The story of how my great grandmother and great grandfather met is not a common one. It begins with the unusual fact my great grandfather was a Catholic priest. Yes, you read that correctly. He was born in Austria to a Catholic family. In those days the oldest boy was expected to go into the priesthood and Mathew Frances Halbedl followed in the tradition.
As a young priest, he was transferred to the United States to Louisiana where he served in a parish for several years. Here’s where the story gets a bit crazy. One day during mass, he spotted a young teenage girl, Mary Louise Gross. He tried to deny his feelings but realized he was attracted to her, and he eventually fell in love with her.
To prevent any kind of scandal, he avoided her, realizing if he relented to his feelings, it would be disastrous for him and his career as well as the reputation of the girl. He hid his love away in the back of his heart and determined to wait until she grew up. Then he’d see what happened.
When Mary Louise grew into a young woman, Mathew realized his love for her had grown stronger. He soon discovered she felt the same and had been attracted to him for years. So, long story short, he stepped out of the priesthood and married Mary Louise.
They had five children, one of them was my grandfather, Clifton Halbedl. Clifton and his wife named their daughter, my mother, Mary Louise.
I regret I don’t know the exact details as to all that happened, so I decided since I’m a fiction writer, I’d make up my own. Thus, Dreams Deferred was born.
I can’t imagine a more romantic tale than a man relinquishing his chosen career for the woman he loves.