Wesley & Connie Owens
It’s funny how this couple, Wesley & Connie Owens, came about. I try to keep up with comments on my articles, which Connie had commented on one of my Valentine articles, stating that she and Wesley had been married for 56 years. To which I replied, “Why am I not talking to you then?”
I checked my list, I checked it twice (as if I were Santa), and their names were not on there so, I sent a message and asked to come out and speak to this delightful couple.
I learned a couple of things during this interview. The first being, my husband and I knew Wesley’s brother, Durant, before he had passed away. That was one thing; the other was that they had computers in the 1960s.
“They sure did,” Wesley explained. “I went to Massey Institute for Computers in 1961 and then worked at the paper mill. The memory on those computers is about the same as what they use on cell phones today.”
Holy modems, Batman! I wasn’t even born yet. “Well, how old are you two, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“He’s 76, and I’m 74,” Connie answered. “I’ll be 75 in June.”
“Were you always in computers?” I asked of Wesley.
“No, my father was a contractor and I did a little of that,” Wesley explained, “So I did some work in building. That’s how Durant and I built this house. Then I went off to college for computers and did that for a while and I ended up working ‘safety’ at the power plants before I retired.”
“What about you, Connie?” I asked, turning to face my hostess.
“I worked in retail and sales,” she answered. “I worked at Tomlinson’s on Front Street, the old K-Mart, even at Sears. I remember one time when I was working at Sears and Charlie Hall, Carroll Godwin, Bill Sharpe, and a very young, Bill Walsh had come into the store. I got to meet and talk to them.” Connie laughs as she recalls the memory and added, “I thought I was high society then.”
Three kids, retirement, and all of these years later, they are living happily in the home he and Durant originally built, then sold, and now, they’ve bought it back. Their children are grown, but they have grandchildren to enjoy in this lovely home. Oh yeah, and two cats.
I was sitting there just minding my own business and I saw something move. It scared the bee-Jesus out of me because I don’t see very well off in the distance since I’ve been having eye surgery. I was little curious as to what had moved...it was the cat. He blended in so well with the end table that I never noticed him. That little fella had been there eavesdropping the whole time. The other kitty was hiding and didn’t care what we were talking about.
After checking my heart rate, I asked how they met and Wesley, being the quiet one, listened as Connie shared a cute little anecdote. “I was working at Roses on Front Street. I must have been about 13 or 14 years old then, but he had come into the store and I saw him in the aisles. He was playing football at Winyah High School when we first met so I knew who he was.”
Wesley spoke up and shared that they had dated throughout high school. With a small chuckle he added, “After which, I had asked her to the prom and we went. We dated for a while and then in ‘63, I gave her a ring so she couldn’t date anyone else.”
Connie laughed, but elaborated, “Three months later, we were married.”
Thinking that I had the answer to one of my questions: “Who knew first?” I was sure that Connie would say, “I knew it that day that I saw him in Roses,” but no, that’s not what she said at all.
Instead, they both looked at one another with the same confused look that almost everyone has given and said, “Both.”
“You both knew at the same time?” I prompted.
Wesley gave a little nod and explained, “It was gradual. We both just...kind of knew that we were going to be together and get married.”
Just by being in the room with them, I could sense a mixture of a mutual love, respect, and sense of unity between the two of them. Connie even told me how Wesley doesn’t mind getting in the kitchen and helping her cook.
“He shrimps and builds things, too. Wesley is a Jack of all Trades,” she stated proudly. Personally, I was impressed by the fact that Wesley gets her a dish of ice cream every night. “He’s a keeper!”
While I enjoyed our visit and conversation, I needed to draw my conclusion, so I asked my last question. Every couple enters a relationship with ideas on what makes a marriage work. Over time, we cultivate those ideas and expand or sometimes even change the ingredients according to our perspectives.
“What’s your recipe?” I asked.
I think Connie has been reading my previous article (thank you) because she was ready. “First, you need love; love one another and show each other your love. Second, respect. You should respect each other as a person even though you’re married.”
“Avoid arguments,” Wesley interjected. “Don’t go to bed angry, either.”
I can’t remember who said it first, but they both did agree that one of the important ingredients is to have individual activities. “I love to shop, I love Facebook, and taking pictures of sunrises and sunsets which I post a lot of them on Facebook. It’s a big hobby of mine. Wesley loves to play golf and go shrimping...he keeps the freezer full of seafood.”
Wesley agreed and said, “We do things together, too, but we do enjoy our own activities, as well.”
With my final notes made, my husband and I ended our visit and said goodbye. It was a pleasure for us to have met another great couple. Happy Valentine’s Day Connie and Wesley! May you have many more to come.