Love isn't always easy. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes it makes you wonder if it is worth fighting for. I watched my grandparents love each other throughout my childhood, until God called my granddaddy W.J home. My grandmother was so gracious to share her beautiful everlasting love story and wisdom with you.
How did you and grandaddy meet? How did he propose?
We were in school together, I was in the 11th grade and we rode the bus together. He was aggravating and I hated him at first [laughs]. Back in the day we (blacks) had one bus. He always liked to sit on the seat next to me and talk. I started dating him in the 12th grade.
He talked to my daddy about marrying me. He found out if he would be the ideal guy for me. Daddy asked if your granddaddy could take care of me just as good as he could or better. He proposed in front of mama and daddy. A month afterwards, we got married at my house. It was a beautiful wedding. So many people were there, it looked like a church. Mama set the house up real nice.
How did you know grandaddy was "the one"?
I figured him out to being a caring home man, who didn't like to "go go go." He always worked, provided, took care of his grandparents, and always cared for older people. After we got married he still did the same thing. He was not the guy to beat on women, he was very protective .
Describe your marriage.
It was beautiful. He was faithful and always there for me. Back in the day there were house parties, where people had fish fries. He would tell me to go if I wanted to, he never wanted to be in the streets. He was a wonderful husband, not chasing after women, and he didn't chase around with his friends after we married.
What got you two through tough times?
We lived on our own for the first two years. After two years, I moved back home until I could do better. Times were hard after moving into my [current] home. Mama and daddy always helped us out. House payments went up but we worked it out.
Did forgiveness play a major role in your marriage?
Yes, it was easy to forgive. I would say sorry and we would figure it out. If I misunderstood him he'd say, "No Betty that ain't right." I could easily say I was sorry if I made a mistake and needed his forgiveness. He would talk around in slang and say, "You know I was just kidding." I would tell him, "No, you have to be serious about what you're saying." He was just as forgiving.
Describe one of your favorite memories together.
After we had children, we rode to Rock Hill after Sunday dinner to get ice cream as a family. It was just three kids at the time, we had fun together.
I grew up seeing you guys together everyday. I saw real love. What advice about love do you give to couples of my generation?
I always tell them it's not going to be easy everyday as you think. You may think it'll be roses everyday, but you'll have ups and downs. Reason between what's going on, in order to know how to forgive and treat each other the right way. You have to be re-rooted. Don't just look for the other person to understand you, but understand them also. Like my mama used to say, "Somebody has to have common sense." When you spread your business out amongst everybody, your business is in the streets and it'll make matters worse. Take it out amongst yourselves.
Granddaddy, you were an amazing man. I love you for being a disciplined man who loved his family, raised his family, and treated his wife as a true Queen. I pray God blesses me with a marriage this strong. Grandma, you are one of the strongest women I know. You hold our family on your back and it never breaks. I love you Betty Jean. I thank you for sharing your love story and wisdom with everyone.
Some things do last forever.
Happy Mothers Day!