|This Valentines Day we reprint one of our favorite love stories from August 20, 1999. |
By Bob Weaver
World War II was over and there were few jobs in Fincastle, Kentucky in the late
40s, so Marion took a correspondence course to learn how to paint signs.
finding a few jobs in his home county, he started traveling around on a Greyhound bus,
looking for work across Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio.
Stopping at the Greyhound Station in Charleston, West Virginia, he dropped over to
the Blossom Dairy Restaurant to get an early morning meal. It was here that he first
saw Elah, a waitress in the classy Kanawha Valley ice cream parlor.
Being the shy
type, although charmed by her presence, he could not speak at that first meeting at
the lunch counter.
Unable to get Elah off his mind, he returned to the eatery and managed to introduce
himself to the Calhoun girl, who had come to the big city to find work. Shortly, he got
up enough courage to walk her to and from work.
But the work called and Marion got back on the Greyhound, traveling around and
painting signs, to return to Fincastle.
They started writing to each other, and some time later Marion came back to
Charleston to visit Elah at her sister's home.
Lova's house was built against a steep hillside, with a basement facing the Kanawha Valley.
Although they had indoor plumbing, during the early morning hours, shy Marion
decided to go outside to use the toilet.
The porch was twenty feet from the ground,
without railings. Marion took two steps and tumbled into space, free-falling over the steep
Later he kidded by saying, "It was then that I fell hard for Elah."
The U.S. Mail
romance continued for another six months, and the third time he saw Elah, they
actually got married.
Marion rode the bus to Millstone and walked the rest of the way to Hur, where they
made their home on Slider Fork.
He unexpectedly arrived a day early for the big
occasion, and found Elah cleaning manure from the chicken house.
Elah's sisters, Grace and Opal, helped with the wedding that March day in 1949, and
the newlyweds returned to Kentucky, where they lived briefly before coming back to
stay for the rest of their days in Village of Hur.
Marion and Elah have never been good at arguing, although she says he liked to
quarrel a little.
When he started, according to Elah, she would begin humming a
song, and if he kept it up, she would burst out into full fledge singing. The more
Marion quarreled, the louder Elah would sing. Neither seemed to pay much attention
to the other, during such spells.
Now, the rest of the story. Marion and Elah Whisman just celebrated their 50th
anniversary (1999), and it was a fine event.
More than a hundred people came to honor the
couple at the Calhoun Park. The Whisman's have been the mainstays at the Mt. Olive
United Methodist Church, on the coldest winter nights to the sunniest Sunday
mornings, they are there.
If you ever had doubts about the power of prayer, you might want to be around when
Her prayers could move mountains.
Rev. Glendon McKee, longtime clergyman on
the circuit, once said, "When I am dying, I want them to call Elah, so she can pray for me,
so I'll really feel good about going on".
Marion, nearly always brings his guitar and
joins Elah in an old-time hymn wherever they go. He makes his own guitars and writes his own songs,
The Whismans have two daughters, Twila Roach and Joan Satterfield, who stood
before the 50th anniversary group and said, "I'm not going to say there aren't people
who have parents as good as we do. I know there are. But I will say, there's none
POSTSCRIPT: Feb. 14, 2011 - Marion passed away in June, 2004 after several critical health problems, playing his harmonica and being cheerful to those who visited him in the hospital. Elah held forth at her home down on Slider Fork until she passed at the age of 94 in 2011.
See also CALHOUN 'PEDESTAL WOMAN' ELAH WHISMAN HAS PASSED AT 94