So let's fast forward to Edsel's teenage years. Again, I know very little of these "wonder" years, as Ma Crabb is no longer with us and I don't get to talk with Aunt Winona very often. To hear Edsel tell it, you'd think that his life has been a Charles Dickens novel. (But who of us doesn't have a sob story? My personal one is that my siblings weren't disciplined as much as I was...)
I figure that Edsel was a boy's version of sassy. I don't KNOW this; it's purely speculation. I imagine he was respectful to his mama and daddy, as all southerners are taught to be.
Somewhere along the line he played football for Montgomery County High School. I know this because I've seen a picture of Edsel as a young man decked out in football garb hunched over a ball. From this, I gather that he was center, but I don't know that for a fact. After this he got a job in Vidalia, about 15 miles from home, at a grocery store. I don't know the logistics of it all, but he worked during the day and went to school in Baxley at night. He graduated in 1957. I'm not sure how much his grandson is like him in regards to school work, but if they're identical, then his diploma belonged to Ma Crabb, too.
After graduating, Edsel began to look for a job. However, everywhere he applied asked if he had served his time yet. This, of course, did not mean prison, but serving our country in the military. He realized that in order for him to get a decent job, he must serve. There is no shame in that, so he went to do his civic duty.
He and three other boys from home, one of them being Jesse Lollis (with whose granddaughter I am friends) went to the recruiting offices. The Navy could only take two that night; the other two would have to wait on the Marines. Edsel, in his typical fashion, told the other three boys, "I'm going TONIGHT. The rest of you can decide who else is going." Years later, Jesse Lollis told Edsel that he cursed him every night for four years for his having to join the Marines.
Shortly after his service began, Edsel was stationed aboard a minesweeper. He became an electrician, and knowing him, I think he was probably quite good at his job. There is a part of American history is not often thought about, but it was brought to my attention because of who I am. When the US invaded Lebanon, Edsel helped land Marines in Beruit. I'm not sure how, exactly, this worked, as Edsel was an electrician, but let's give him credit anyway. Could have been that his ship hauled Marines, so the whole crew took credit. I'm just proud that he served.
Later on in his naval journey he was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. (Can there be a more lovely city?) One of his buddies was dating a girl from Orangeburg, a town in the central part of the state. This buddy's best girl had a friend who had a not-quite-steady boyfriend. Edsel and the girl set up a blind date with the buddy and his girlfriend. I believe the date was to see a movie, but I'm not quite certain. What I am certain of, is that Edsel had to wait for his date to get off work at the 5 and Dime in downtown Orangeburg. I am also certain of the date: October 31, 1959.
I can't say if there was an immediate spark, although I feel safe to say there was. His date's name was Angela Christopher, a lovely young lady who was a senior at Orangeburg High School. Edsel insisted that Angela get rid of her other boyfriend. She did, as she was head over heels for the dapper Mr. Edsel Crabb from Alston, Georgia.