“I first met my wife, Lee Ann, June 30th, 1966 when she was 14 and I was 16. She was babysitting for her sister whom had just moved in two doors down from our house.
We had a pool in our back yard and my parents had invited Lee Ann’s sister to come over and swim if she liked… so they both came over on that hot day to enjoy the pool. I was off work (working summers in construction) that day so I went out to take a swim and she was sitting in a chair near the pool.
I immediately was attracted to her with her long brown hair down to her waist, beautiful face and, as I soon realized, very shy personality. I asked her why she wasn’t in the water and she responded she didn’t know how to swim.
I told her I would teach her so that’s how it all started. I asked her to go to a town street dance that evening and she agreed.”
“We started dating exclusively with each other. Two years later when I graduated high school Lee Ann was pregnant.
We hid it from our parents and tried to get married but couldn’t without parents permission. Both our parents wanted her to have an abortion, which was illegal at the time, but we desperately wanted to get married because we were very much in love and very mature for our ages.
Lee Ann’s Dr. said that if she did have an abortion she was the kind of girl who would never get over not seeing her child. Her mother took her away, which wasn’t unusual for the time, to where her Uncle was stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina.
I didn’t know where she was and tried to write letters to her, which we still have to this day. Her stepfather forwarded the letters to her and we started corresponding and talking on the phone (no cell phones then).
I told her that I wanted more than anything else to get married and have our child and she felt the same. I ended up leaving my car keys (my father had co signed for my car and said if we got married he would take the car away, so I saved him the trouble), got on a bus to the city with all my belongings in a duffle [sic] bag and purchased a bus ticket to Southern Pines, N.C.
I had never been out of the northeast before so it was like a foreign country to me. The woman that Lee Ann was living with was a librarian where here uncle was stationed. She was shocked when I got off the bus and I called Lee Ann and told her I was nearby.
Skipping ahead… her mother agreed to let us get married because we were so determined and she felt that we really did love each other.”
“We got married on November 19, 1968 in Bennettsville, South Carolina by a justice of the peace. I got a job building custom homes and worked 60-70 hours a week to provide for my family.
My son was born in February, 1969 in Pinehurst, N.C. We moved back to New Jersey a month later because there was more opportunity and I started working for my boss from high school.
We have been in love since the day we met and raised three children and now have two grandchildren. I’ve been in my own construction business for over 44 years.
I thank God every day that we never agreed to have her abort the baby because of all the joy and love we have had with our son, his family and all our children.
People ask how did we do it? I tell them that when you have love and respect for each other and are unselfish it’s easy.
We are still very much in love and best friends and we enjoy spending our time together!”
Thank you, Greg, for sharing your beautiful story! And congratulations on your upcoming 50th wedding anniversary!
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