable to leave his wife penniless and leave those helpless children without their daddy .

Johnnie loved me and wanted me . But the only love I was giving him was the pure kind . It was weeks before we even kissed for the first time .

Against my folks' wishes , we'd been seeing each other for short rides in the truck . The rides were tame enough -- mostly we talked . But by the time the first crackling of spring came around , we both knew we were hopelessly in love . Yet even then we did nothing much but talk , and maybe neck a little .

`` It's so crazy '' , I told him once . `` I always imagined I would probably end up marrying a minister or somebody like that . Somebody with no vices . You know '' .

`` And you fall for a lumber jockey '' .

`` Who drinks far too much '' .

`` And smokes too much '' .

`` And '' , I was ticking off the items on my fingers , `` swears too much and goes out with the boys , whoever they are , too much , and who ever goes to church and won't even listen when I try to persuade him to come back to the fold '' .

He examined his nails carefully . `` I could walk out the door '' .

`` Don't you dare '' .

`` And never show my face or my truck around here again '' . He still wasn't looking at me .

`` You wouldn't '' .

`` Or I could visit Lucille Warren '' .

`` You wouldn't . Please ! ! You wouldn't '' .

He shrugged noncommittally . `` I might '' .

And now he was seeing her . He'd just admitted it to me . I huddled miserably beside him in the truck . It was all my doing -- his seeing her . Johnnie and I had been innocent in our love , and that was the way I wanted to keep it . At first , Johnnie hadn't understood -- how could he , not being a religious person like me ? ? But then he had said , `` All right , kid , if that's how you want it , that's how it'll be '' .

But what had I done , trying to keep us pure ? ? I had driven him into the arms of that scheming woman . I had just the same as delivered him into the hands of the Devil ! !

So one week later , I surrendered to him in the little motel on Route 10 . My very first time . I was desperate to hold him , to give him whatever in this world he wanted or needed , and to keep him from the clutches of Lucille Warren .

And , though at the time I blushed to admit it even to myself , there was in me a growing desire , a sexual awareness , that Johnnie had set in motion , an awareness that no other man had ever triggered . I wanted him , with a terrifying fierceness .

Astonishingly enough , it was my own voice I heard there in the darkness , begging this man to make love to me .

`` Love me , Johnnie '' .

`` I will , kitten '' ! !

Outside , in the summertime fields behind the motel , a thousand crickets serenaded us . `` Will you always love me this way '' ? ?

`` Uh huh . Always '' .

`` Mmm '' . And I snuggled closer to the man I loved .

It was as blissful and fulfilling a night as any bride ever experienced . I had had no wedding ceremony , no witnesses , no certificate of marriage , but I had all the joy that goes with them .

`` Johnnie ? ?

`` It can't be wrong , can it ? ? Not really '' .

Johnnie rose on one elbow . `` Stop worrying . It's never wrong if love is real '' .

I took great comfort from his words , and smiled to myself in the darkness . Infinite peace , complete contentment . Idiot's delight , I later discovered .

I felt no conflict between what I was doing and my strict religious upbringing . I had always resisted the passes made at me by other kids , and many times I had thought about my love for Johnnie who , being thirty , brought a maturity to love that the kids around town could know nothing about . I had also thought a lot about how God must look on true love , and so in a way I was keeping my promise to God , my promise to remain pure until I was married .

I was practically a bride , after all .

There would have been a ceremony if it had been possible . Of this , I had no doubt . Wouldn't Johnnie do practically anything in the world to insure my happiness ? ? Of course he would . He'd not only told me so , he'd proved it . It wasn't Johnnie's fault that he was hopelessly tied down to that frightful woman who did her best to make his life unbearable . Just because he was honorable enough to want to continue supporting his two children , as any decent man would , that was no reason he should be denied his own small share of happiness too . And if I could contribute to that , I'd do it . The cost didn't matter . No price is too high when true love is at stake .

And I had no doubts about how true this love was . I'd never even petted with a boy , and after I met Johnnie he never touched me for the longest while , not until I all but threw myself at him . He was plenty attentive , all right , but he behaved like a gentleman , and I figured that , emotionally , I was closer to his age than to my own eighteen and a half . What could a mere twelve years matter ? ? It wasn't , I was sure , a difference in age that came between people , but a difference in maturity .

And hadn't I rescued him from Lucille Warren ? ? She'd have gotten him , if I hadn't stopped her . After all , Lucille Warren was a husband-stealer from way back .

But I'd been a good girl and now God was blessing me with the gift of this magnificent man and the wondrous love we shared . It was only fitting that we seek out whatever joy our union might bring .

`` Love me '' ? ?

`` Uh-huh . Love you '' .

`` Always and always , Johnnie '' ? ?

`` Always '' .

`` Mmm '' .

Convention time in Boston . A chill wind in the air and the narrow streets packed with snow . From the entire eastern half of the nation they'd be coming , members of the Young Christians' League , and I'd been chosen to represent our chapter .

I had mixed emotions about going . I'd been seeing Johnnie almost a year now , but I still didn't want to leave him for five whole days . But I had looked forward so much to being with this church group . I hadn't been doing as much work as I used to in Westfield and I felt funny about that and wanted to work harder than ever . I wanted to just throw myself into the good works of this fine group . So I went to Boston .

The first meeting was held in Faneuil Hall , a great big place where we were able to meet members from all the other states . My cousin Alma , at whose home I was staying during the convention , introduced me to a group of young people from Rhode Island . One of them was a very friendly , lovely fellow named Ronald , a boy about my age with slick , blond hair and dancing blue eyes . He looked very different from Johnnie -- in fact , he looked sort of like me . I thought so , and he mentioned it , and Alma said so too .

After the meeting , there was going to be a party at someone's house . I assumed Alma would get me there , but in the confusion of the meeting breaking up , we were separated . Outside the hall , I anxiously looked around for her , then all at once there was a hand on my elbow .

`` Hey , there , beautiful twin of mine '' , Ronald said . `` Need a pumpkin to get to the party '' ? ?

I couldn't help laughing with him . `` Well , I should find Alma '' -- I began .

`` Alma , Schmalma . Come along with me '' . I went .

By the time we arrived , the party was already going strong . A couple of the girls were laughing rather shrilly and I realized they were drinking . My folks wouldn't dream of having alcohol in the house , so my first taste of it had been -- of course -- with Johnnie . I hadn't liked it at first -- it was bitter and burning . But when Johnnie disguised the taste with ginger ale , I enjoyed it . Of course I enjoyed 'most anything if I did it with Johnnie . Johnnie I suddenly realized he'd been totally out of my thoughts all evening . But that was only natural , I decided ; ; surely he was still resting snugly in my heart .

`` I don't see Alma anywhere '' , I said .

`` She's invisible tonight . C'mon , let's find out where they're keeping the glasses '' .

I drew back . `` I -- I don't think so , Ronald . Not for me '' .

`` Aw , come on '' .

`` No -- really '' .

He shrugged . `` Okay . But at least come along while I get lubricated '' .

The kitchen was jammed . Strange faces , most of them , and I wasn't even sure all of them had come from the League meeting .