They saw each other for the first time at Gaitey's Ice Cream Parlor. It was a humid Friday in July. She sitting with girlfriends, giggling, animated and the most beautiful girl he had every seen! How could anyone look so perfect on a hot, humid evening. He couldn't imagine. Her hair fell around her bare shoulders in auburn cascades partially tied back in a blue ribbon. He noticed a white sundress with little flowers. He didn't want to stare too long and cause her to feel uncomfortable. He was with his buddies Tony and Mack. Why did he get stuck with them again? Well, they were OK guys, but knew they would give him the business if he rattled on. They ordered their assortment: hot fudge sundae for Mack, chocolate soda for Tony and for Will, his favorite double scoop vanilla with caramel.
Will pretended to be interested in the conversation. What activities would transpire over the summer; their last before senior year. Who has a summer job,etc. Will helped out in his father's hardware store. It wasn't much, but he did enjoy it. His thoughts were on the last year of school and then off to the university for a career in the field of veterinarian science. Oh, but his thoughts were quickly transfixed on her. He had to meet her. He just HAD to.
Excusing himself, he walked over to their table. She was even more breathtaking than he realized. Skin flawless and golden, eyes of azure blue and the most beautiful face and smile. He apologized for interrupting, yet out of character of being forward, introduced himself to the group. Of course fixing his eyes on the enchanting vision. "Hello, I'm Will Hanover" I am a senior at St. Francis High School."My friends and I come in here just about every Friday, yet never saw you girls". They were friendly, introducing themselves as visitors from a neighboring town. Then SHE spoke. "Hi, I'm new in town. I'm Melanie Hargitay"."My friends are visiting for the weekend and I thought this would be a good place to hang out."
Well that was the beginning of a relationship that lasted a lifetime. A simple meeting on a hot, July night. It was 1955. They would meet every Friday that summer minus their friends for a double scoop of vanilla with caramel for Will and a double strawberry soda for Melanie.
Throughout senior year they were inseparable. Melanie also attended St. Francis. Proms, hayrides, football games, basketball games and planning for the future. What a marvelous time to be young and in love.
Melanie ended up attending a fashion institute and obtained a degree in fashion design. Quite successful as well. And Will; after years of study became a well known veterinarian. They struggled with timeframes and commitments yet always knew they were meant to be together. Six years after meeting that July night, they were married.
After five children and twelve grandchildren, love has survived. Although Gaitey's Ice Cream Parlor has been torn down, Will and Melanie still find time to enjoy that double strawberry soda for Melanie and that double scoop vanilla of course; with caramel for Will.
Nancy Ellen Crossland