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Francine and I were married almost 53 years when she died. Soon after I meet Francine, I went on active duty in the Air Force to go the electronic school at Kessler Field in Biloxi, MS. She was more in love with me that I was with her. I determined this years later rereading the letters she sent me while I was at Kessler. I am sure she loved me whole heartily from the start.

I was supposed to get travel pay and a paycheck when I got to Kessler. The records got lost and it was almost two months before I got the money. I smoked cigarettes then and Francine was the only person I knew who had a job. I wrote and told her of my trouble and so every week she would send me $2.00. I would hitchhike back to Macon almost every weekend to see her but was not sure if I really loved her. I was 18 years old and she was 16.

At last I got my back pay and my current pay and had quite a tidy sum. I started playing poker in a game I had previously only been able to watch. For a week or so I was very lucky amassing more money than I had ever had in my life and more that I was to have again for over twenty years.

After a particularly lucky night I went downtown and purchased a set of rings. I took them with me to Macon the next time I hitched hiked home, but didnít give them to Francine.

Soon after that my father had to go into the Veterans Hospital and I had to drop out of the school and retuned home to support the family. For some reason, still unknown to me, my mother tried o discourage me from seeing Francine. I think this is what made my mind up and I gave Francine the rings and ask her to marry me. She agreed and we were set to get married. I would always tell this story and say the only reason I married her was gratitude for her sending me cigarette money.

We went alone to the courthouse and was married by a Justice of the Peace. We had rented a small upstairs apartment on Forsyth Street. I had to leave a wallpaper job to go get married so after We were married I took her back to the apartment and went back to finish my job. This was to set the tone for years to come. Work always came first. She had spend the time going grocery shopping and cooked me our first meal. I found out she was not a great cook. It seems strange now as she become a fantastic cook later. But I ate it and continued to do so. I never complained about her cooking and always ate whatever she cooked.



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