New Year's Eve, 1999
On New Year's Eve in 1965 a young couple stood before a minister in the house
of the young man's parents. The house, now long since gone, built around the
turn of the century, stood in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, many miles from
the Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the young woman.
The gathering there included only the young man's family, all of whom must
have been skeptical about the chances for the success of the marriage beginning
that day. The couple had known each other only about four months, and had spent
most of those four months separated by hundreds of miles of telephone line.
She had ridden the train to Atlanta a few days earlier, back when train lines
had names; this line had been called the "Nancy Hanks." He picked her up at
Union Station, a magnificent depot, now also long since gone. He spotted her
coming up the enormous marble stairs from the platform to the main floor, also
marble. It was a beautiful scene, this pretty girl coming t