My Papa, Lester Carroll, grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He fought in the Philippines in World War II, but was young enough to miss most of the action. He married a hot young thing named Barbara Bone. He became a carpenter. My Grandma was a Mormon, and he eventually got tired of sitting home by himself on Sundays, and became one himself. He became a great pioneer as one of the first Mormons in South Carolina, and often was in a position of leadership. He fathered four daughters and two sons, who gave him 25 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren (the youngest two were born in the last week… and someone correct me if those numbers are wrong.)
He left quite a legacy, my Papa did. He became a sealer in the temple, where he was able to marry 10 of his grandchildren in the temple for time and all eternity (again, correct me if that number is wrong.)
I have many memories of Papa. I remember him being ornery in my young age, and calm and patient in my adulthood. I remember him telling me not to worry, some day my flat chest would grow. I remember him playing with us, talking with us, giving us advice.
But my most favorite memory of Papa is on my wedding day.
Christopher and I were sealed in the Columbia Temple, by Papa. Traditionally, temple sealers give the bride and groom some words of wisdom. Pray together every night. Love the Lord and each other. Always say kind words.
I have no clue what Papa said to us in the sealing room. I was way too excited. But I remember something he told us later that day.
We were married at noon, took pictures at the temple, and had a luncheon shortly after. The ceremony and luncheon included family and close friends. The reception, the big everyone-is-invited party, was in the evening, with pictures beforehand.
As we left the temple in my dad’s car, eager virgin newlyweds, my mom gave Christopher the evil eye and forbade him to touch me until after the reception. Do not mess up your hair, she warned us both.
Later, after the luncheon, we defied orders and snuck off to make out. My mom caught us. She was serious about my hair.
But Papa was right there, and he pulled us aside.
With a wink and a smile, he simply said, “Run along, kids. It’s okay. You’re married now.”
And later that evening, in the Adams Mark Hotel (Mom’s wrath was stronger than our libido, after all), after we had showered separately and changed into fresh pajamas, I crawled into bed with my new husband. After months of abrupt good night kisses and cold showers, my nervous husband coughed and said, “Well, here we are. I guess it’s okay now. Papa said.“
I gave him my best come-hither look and said, “That’s right.
And we still use that line, and laugh, today.