People talk about chemistry, what is it that makes you look at someone and know that this is the one? Is it an innate sense of being a soul mate? Is it an attraction that is pheromone driven? Whatever the combination of ingredients, it happened to Bethesda Terrace residents, Marge and Charles Evans when she was only 9 years old and he was 12.
Charles’ mother taught Sunday school and had invited her 4th grade girl’s class over for lunch. His mother made him come and join the giggly group and that’s when Charles spotted this captivating girl with eyes the color of chocolate. “He smiled at me and my heart melted,” Marge recalls.
Over the years, their friendship blossomed into romance. Marge noticed that Charles kept gravitating toward her when a group of friends would go to Katz’s drug store for Cokes. “He was so shy around me, he would talk to my girl friends and that’s how I found out I was the one he was really interested in.” When Marge was a freshman and Charles a senior at Maplewood High School he wanted to invite her to go roller-skating, but with her being 3 years younger he wasn’t sure she would be allowed. Nervous, he convinced his father to talk to Marge’s mother and ask permission. He was over-the-moon excited that she said YES! It soon became apparent that they were a couple.
In 1949, Charles headed off to Mizzou to study business. He would return to St. Louis every chance he got to be with his love. Then, summer of his freshman year, the Korean conflict erupted. That fall, he enlisted in the Navy. He received orders to San Diego for training and the couple couldn’t fathom the idea of being separated any longer. So the week before Christmas in 1951, they married. Ten days after they exchanged vows, Charles shipped out for duty. Marge, 17, was a high school senior and her husband, 20, was headed to war. For most newlyweds, marriage marks an exciting beginning, but for Marge and Charles their new life together had to be put on hold.
Thirteen long months later they were reunited. The next year, 1954, they welcomed their first born, Gail, a ‘Navy brat’ born in San Diego. Soon followed by a son, John, and another daughter, Laura. Appropriately, on Valentine’s Day, 1962, their fourth child, Doug was born.
Their full lives took the family back and forth from Texas to St. Louis. Since Charles’ retirement in 1993 they have travelled extensively before making their home in South St. Louis County at Bethesda Terrace. When asked what is it that held them together for all of these years, Marge said, “He took care of me after all of my babies. ” Charles thought for a minute and said, “ We learned how to talk and listen to each other. There may not be such thing as a perfect marriage, but we have a strong marriage. If there’s an issue, we trust each other to air it and deal with it.”
Their advice for couples today, “Get a good spiritual foundation. We met through our church and have always found solace there. We took classes that taught us about communication. Talking with each other is the most important thing.” Marge gently touches Charles hand and they look at each other with an understanding that transcends time. Stats: Married 62 years, 4 children, 13 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and 1 great, great grandchild. After all these years they still only have eyes for each other.
Happy Valentine’s Day!