Roses, chocolates, romantic getaways, and jewelry often top the list for expressions of the heart in love stories and romance movies. However, I have great-grandparents that exemplify true, lasting love – no merchandise required. Their story is worth recording, as are the love stories in your family history.
Evaline Townley Peak and Carl Short
Evaline Was Previously Engaged
To understand George Geiszler and Evaline Peak’s love, you have to know about Evaline’s fiance. Great-grandma Evaline was actually engaged to a man named Carl Short before she met Geroge. Carl, aged 22, worked as a driver for the Am Ex Co in Columbus, Ohio. (I’m not sure, but I believe the company was the American Express Company). Meanwhile, Evaline, aged 23, was a telephone operator.
Carl and Evaline sat for a portrait before their wedding but never tied the knot. On 18 May 1916, Carl was injured in an automobile accident. Pneumonia, triggered by the crash, claimed his life nine days later on May 27th.
Bessie Short and Evaline Peak
An Unofficial Mother-in-law Plays Match Maker
Carl was the only child that lived into the adulthood of Bessie Short. Evaline and her ‘should-have-been’ mother-in-law grieved together. Two years later, Bessie helped steer Evaline toward George Geiszler as a potential husband.
The family legend is that Bessie and Evaline were attending a fair in Columbus. Bessie pointed out the young man (about 30 years old) and encouraged Evaline to connect with him. On 6 June 1918, George Geiszler and Evaline Peak exchanged vows, with Bessie in attendance.
Evaline and her children (holding Robert, seated left to right: George, Margie, and Carl)
A Love Story Through Their Children
George and Evaline’s relationship deepened as they became parents. A daughter was born in 1920 and was named after George’s mother. In November 1921, another daughter was born prematurely but soon passed away. Their first son was born in 1923 and named after George’s side of the family.
The most touching part of their love story reveals happens in the naming of their next son. In January 1925, they named their son Carl in honor of Evaline’s deceased fiancé.
How joyful that day must have been when Bessie held her son’s namesake!
How much love must George have had for Evaline to let her select this name to honor the man she didn’t marry?
Another Layer of Love
The naming of the second son provides a glimpse into George and Evaline’s love story. Their eldest daughter remembers that Evaline kept a photo of Carl Short in her bedroom. Few spouses would be this generous, which suggests that George must have really loved Evaline.
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The Tragedy of Love
Bessie Short, the unofficial mother-in-law to both George and Evaline, died in December 1926. She likely died a happy woman knowing her son’s name would live on, even if he didn’t have a biological child.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck again as Evaline’s young son Carl died at the age of 3 in April 1928. Apparently, George and Evaline had taken their four children to see some baby chicks to celebrate Easter. Upon returning from the farm, young Carl became very ill. A doctor was called. Young Carl was diagnosed with influenza. It’s possible that he was having some sort of allergic reaction to the elements on the farm.
Whatever the case, Carl’s dear mother Evaline rocked her son, Carl, as he struggled to breathe until he took his final breath. In twelve years, Evaline had buried two beloved Carls, a premature daughter without a name, and the woman who could have become her mother-in-law.
How much heartache must she have felt?
How much comfort did George offer each time?
A Love Story Continues
George and Evaline did recover from this tragedy and loved their children, their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren very much. Photos and stories reveal this truth. When their grandson Harry Wasson returned from Vietnam a broken and injured man, George repaired the wooden stock of the rifle that had shot his grandson. It was a strange thing for Harry to keep, but if mending the rifle in his workshop would help his grandson, George was capable and eager to assist.
George and Evaline celebrated 41 years of marriage before she passed from this life. And yet, their memory continues in the hearts of their surviving granddaughters. With my help, the story will continue for generations to come.
Use This Love Story Inspire You To Write Your Family History
The details I gathered about George and Evaline’s love story do not fill novels or county histories. They are not famous enough to be sought after by the masses. However, their story rates higher in my estimation than any romance novel or movie because it is real.
Their story contains elements of loving, losing, and finding love again. It continues with the aspects of motherhood and burying young ones. And through it all, the marriage stayed strong.
Take time today, this week, or this month to give the best gift of love. One that can be treasured when the chocolates are eaten, the roses wilt and the red heart cards are thrown away.
Record the love stories of your parents and grandparents and then share them with those around you. Don’t just focus on how they met or how they married, but include the additional aspects of true love.