The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 14, 2013

The Stanleys Celebrate 62 Years of Love

Today, Valentine’s Day, Jimmie Stanley, 82, and his wife Carrie, 79, will celebrate their love for each other, a love that has endured for 62 years.

The Daily Southerner

ROCKY MOUNT — The couple met in the Glee Club at Conetoe High School in the days of courting and bobby socks.

“I told her, ‘I want you to be the mother of my children one day,’ and it worked out for us,” Jimmie said. “I picked her out and the Lord made it possible that we could get together.”

“When he told me that, I never knew we’d be where we are now,” Carrie said. They had their first date at the Colonial Theatre in downtown Tarboro. About three years later, the couple married before Jimmie left to serve in the Army during the Korean conflict.

“I didn’t want the guys stealing my girl while I was gone,” Jimmie said, with a chuckle. He spent only 10 days with his new bride before leaving for Europe, on a two-year tour of duty. When he walked back into their Princeville home on May 8, 1953 and saw his wife Carrie, he recalls thinking, “This is a lovely lady.”

Today, the couple shares the home at the same location where they got married – 123 Greenwood Blvd. in Princeville. They recited their wedding vows on the front porch of Carrie’s mother and father’s house on Sept. 2, 1951. In 2002, they rebuilt the home that had been destroyed by the flood of 1999 because the place held so many memories for them.

When Carrie looks at Jimmie, she sees the same thoughtful man she married years ago.

“He was a perfect gentleman,” Carrie said. “He always opened the door for me and he still does it today. If I grasp for the door, he always says, ‘Wait a minute.’”

As they get older, the couple looks out for each other more and more, doing small kindnesses for each other every day.

“I fix breakfast for her every morning,” Jimmie said. Carrie fixes the coffee in the meantime. Carrie manages the household finances, while her husband often cleans the house.

“When she was working as a nurse, I had to rear the children,” Jimmie said. “I can cook, I can wash, I can decorate …”

Carrie worked as a nurse in Edgecombe County, then in Wilson, and later went to school to earn her Registered Nurse (RN) degree. Jimmie worked close to home, for the redevelopment commission for the Town of Tarboro and later for NEED, Inc. The couple raised two children, Morris Lee Stanley, and Felecia Williams, in the old house where they lived for 49 years, just down the road from their current home. In their earliest days of marriage, when they hardly had anything but a bed to sleep on, the couple developed the strong partnership that they share today.

“We just didn’t have nothing but each other,” Jimmie said. “We definitely came up working together, pooling our resources.”

God and service to Him has been the center of the Stanleys’ life.

“The church has kept us together a lot, knowing Christ,” said the Stanleys. Carrie led her husband Jimmie to his relationship with Christ shortly after their marriage. Now, the two are at St. Luke Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) every time the doors are open; Carrie is the oldest church member and Jimmie is the oldest man at the church. For Carrie, marrying Jimmie was an answer to her childhood prayers.

“I used to pray when I would grow up that I would marry someone who wouldn’t be abusive, who would love me and I would love him,” she said. Carrie cannot recall a time when her husband has cursed at her or fought with her.

“If we have any misunderstanding, we would get over it and we talk about it,” she said. “If you love each other, you’re going to get over it.”

The two had the same relationship of open communication with their children, and said neither of them had ever heard their son or daughter curse.

Carrie added that her husband supported her through her time in nursing school and is still her No. 1 supporter today.

“He will always support me. I have always said, ‘As long as I live, I’m going to take care of him.’” As the traditional wedding vows go, “In sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part.”

The Stanleys have advice for young couples planning to get married:

“Make sure you’re compatible. Don’t be unequally yoked. That’s what the Bible says.”

The couple’s love for music brought them together, and it binds them together today, along with their love for God and each other. The two still sing duets from time to time, among them their favorite songs – “The Lord’s Prayer” and “You’re the Center of My Joy.”

The Stanleys will spend Valentine’s Day serving others at the Princeville Senior Center as they do every day, and enjoying the box of chocolates their daughter Felecia sent them for the occasion.

Felecia followed in her mother’s footsteps in the medical field, as an educator for the cardiac unit at WakeMed Health & Hospitals. Morris is in a management position for Merck Pharmaceuticals and has four children.