Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hewitt and Marie

My mother, who is 79 years old, works out at the local wellness center in the small Alabama town where she lives.  A few years ago, she befriended the man on the treadmill next to her (not unusual, for those of you who know Mom; she's a flirt).  This man, however, is 94 years old, and has been happily married for almost 65 years.  On my last trip home, she took me to meet "Hughie" and his wife, Marie.

They live in an immaculately kept brick house with a winding driveway. As we drove up, a local grocer followed us; he was dropping off some dinner rolls for them. We knocked at the back door, and waited. When the door finally opened, Hughie hugged my Mom, and introduced himself to me.  It was hard to believe he is 94. He ushered us in to meet Marie, who was sitting on the couch in their den awaiting the Auburn and Alabama football game.  It was made clear that they're Bama fans...

They were both so excited to see us, and were really the picture of good health.  Marie could hardly wait to tell me their story, and I wanted to share parts of it with you.

In the summer of 1932, a mutual friend introduced them.  They both attended the same high school, and while they didn't immediately fall in love, they started slowly in that direction.  He played football, and after a game one evening, she waited for him to shower and dress, before going on their first date to Mac's Cafe.  They had pie and a Coke.  Can you imagine remembering something like that all those years ago?

Hughie went away for work that summer, but Marie didn't date anyone else.  They "picked right up" when he returned home, but eventually he went into the Army, where he was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II.  He asked a friend of theirs to go with Marie to choose an engagement ring, which she still has.  Hughie returned home on December 26, 1945, and they were married March 7, 1946.

The ceremony took place at her parents' home by their Methodist minister.  She wore a soft blue suit, while he chose a dark suit.  They first lived upstairs in her parents home in an attic that was partially finished.  During hot summer nights, they took their mattress outside on the roof and slept under the stars.

Eventually, they moved to Tuscaloosa, where he attended the University of Alabama and received his civil engineering degree.  She worked for the Boy Scouts, and went to college later in Mississippi.  Throughout the years, his job took them all over the world, before they eventually retired and moved back home.

When I asked Marie what the secret to their long, happy marriage was, she replied "There was nothing difficult about it.  If you truly love each other and are dedicated to a relationship, it is easy."  They weren't able to have children, and she regrets now that they didn't adopt.  But her main regret is "that I don't have many years left with my husband."

We left soon afterwards so they could watch their football game.  I felt honored to have shared a few minutes of their lives, yet wistful that I'd never found what they have.  I don't think many people do.


  1. Boo Hoo!!! What a sweet and wonderful story, and great photographs. I hope I get to spend as many years with my sweetie.

  2. A sweeter couple you could never meet. Hewitt is a perfect example of a "gentleman" and you don't see many of those today.