Ernestine & Charles, Temple Hills, MD - Married 1953
I met Charles and Ernestine through a family friend, a Pentecostal minister in the Washington, DC area. Both retired, Charles was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, serving tours in Korea and Vietnam, before embarking on a second career with the FCC. Ernestine holds a Doctorate in Religion and has long been involved in missionary activities around the world. They have three sons.
I was married because I felt that life, just like most things, is a succession of different chapters in your life, different events in your life. After going through the infant years, and then the toddler years, and the teenage years, and then the early adult years, there comes a time when a person needs to have companionship and to live their life with a person that they love, and who they can build on, and produce heirs for the next generation. That was the reason, and Im still married because Im still satisfied being in a marriage mode; and after 47 years, I look forward to many, many more years of marriage bliss.
I remember being in a psychology class and the professor asking something about what age- what kind of man would you marry? And I described, and [the professor] thought that it was a rather mature idea. I had in my mind, even though I didnt know it, what I was looking for. And so, when I saw it, I knew.
We met in August of 1949. I was 20 years old at the time, had just been graduated from college in Greensboro, North Carolina. On a Sunday in August of 1949, our ministers wife, Mrs. Mayfield, called up, and says, Charles, theres a young lady here at the church; I would like you to come around, and introduce her to the youth fellowship. That morning, as I recall, it was raining, and I had not decided to go to church; but when Mrs. Mayfield called, I decided that I would go around and meet this young lady. And incidentally, I had just returned to High Point that Friday. And I went around to the parsonage, which happened to be beside the church. I knocked on the door, and the ministers daughter came to the door. And she opened the door, and you know how a door is hinged to the wall, where there is a space of about an inch or inch-and-a-half that you can see through? So I saw Ernestine sitting on the sofa, and before the door closed, Id already made up my mind thats who I was gonna marry.
She didnt even have to open her mouth, or express an opinion?
No, in a matter of about four seconds. Five seconds. The time it takes to open a door, and close it.
What was your end of that?
Well, this particular lady had been a teacher of mine, like in fourth grade? Why she thought about me speaking at her church on this particular Sunday is interesting. But she just drove up. We didnt know she was coming. And she asked my mother if I could come and speak at her church. I did that; I went around to churches speaking, whenever they asked me, to the youth and everything. So my mother said yes. And I remember grabbing my mothers shoes. My sisters dress. (Laughs.) And took off. It was raining that Sunday. And when he came in, his shoes were shining. And so thats what impressed me. I saw those shining shoes in the rain.