I had enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. Marie and I corresponded prior to our meeting
(by snail mail because that was before computers).
When I was on my first leave, in late spring of 1952, I went to visit one of my girl
cousins. I was in full dress uniform so my cousin could see it. Upon arrival I was
informed that she was not at home, but would be back later. I was invited to stay as
they were going to have a Bar-B-Que. Little did I know that this cook out was to be
from scratch, meaning we had to butcher the animal first.
Long story short, I had to borrow some clothes from my uncle, which was too big, as I
was going to help butcher and cook. So we butchered and dressed the animal (a
goat) and proceeded to cook over an open fire pit. That is the old fashion way to Bar-
My cousin returned while we were cooking, and Marie was with her. When my cousin
introduced us, I was very embarrassed because I was still in my uncles clothes. I was
not a pretty sight after helping butcher and dress the goat, I had blood all over my
After the feast, Sarah (my cousin), Marie, and I went outside, put more wood in the fire
pit and sat on the ground laughing and talking. Before we realized we had been there
all night, daylight began to appear. Shortly, we went inside and ate breakfast. I then
proceeded to get my clothes and go down to the creek and get a bath, as there was
no running water in the house (only outdoor plumbing in those days).
The three of us spent the whole day visiting with relatives and friends, and really
enjoyed just being together. Local musicians was having a get together that night and
we decided to go listen to them play and sing. That we did, and got back to my
cousins house around midnight. As tired as we were, we were not willing to give up
being together. We went out and made a fire in the fire pit and lay on the ground
looking at the stars and talking. Well, we were more tired than we thought, because
we woke up the next morning, well after daylight, laying on the ground beside the fire
pit. The three of us spent the day just enjoying being together. My cousin and I
carried Marie home that night, because she (Marie) had to go to school the next day.
Marie was 16 years old at this meeting and I was 17. I didn't realize that I had fallen
madly in love with this beautiful and sweet young lady. I did not see her again while I
was on this leave, but she stayed on my mind all the time, and I wanted to see her
again but, time would not permit that to happen because I had to return to military duty.
Our Second Meeting
We continued corresponding while we were apart. My feelng for Marie had gotten
even stronger while we were apart, and I wanted to tell her how I felt about her. I didn’t
know how she felt, and didn’t want to express my feelings in a letter. I took another
leave in December of 1952. While on leave I went to see Marie. My feelings were so
strong that I had bought a set of rings, just in case she felt the same as I did.
Needless to say that I was very nervous about this, because I really expected a "get
out of my life" answer.
A funny thing happened while I was there. Marie’s father was not at home when I
arrived. Marie and her mother were in the kitchen preparing the evening meal, and I
was in the living room talking to her brothers. Her father came home, and as he
entered the room, he stopped and looked straight at me. He had been hunting, and
had a shotgun under his arm. He just stood there looking straight at me, and in a
loud, strong, and rough voice he said "so you are my future son-in-law". I felt about 2
inches tall and didn’t really know how to respond, so I jumped up and went to him and
shook his hand, and replied "yes sir". Of course that was exactly what I wanted, but I
hadn’t talked to Marie about it yet.
The Love Bug Bites
The next day I took Marie to a park on a picnic just to get away from her family so I
could talk freely and privately. I ask her not to interrupt me until I had finished talking.
I began to tell her how I felt, and how the feelings just kept getting stronger as each
day passed. I told her how deeply I loved her, and asked her how she felt about me.
She then hugged and kissed me and said "Oh I feel the same way. I was afraid you
were going tell me you loved someone else". I then asked her how much she loved
me, and if she loved me enough to marry me. She told me that she definitely did.
Marie was now 17 and a senior. So we began to make plans to get married.
Our Third Meeting
The next time I saw Marie was in late August of 1953. Marie had graduated and was
working in Baton Rouge. We had planned our wedding through correspondence, and
planned to be married during this leave time. There were a few things that we had not
discussed. One was the ins and outs of being a military wife as there are times when
the military man is sent elsewhere, temporarily for a period of time and the family
would be separated. I asked her if she wanted to go back with me or stay there and
work. Her decision was to go back with me because, as she said "we wont be
separated as much there as we would be if I stayed here. I can work there as well as
Another thing we had not had any conversation about was what size family we were
going have. She told me that she really didn’t want any children, at least not right
away, as she had help take care of her younger brothers and sisters. She did say
that she thought that two children was a good size family. She asked how many
children I wanted. I told her that I didn’t care how many we had as long as I was able
to provide for, and care for them. I did want children while I was young and healthy so
I could take part in their activities. I wanted to be able to do the things the children
wanted to do.
With all the discussions taken care of, we set our wedding date. Marie’s birthday is
October 8th and mine is November 8th so we decided that we would be married on
September 8th. We also agreed that we would have a child soon so we could be a
real family. We were married on the 8th day of September, 1953.
After we went back to the military base and established a home there, we started
planning our first child. Since we had three 8ths in a row, we would try for our first
child to be born on the 8th of the month. Well, mother nature does what mother
nature does, and our first child (Loretta) was born August 5th, 1954.
We tried again with our second child (James Jr.), but missed it by 4 days. Since we
had missed twice, our third child (Phillip) was not really planned. We had three
children at the end of five years of marriage, and Marie said "that’s enough", so there
were no more children
We enjoyed our children and was involved with their activities until they became adults
and made a life of their own. We were kids with our kids. Our love for our children
and for each other grew stronger with each passing day.
There is no way to fit 59 years of marriage in this article. We both love children.
Beside raising our three children, we raised a grand daughter and were raising three
great grand children at the time of Marie’s death. Children have lived in our home 58
of those 59 years, and we have loved every minute of that time.
Marie was ill for a very long time, and we knew our time together was short. We
became closer and our love became even stronger during this time. We spent as
much time together as possible because we wanted "Our Time" to be the best it could
There is a great emptiness now, not only in my heart, but in this home, and I’m sure
that emptiness extends far beyond these walls.
God has blessed me by giving me a mate at a very early age. A mate that stood by
me through good times and bad times. A mate that encouraged me on and helped me
any way she could. A mate that truly loved me and one that I could love in return, an
Gods grace has brought me this far, and I’m sure His grace will be extended until the
time He calls me home. Yes, I’m a christian. I do believe there a God, and that He
provides opportunities and watches over us. I believe there is a Heaven and a Hell,
and that each person will spend eternity in one of those places.
I Still Love Marie