Maudie and me have already been married for 58 years, but it really wasn’t love at first sight.
Both of us grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and came to Murphy High School in 1953 as freshmen. Mobile had (and still has) high school fraternities and sororities. These social organizations are not like such ones in college. I also had joined a fraternity by the second semester of my sophomore year.
During civics classes I was sitting next to two girls from a sorority. We all talked so much during lessons that the teacher had to divide us. She moved me to a girl, whose name was Maudie. I knew about her only that she was BFFs with the daughter of the man who was a prominent preacher at the Mobile’ biggest Baptist church. As far as I thought, that was everything I needed to know about that girl. And she knew all she needed to know about me.
During our junior year, we were studying in the same class of bookkeeping. I loved this class but its tasks were quite difficult for me. I was aware of Maudie’s smartness, so I asked her to tell me what were my mistakes. She just ignored me, letting me know she didn’t want to help me at all. So I asked somebody else.
Then in our senior year, I got a job in a grocery store. Maudie came in every week with her mom and seemed to have changed a lot. We talked as I was putting the groceries into my bag and I suddenly realized that I also had changed.
One night as I helped her carry the groceries out, I asked her whether she’d like to meet with me and take a ride when after work, but she told me she had to drive her mom home. I felt rejected but later learned that she wanted me to pick her up from work.
Some days later I saw her from my car when she was going home from school. I offered her a ride; she accepted and I instantly asked her to meet at a revival in our church—I’d chosen the revival deliberately, supposing she’d accept it easier. And yes, she did. We went on to date steadily till that prominent Baptist pastor married us on April 3, 1959.