Feb. 13, 2019

Jeep & Weeizie Ford

Holy guacamole! I just met the most amazing couple of all. These two take the cake, the pie, and the whole doughnut shop. They’ve been married for 72 years, 73 as of 2019! I know people who feel fortunate enough to live that long, much less be married this long.

Jeep Ford is 94 years old and his blushing bride, Weezie, is 91. They have a lot of stories to tell. As Jeep astutely put it, “I’m a walking history book.” He wasn’t kidding either.

As I sat down and opened my notebook, Jeep said, “What do you want to know? I’ve loved her since she had long curls in her hair and riding her tricycle.”

“Her tricycle?” I stammered.

With a laugh, he said, “Yes, we’ve known each other most our lives. I was born and grew up on Screven Street and she moved here when she was about two years old.”

“No, I’ve lived here all my life. I was born over on Broad Street,” Weezie corrected with a laugh.

“Well, I know that,” Jeep stated, “I just meant you moved to Screven Street when you were about two years old.”

Still in awe of his original comment, I asked, “How old were you when she was riding her tricycle?”

“I was about 8 years old, she was about 6. I thought she was the prettiest thing and I’ve loved her ever since.”

“Tell her about the birthday party,” Weezie encouraged laughing jovially. Obviously, Jeep is the storyteller of the two. “Go on, tell her about that.”

“What happened at the birthday party?” I asked as I feverishly wrote notes. “Did he try to hold your hand?”

“No, that was the hay-ride when we held hands for the first time,” Jeep started. “Well, with the birthday party story, I was old enough to drive; I was fourteen...”

In anticipation, Weezie picked up the thread, “...My girlfriend and I were talking about who Jeep would be interested in more; her or me.”

“It was her,” he confirmed. “We dated on and off through high school, and we kept going together even after I went off to the war and she went off to college. I would go visit her and we’d go to dances and dates and different activities.”

Weezie nodded, agreeing. “Most of it was church activities, too. It was during World War II and I was in Winston-Salem while Jeep was in the service. I was a music major.”

“World War II?” I thought that was amazing in itself.

“Yes, World War, II,” Jeep confirmed. “I got drafted in when I was 18 years old and sent to the Pacific for about 23 months and then I came back and was sent to Washington DC for 13 more months. I was happy about that because then I was closer to her while she was in college.”

They talked a little back and forth about how they dated secretively, how Jeep was frustrated that he never got to further his education with his G.I. Bill, their three children, grandchildren, then back to eloping, and Jeep working at the hardware and grocery store on Front Street, then working fifty years at Parrish Motors.

Wait...eloping? Park the Model-T!

“You two eloped?”

Both were laughing now, “Yes, we sure did,” Weezie answered. “The funny thing is one of my girlfriends needed a ride so I asked Jeep if he would mind giving her a ride. It was after we’d gone and eloped and he said it was okay so we gave her a ride and never said a word to her about what we’d just done. When she found out she said, ‘oh my! I was with you on your honeymoon’.”

Jeep talked about working on President Teddy Roosevelt’s yacht while he was stationed in Washington, DC. “The smoke stack had an elevator in it, but you’d never know it. It was so Roosevelt could ride his wheelchair up to the upper deck. After Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman took over the yacht.”

“You worked for Truman?” I asked.

“Yes, I did,” he confirmed. “I was one of four men to work on that boat. I liked Harry. I could talk to him just like I am talking to you and he was a man of decisions, too. I liked that a lot about him.”

I knew Jeep wanted to get his nap and I was holding him up. At 94 years old, he was entitled to it so; I finished up with my final question: “What is your recipe for a successful marriage?”

Weezie answered first – “God is first, always, but outside of that, I’d say communication is a big factor. You should talk to each other about everything; you need to have a mutual respect for one another; and, generosity. I think that’s important, too. If you can’t be giving to other people, you can’t be a giving person to each other so; you should be kind and giving to all. The last thing is you should always be loving and affectionate to one another. Every morning, Jeep gives me a kiss good morning.”

“That’s because she’s still so beautiful,” he said of the curly haired girl who stole his heart while riding her tricycle.

“Now you tell her what you think a good marriage needs,” Weezie instructed. “Those were my thoughts, you tell her yours.”

“God is first. Your faith is the most important,” Jeep began. “Like Weezie said, ‘communication is important, too’. Compliment each other and hold hands and such”

“Responsibility, too,” Weezie added. “You have to be responsible in your life.”

With passion, Jeep included, “And live by your vows! Love one another for better or worse, richer or poorer, and sickness and in health, until death do you part!

“I know that if it wasn’t for Weezie being as strong a woman as she is, I wouldn’t be here today. We both feel very blessed to have lived this long and been together as long as we have. We’re very blessed.”

I closed my notebook and with a sense of reverence at this amazing couple, I said my goodbyes. Before closing, though, I have to say that when I first posted on Facebook about writing these articles for Valentine’s Day, these two became a big focal point. Now, I see why. They are a hoot! I loved meeting them and I will always cherish what they gave me.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jeep and Weezie. I hope you have many more good-morning kisses to share with each other.