In the 1920s, churches would hold “proms” where young ladies could make a picnic lunch to be auctioned off to the highest-bidding young man, who would have the honor of enjoying that picnic with the young lady. Hugo Handley had his eye on Pearl Ross, so he purchased her picnic basket for the opportunity to “court” her. They went for a walk around the pond and set up their picnic together. They had such a wonderful time together with him telling jokes and stories, the afternoon ended far too quickly. Soon enough, Hugo and Pearl were spending quite a lot of time together.
Later on, Hugo realized that another fellow was attempting to court Pearl as well. One day, while the other young man was sitting on her front porch, Hugo took Pearl on a walk to the well in the back yard and told her she had to make a choice. If she chose the other young man, Hugo would leave and never interfere with them, as he only wanted her to be happy. Pearl must have been waiting to see which of the young men would make such a move, because she told Hugo she chose him!
They married September 11, 1927, and had two lovely daughters together: Jeannette and Juliette. Tragically, Hugo passed away shortly after Juliette was born. The story is told that he had a “stone bruise” from an injury on the farm, which caused blood poisoning. Whatever the actual cause of his death was, Pearl was left behind to raise their two young daughters on her own.
Hugo was quite the entertainer, always telling jokes and stories or pulling pranks on friends and family. He and Pearl enjoyed their short life together, though one thing apparently seemed to bother him: Hugo was significantly shorter than Pearl. In the one picture of the two of them together that has survived time and circumstances, Pearl is actually standing in a hole to make Hugo appear taller than he actually was!
Although not many in the family remember Hugo, what is known about him is his big personality, which continues to show up in his grandsons and great-grandchildren he never even had the opportunity to know.