Our story opens in the late nineteen forties in northern West Virginia. Two young men were getting ready for their senior prom but the events that would unfold before them on this night would change one of them until his dying day.
These two young men had limited means to say the least but their kindly neighbor saw fit to loan them his Model T and a couple of old suits for the night. As evening fell they began their journey toward the old high school about six miles away. They joked back and forth as the old Ford labored over the West Virginia hills.
As they neared a bridge that crossed the Cheat river something caught their attention. There was a young girl, about seventeen years old, dancing on the bridge. They slowed the automobile near the girl and asked if she was going to the prom as well. She was indeed and the three decided to continue their journey together. The girl became friendly with one of the two boys. They danced the night away and even shared a kiss on the dance floor.
Neither of them wanted the night to end as they headed back out to the car after the prom. On the ride back their guest had become chilled from the night air which prompted the young man to remove his suit jacket and wrap it around her shoulders. She leaned closer and gave him a kiss on the cheek in appreciation.
As they neared the bridge where they first encountered her she became uneasy and told the boys that she would walk home from there. She got out of the vehicle and walked off into the night. A few moments later the borrowed suit jacket came to mind because she had still been wearing it when she had walked home. This seemed more like a blessing to the one young man because it would give him a reason to go see her tomorrow. He reasoned that she must live in the patch town near the bridge.
The following day he set out on foot with great anticipation of seeing her again. Upon reaching the small mining community he could not find anyone in the town that had ever heard of the girl. He knocked on nearly every door. Just before he was about to give up and head home an old man sitting on the porch of the company store told him to go to the very outskirts of town where there was a small rundown shanty...there he would find the girl he was looking for.
With quick footsteps he made his way to the old shack. A knock on the door brought a woman in her mid sixties from inside. An inquiry about the girl he had been looking for brought a tear to the woman's face. A moment later she fell to one knee with an abundance of tears and sobbing. After she had regained her composure she invited him in.
Inside the small shack he noticed a picture on the wall. It was the only picture in the house. That was my daughter she said. “She died twenty years ago on her way to the senior prom. She was waiting on the bridge for her friends when a truck coming down the hill lost it's breaks and ran her down”. The young man took a step back and told her that was not possible. “If you want to visit her young man she is buried in the cemetery down by the bridge”.
He walked out of the small house without uttering another word. When he reached the cemetery he found her gravestone and over it was the jacket he had put on her. He knelt down by the stone and remained there for several hours. Tears streamed down his face as he clutched the old jacket. His friend's said that he was never the same after that. He died a few years later during the Korean War. I believe they are together now.