Bill Wilson was raised by his grandparents in East Dorset, Vermont. While Lois was raised by her parents in Brooklyn, New York but spent her summers in Manchester, Vermont. Over the summer trips, Lois’ brother Rogers became friends with Bill Wilson, and in 1913 introduced him to his sister. Lois was more than four years older than Bill and did not regard him as anything other than her brother’s friend. But as the summers went on, she and Bill eventually found many common interests and gradually fell in love. The couple became secretly engaged in 1915.
After their engagement, Lois had to go back to Brooklyn for work and Bill attended Norwich University, a military college in Northfield, Vermont. They continued their relationship through sending letters and making trips to see each other every chance they could. In January 1916, Bill made a trip to Brooklyn and bought the engagement ring but they did not announce their engagement until Thanksgiving of that year. Their 2 and a half years of engagement were spent mostly apart but was filled with many wonderful visits that kept their love for each other alive! They married on January 24, 1918, before young officer Wilson shipped off to Europe in the First World War.
When Lois married Bill, she wed an upstanding young man of good character filled with exciting ideas about his future. She knew he experienced some depression, however Lois could not foresee that he would become a drinker. She knew that he had taken his first drink early on in his military career, but it was a great shock to Lois some months later when, visiting her husband in his New Bedford, Massachusetts station, his soldier friends told her about Bill getting so drunk one night that they had to carry him back to the barracks.
This began a long road of dark and troubling times but were eventually illuminated by a bright light that came in 1934!