Frankie & Harriette Davis
Scott Harper, of GAB News, encouraged me to do a special Valentine’s column where I interview a couple who has been married for a long time. I thought it was a fabulous idea, however, I did not think I would get much of a response as people do not seem to stay married for very long anymore.
That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The response was overwhelming, yet, inspiring. There were so many responses, mostly from children proudly proclaiming, “My parents have been married _____ years!” It was truly so amazing that I’ve decided to write about a few of these old time honeymooners starting with Frankie and Harriette Davis, of Georgetown.
They graciously welcomed my husband and me into their home. As we all gathered around, I explained what I was doing and how we would just sit around and talk and then I’d go home and write about it.
Being old Georgetonians, I knew they were going to ask so, the first question out the gate was, “Who’s your daddy?”
My husband and I explained who his family was before I asked. “How long have you been married?”
“Fifty years,” Harriette answered. “We met at Chips; you know, where Hardees is now.”
“No, no,” Frankie interrupted, “It was Hardees then – I had just gotten home from boot camp and was up there. There were a couple of pretty girls hanging around and I decided to go over and talk to them.”
“And Harriette was one of them…” I added more as statement than question.
Frankie nodded “Oh yeah, it was her and a couple of her girlfriends. We got married that November, four months later.”
He spoke a little of how the families were unsure because they had only just met and didn’t know each other very well. However, the families did come together about the nuptials. Frankie expressed how he was so touched that his family had graciously accepted Harriet with so much love.
Harriette giggled a little. “Yeah, my daddy did not like him at all. He hated him. There are four girls in my family and my daddy always said that no one would be good enough for his girls.” She paused a minute and then added, “In the end, though, he did like him.”
“My family all thought Harriette was the nicest person,” he said of his wife. “Everyone loved her.”
“I still say it was Chips,” Harriette added with a chuckle. “And I’m older than him, too. I didn’t want to date someone who was younger than me, either. I told him that, too; that I did not want to date someone younger than me.”
“And I’m so hardheaded,” Frankie picked up, “And said ‘who are you to tell me what to do? Don’t tell me what I can and cannot do!’ I wasn’t going to stand for that. So, I dated her anyway. Besides, I knew she was the one and I wasn’t going to let her just walk away like that, anyway.”
“You knew when you met that she was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?” I was surprised because I was the same when I met my own husband.
“Yes, I knew she was the one,” he confirmed.
“Did you know?” I asked of Harriette.
“No, I didn’t know. He had to talk me into it,” she said with a chuckle.
“Well, what is the age difference?” I asked in the midst of the dating conversation.
“I’m 72; he’s 70,” Harriette answered.
“I haven’t had my birthday yet this year. She’s about a year and a half older than me,” Frankie explained.
The four of us talked for quite some time. They shared with me that while Harriette worked as an office manager and receptionist for the hospital and later for Doctor Varn, Frankie worked as a contractor. He’s done plumbing, built homes, and helped others build homes. In between all of this, they raised two children together.
We all agreed that couples today do not respect the vows they took at the altar. “To love, honor, and respect each other for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” Young couples today are too worried about things that do not matter.
As I was bringing things to an end, I asked, “Can you two tell me what you think are good ingredients in having a lasting relationship?”
“God,” Harriette answered without hesitation. “God should always be first.”
“You need to put each other first,” Frankie added. “Like we were just saying, ‘for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.’ Well, we’ve been through all that...we’ve had good days, bad days, better days...we’ve been richer, we’ve been poorer, and of course, we’ve had days where sickness and in health is affected.”
Harriette nodded in agreement with Frankie. “You also have to realize that arguments are going to happen, but you should have a mutual respect for each other. I’m not one to argue, so I won’t argue with him, anyway.”
“You know, another thing people don’t realize that it’s important to do things together. For instance, I see couples have ‘girls night,’ and the fellas have ‘a night out with the boys,’ or something.” Frankie paused to shake his head a little. “Harriette and I never did that. We did everything together as a family.”
I agreed. It helps to solidify the bond between husband, wife, and family. “Fifty years,” I thought as I wrapped things up. They are so right! I can only pray that my husband and I are as fortunate as Frankie and Harriette Davis.
We bade our goodbyes amidst the hilarious Chips vs Hardees banter. In Harriette’s defense, I was 16 when Hardees was built in the spot it’s at now. Before then, there was an A-Frame building standing there. Everyone agrees that Chips was the A-Frame building. That being said, Hardees has been in that particular location for thirty-seven years.
These two were a pleasure and an inspiration. Thank you for letting me write about you. Happy Valentine’s Day, and I pray for you to have many more.