Fulton & Erma, Deer Isle, ME — Married 1937

Fulton and Erma Weed live in Deer Isle, ME, in the house Fulton’s grandfather built, the same house in which they were married and their children were born.  Fulton has held innumerable jobs in his lifetime, including manager of a lumber business, a lobster company, and a hardware store; salesman; bookkeeper; accountant; Army purchasing agent; sardine inspector; even a Fuller Brush salesman.  Erma, who had been her class valedictorian, was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease at the time of our interview.  She has held several jobs as well, from waitress and housekeeper to town clerk and secretary.  We sat at the kitchen table, where Fulton clung to Erma’s hand throughout our interview; he often got choked up when reminiscing about certain events in their life together.

Lifelong residents of Maine, Fulton and Erma have four children.



Fulton:
The first time we met.  It was when she was a junior in high school.  In those years, they used to have a junior speaking contest every year.  You had to write your own speech, whatever you had to say, and of course she won it.  But I was sitting in the audience with another boyfriend of mine, and when it was all through I said to him, “I’m going home with her tonight.”  (Erma laughs.)  That was the first time we met.  And I did walk home with her that night.  I just walked up to her and said, “Erma, may I walk home with you tonight?”  She said, “sure.”  That’s all there was to it.



Fulton:
Her mother took her down to Doctor Brown, who was a new doctor in Stonington at that time.  And when they came back down to the lumber yard, where I was working, her mother said, “she’s pregnant.”  (Erma chuckles.)  So I says, “good.”  We went that same night, we went up and got a license.  And a week later, we were married.  My dad says, when I told him, he says, “well, I kinda thought there was something the trouble.”  At that time my dad was about eighty years of age.



RF:
What is a marriage to you?

Fulton:
When you get married, you take a vow to love, honor and obey.  And the love is the best part of it.  You want to love each other, do what you can to help each other and for each other.

Erma:
I agree with that.

RF:
And you feel like you’ve been able to do that?

Fulton:
Only for 65 years.

When you are married, you take an oath.  And you don’t want to go into marriage until you are ready to take that oath.  That you will stand by the person that you love.  That’s the way my mother and father were, and her mother and father.  They stood by each other no matter what.  Her father, besides the winters lived at home, had two cows and a flock of hens, which was normal in those years.  Anyway.  During the summer months, he went yachting.  And he would be gone from probably at least the last of April, first of May, up until August, last of August.  And then he would come home; they were always just as loving as could be.  (to Erma.)  Right, Mother?

Erma:
Yep.  Right.

RF:
So what's being lost?

Fulton:
Real love.

RF:
Define "real" love."

Fulton:
Real love is...

Erma:
Stable.

Fulton:
Not holding grudges.  For one thing.  To stand by your partner no matter what they do, and caring for them.  No matter what happens.

RF:
Can you have real love the way you defined it, and not be married?

Fulton:
Yes, you could have it and still not be married, but I don't think it would really mean so much.  When you are married, you have that obligation.  To really look after each other.  And to love each other.  If you’re not married—well, as you often see nowadays—people will be living together... and some other person, either a man or a woman, will come into the life of one of the people, and if they’re not married, they feel, “well, heck.  Goodbye, I’m gone.”  There’s no obligation to stay together.


(Referring to Fulton's discharge at the end of World War II.)

Fulton:
We wrote all the time.  When I got my orders finally to go home myself, I wrote up about twenty-five or thirty letters, and had one of the boys there mail one of them every day.  And the one that she should have gotten, somewheres around Christmas time (he chokes up.) would say that I was in California.



Fulton:
Our daughter—I always have to put this in—when she graduated from high school, or about those years, I was working down to Stonington as manager of one of the lobster companies down there.  And she came down there one day, and we had just been turning over some bait that we’d had for quite some time.  Did you ever smell lobster bait when it’s fresh like that?

Erma:
Stinks.

Fulton:
You know how it smells after it’s been settin’ a while.

Erma:
Ugh.

Fulton:
Well, she came into the place there and she says, “I’ll tell you one thing.  I’ll never marry a fisherman.”

Erma:
Guess what?

Fulton:
Two years later, she was married to a fisherman.

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