Great State: 73 Years in Love
OKLAHOMA COUNTY – Winter in life, Spring in love.
“Just 73 years with the same girl,” gushes Bernard Drumright embracing his wife. “Isn’t it awful?”
Bernard and Pauline cling to each other tighter than ever these days, holding especially hard to the long ago story of how they first met.
Bernard begins, “In Maud, Oklahoma in 1938, she passed by while I was shining boots for a guy, and I seen her coal, black hair. It was so beautiful.”
Bernard followed Pauline that day to a small dance hall where he cut in on another potential suitor.
“I said, ‘This is my dance’”, he continues, “and he doubled up his fist. I was scared he was going to sock me right in the nose but he turned her loose and I turned around. She looked at me like I’ve never seen anybody look at me at that moment.”
“He was a handsome young man,” says Pauline.
A matter of weeks later he asked Pauline’s father for her daughter’s hand.
The father wasn’t sure but Bernard was.
“I stood up and put my hands in my britches. I said, ‘sir, she’ll never go hungry.’”
They fudged a little about their age and married.
The Drumrights raised five kids and had a life, some of which is still scattered over their property in rural Oklahoma County.
When they moved out here they were the only ones for miles.
The family lived in a retired Oklahoma City street car for two years.
“And she’s never went hungry all these years,” says Bernard about his promise.
Bernard drove trucks to support the family. Pauline kept the books.
“I love him dearly,” says Pauline.
Every time he came home from someplace new he brought back a plate.
His travel cover the walls of their mobile home.
“What do you do these days,” asks a visitor? “Nothing,” replies Bernard. “We’re retired.”
They never had much but each other.
The Drumrights are far flung now. The old home place sags a little with age.
Pauline and Bernard are both 90, but after 73 years they hold each other up.
A love that started with a chance meeting survived a lifetime.
The Drumrights did it right.
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