To some looking back, the world seemed a simpler place a hundred years ago. People left their doors unlocked. Neighbors waved and said hellos and how-do-you-dos. Children could play outside all day, no matter the season, and return home safe for dinner at night.
Several modest, nearly identical houses lined Madison Avenue, all constructed around the turn of the century. There were the Foleys, the Thompsons, the Gardners, the Halleys, the Bradfords. And the Rechtharts.
Augustus Rechthart had met Lucille Grosner in the summer of 1899. Gus had been delivering some goods to the local general store when he accidentally had bumped into a young woman coming out of the shop…
“Oh, excuse me, ma’am,” he said, lowering the wooden crate.
“No need for your excuses,” the young lady returned, her eyes challenging him.
Gus detected the slightest grin on her face. He hastily set aside the load.
“Might I buy you a drink to make up for my carelessness, Miss-?”
“Grosner. Lucille Grosner. And yes, I suppose so, although if you’re thinking of getting me drunk-”
“No, not that kind of drink, Lucille,” Gus replied, laughing, a little embarrassed. He was testing his luck by using her given name.
“Very well, then. And my friends call me Lucy. And you are?”
“Oh, right.” Gus smiled easily, relieved. “Augustus Rechthart, although no one in their right mind ever calls me that. Plain, old Gus is just fine, Lucy. Are you Lucy to me?”
“Well, that depends on rather a lot of things, Gus. Since I am in my right mind, I’ll call you Gus, and since I think we might well become better acquainted, yes, you may call me Lucy.”
After that initial conversation, the two had struck up a courtship that led to an engagement at Christmas.
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