Years ago, I began collecting true love stories that touched my heart. Some are just as good as my favorite novels–though not nearly as long. I’d like to share a few of them with you today.
Beatrix Potter and William Heelis
You probably remember Beatrix Potter as the author and illustrator of Peter Rabbit and other children’s stories. What you may not know is that Beatrix lived a very restricted, isolated life. Her Victorian parents expected her to remain unmarried so that she could care for them in their old age. They disapproved of her engagement to her editor when she was 39 years old. Sadly, he died of anemia before they could marry.
She became engaged again eight years later when she was 47 to William Heelis, a Westmorland solicitor who helped her with her property. Her parents disapproved of this engagement as well, so her brother traveled to their home to plead her cause and confess that he himself had secretly married years earlier. (Talk about overprotective parents!) They still wouldn’t agree to it. As if that weren’t bad enough, William’s parents also disapproved of the match, thinking he was marrying below him.
Despite all the disapproval, Beatrix and William married. Beatrix threw herself into running their farm and herding sheep. She and William had a happy life together. A neighbor recounts, “They were very fond of each other. It was quite romantic. One afternoon, latish in the year, it was getting dark and she began to prepare his supper . . . She didn’t think about us at all. She laid the table. She put the candlesticks on it. She lit the candle. It was very romantic. Oh, yes. She was expecting her man back.” I have heard there is a movie about Beatrix’s life called Miss Potter that details their relationship, but I have not yet seen it.
Also, I cannot resist putting a photo of one of Beatrix’s illustrations here. This is Hunca Munca from The Tale of Two Bad Mice. She is my favorite Potter character.
Dale Evans and Roy Rogers
Back in the 1920s, Dale Evans eloped She was only 14 at the time, and by age 15, she was a single parent. However, because of her excellent singing voice, she worked her way up to become a star in Hollywood. After two more divorces, she married the famous Roy Rogers, whose wife had died, leaving him a single father. Dale loved his children as her own, and a couple years after they married, she found herself pregnant. Their baby, Robin, had Down Syndrome, but she and Roy refused to follow the standard procedure of the day to hide her away in an institution. Their behavior set a new standard for the treatment of the disabled.
Unfortunately, Robin died shortly before her second birthday, leaving their hearts broken. Dale later wrote a book about Robin and gave the proceeds to help the disabled. Roy and Dale also adopted several other children in need and started a shelter for abused children. Their marriage lasted over fifty years, and their legacy of giving still blesses us today.
I’ve linked a video below of them singing “Happy Trails to You”.
Fanny and James Ricketts
My last true love story harks back to the U.S. Civil War. After Union Captain James Ricketts was wounded in the battle of Bull Run, a comrade delivered his personal effects to his wife, Fanny, and informed her of his death.
However, Fanny felt in her heart that her husband was still alive. Ignoring the advice of others, she received permission to cross the enemy lines and traveled from hospital to hospital in search of her husband.
She finally found him in a makeshift Confederate hospital. She stayed with her husband, nursing him and the other soldiers, as they became prisoners of war. It was a horrific experience for her, and for months, it looked as if her husband would die. Fanny stayed with him through all the terrors, though, until he and the other prisoners were freed.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my short, little love stories as much I do. Do you know of any true love stories that seem as great as fiction? Please let me know in the comments