Thursday, May 15, 2008
Betty and Ike
Betty Louise Hadfield was born on December 24, 1924, in the front bedroom of the small house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Downingtown, PA. She was the youngest of five children of George Lincoln Hadfield and his wife Ethel Darlington Hickman. Her mother died almost two years later (December 12, 1925) from complications of childbirth. She had two sisters and two brothers. Betty had a lonely childhood since her sisters were the two oldest children and closer to each other than Betty. Her brothers were the next two oldest children and were also closer to each other than little Betty. Betty’s father remarried twice. The second marriage produced another daughter who was now the youngest in the Hadfield household. Growing up during the Depression was not easy. Many days Betty went hungry. She would rush home from school when lunch period arrived because she was embarrassed she had nothing to eat. There wasn’t a need for Weight Watchers during this period of American history. However, there came a day when Betty was 16 years old that changed her life. She had a double date with her best girlfriend Edie Lemon. Edie was dating a young man who came to Pennsylvania with his family when he was 10 years old from the hills of western North Carolina (read “hillbilly”). Betty was dating Charlie Hank. As the jalopy pulled up to the curb, Betty took one look at the driver, Edie’s date, and told Edie to “get in the back.” Thus began one of the greatest love stories of my life. My mom met my dad. She was beautiful. He didn’t have a chance.