A girl’s parents are against her marrying a nice young guy who they think is poor, so his millionaire father pretends to be broke and teaches them a lesson.
Once upon a time, all stories were about true love, and about how people found each other against all odds, and often they were poor. Nowadays, stories are about getting rich or marrying someone rich.
When Sam Sutton discovered a way to make an unbreakable sealant for engines that everyone wanted, he never imagined that it would one day affect the love life of his then-infant son, Will.
As it happened, Sam’s discovery brought immediate improvements to the family’s life. He started making a lot of money on that sealant’s patent. Sam, his wife, and his baby son moved to a lovely house and got a new car.
As the years went by, there was more and more money — much more than Sam had ever imagined. His little family was comfortable, that’s all he cared about. The extraordinary sums his lawyer kept reporting on seemed not quite real.
Then something terrible happened to Sam and his family, and all those millions piled up in the bank made not a stitch of difference. Sam’s wife, Rain, became very ill. Sam kept telling doctors money was no object but they just shook their heads.
There are two things in life that money just can’t buy, and that’s love and good health. Sam found out about the first in the most painful way when Rain passed away, and he’d find out about the second when Will started to grow up.
It wasn’t easy being a single dad to a growing boy, and so maybe Sam made a few mistakes. Will was so kind, and loving, and unspoiled that Sam lavished everything he could afford on him — and Sam could afford anything.
So in high school, Will’s colleagues quickly realized that his dad was very rich and very generous — and so was Will. Quickly Will became the most popular guy around — not because of his kindness, or his amazing good looks, but because of his dad’s money.
Girls, in particular, swarmed around WIll like bees around a honey pot. At first, Will sort of liked it, then little by little, he realized they didn’t want him. They wanted his dad’s money and all the luxury it could buy.
Will told Sam, weeping that the girl he was in love with didn’t really care for him — she just cared about going along for the Sutton family trips to Aspen, and Veil, and the Bahamas on their private plane.
Sam comforted his son and encouraged him to break up with that girl. The rest of Will’s senior year in high school was pretty lonely, but he had a plan. “Dad,” he said, “I have a plan.”
Sam grinned. “OK! What’s your plan?”
“I’m going to Yale in the fall, but I want everyone to think I’m a scholarship student.”
Sam blinked in astonishment. “A scholarship student? You? But why?”
“Well.” Will said, “if I’m poor and I wear scruffy clothes, people won’t be my friends unless they really like me. Girls won’t want to date me for our money.”
“That’s very true, Will,” Sam said. “I think that’s a brilliant plan!”
And so they put the plan in motion. Will and Sam bought all his clothes and equipment second-hand, and Will was the scruffiest, poorest-looking student you ever saw.
The plan worked too, because Will quickly found lots of great sincere friends, and he even met a girl he really liked and she liked him too. By his third year at Yale, Will was very much in love with that girl.
Her name was Eddy — for Edwina — and he decided he wanted to marry her. Sam was a little worried that WIll might be too young, but he married young too, and he’d been very happy.
So Will proposed to Eddy and she said yes. That Thanksgiving, Eddy took Will home to meet her parents and it was a disaster. Eddy’s parents, Marta and Farlow, were well-to-do and very proud of their social position.
They wanted their beautiful daughter to marry a rich man, not a scruffy third-year science major, no matter how smart, handsome, or funny. They were subtly unpleasant to Will, but not enough that Eddy could complain.
In fact, Eddy had accepted Will’s proposal and proudly displayed the tiny diamond he’d given her as if it was the Kohinoor. And she insisted that Will and his father should join her family for the Christmas celebrations. Marta and Fallow were horrified, but they smiled, agreed, and made their own plan.
So Will and Sam took a Greyhound from their mansion in New Hampshire to Eddy’s family’s beach house in Narragansett to join the family for Christmas.
Eddy’s dad picked them up from the bus terminal and the fun began. Farlow looked Sam up and down and sniffed. (Sam had gone shopping at the local goodwill store and he’d gone a little overboard.)
Sam didn’t look just poor, he looked almost homeless. Farlow drove them to their big house, and he talked about his wealth, his houses, and his cars. “I’ll have you know,” he said to Sam, “that I’ve done very well by my family. We live in comfort — to be honest, we live in luxury.
“Not everyone is used to that, of course, and we understand that, but we hope you and WIll will be able to fit in. Christmas is very important to us.”
“It’s important to us too,” Sam said. As it turned out, Marta and Farlow’s idea of Christmas was to splurge on towers of expensive presents and show everyone they knew how successful they were.
The next few days were a nightmare. Farlow and Marta didn’t miss a chance to show Sam that they believed their daughter was way out of his son’s league.
“Eddy is a wealthy young woman, Sam,” Marta said. “And her husband must be able to give her the same lifestyle. I know you’ve not done as well for Will…”
Eddy became aware of her parents’ campaign to humiliate Sam and she was furious. So she had a talk with her parents. “I’m going to marry Will,” she said. “And Sam’s going to be family, so get used to it.”
“But darling,” cried her mother, “the man is a derelict! Have you seen his clothes? He’s an embarrassment.”