Vows: A New Life for an Old-School Couple

McElwain Baptist, the place Ms. Long and Mr. Scott nonetheless go for Sunday companies, was feeling the complete blush of the newborn increase in these years. The Longs had three daughters in 4 years, with the oldest, Penny, born in 1956. The Scotts had the primary of their three kids, Mike, a 12 months later, in 1957. Both younger households grew up facet by facet in what felt, in these days, like a small Southern city.

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The youngest company taking part in within the pews because the couple and their households take pictures.

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Chris Carmichael for The New York Times

“It was just like a neighborhood, you know, with people getting to know other people their own age through Sunday school and that sort of thing,” stated Ms. Long, a retired schoolteacher and highschool steering counselor. “There were several couples, I’d say six, and we’d all get together on Friday nights at someone’s house and get babysitters for the children.”

On a minimum of just a few events, the youngsters had been allowed to affix. “It was sort of like a supper club, and all the adults would get sitters,” stated Sharon Jones, Mr. Scott’s daughter, who graduated from Auburn in 1982 with a level in animal sciences. “But there was one time I went to the Longs on a Friday night, and they had this huge gerbil habitat. I was always an animal lover, so I remember that.”

Penny Long Marler, Ms. Long’s daughter, recollects the Scotts home within the 1960s as a spot she might reinforce her eldest-child standing. “We used to go over there and play in the street, and I would try to boss everyone around,” she stated.

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The couple exchanging vows as solely their instant household watched.

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Chris Carmichael for The New York Times

Ms. Long remembers becoming a member of a bowling league with Carol Scott round that point. Mr. Scott, who remains to be solely semiretired after switching careers from engineering to residence constructing a long time in the past, remembers taking part in common card video games with Jim Long.

In addition to church and the youngsters, there was at all times Auburn soccer to speak about. Ms. Long has had season tickets for so long as she will bear in mind, contemplating it virtually an obligation. Before her husband was crew captain, her father-in-law, Howell Long, was captain in 1929. Mr. Scott, who performed soccer in highschool however was lower when he tried out at Auburn, didn’t let that rejection bitter his enthusiasm for the Tigers. He too has made his method to the stadium for virtually each residence recreation since his pupil days.

As the Long and Scott kids acquired older, hopes about carrying the faculty legacy took maintain in each households. By the mid-1970s, Ms. Long Marler was the primary of a brand new era to enroll at Auburn. By 1985, all three of the Long women, in addition to the Scott’s three kids — two boys, Mike and Greg, together with Ms. Jones — had graduated from Auburn. (The legacy didn’t finish there. Of Mr. Scott’s eight grandchildren, seven are Auburn graduates. One granddaughter is at present attending the University of Alabama at Huntsville on a volleyball scholarship. And there aren’t any onerous emotions about that. “We all understood,” Mr. Scott stated.)

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The bride and groom held fingers as every fought tears through the conventional Baptist ceremony.

Credit
Chris Carmichael for The New York Times

The Longs and Scotts stayed in contact all through the 1980s and 1990s, as their nests emptied. When Jim Long died out of the blue of a coronary heart situation in 2006, Mr. Scott was the primary individual Ms. Long Marler remembers seeing at her mother and father’ home after she had rushed to Birmingham from her residence in Pensacola, Fla. “Jim came over that morning around 7:30 to see how he could help,” she stated.

When Carol Scott died, in 2013, of pancreatic caner, Ms. Long was simply as sympathetic. But by then she had gotten used to widowhood. She spent her days volunteering at a hospital and had joined a neighborhood social group generally known as the POWs, for “poor old widows.” She felt fulfilled, and never particularly lonely.

Things had been barely completely different for Mr. Scott, who misplaced the love of his life and his card-game companion when Carol died. Friends inspired him to discover a new companion for the Friday-night playing cards session he had repeatedly attended together with her. Eventually, a couple of 12 months after Carol’s demise, he requested his outdated pal Ms. Long.

“I knew all the other people there, and we were friends and we both enjoyed it,” Ms. Long stated. By the top of 2014, she was going repeatedly with him. It was throughout one in every of their weekly video games that they found throughout dialog that every had a love of dancing.

“My first husband could dance, and we enjoyed it but only on occasion,” she stated. “I think it’s great exercise and lots of fun, and sometimes it’s hard to find exercise that’s fun.”

So she and Mr. Scott, a onetime school jitterbugger, discovered a neighborhood swing dance class and enrolled.

By 2015 the silver-haired, fleet-footed couple had been regulars at Monday evening senior swing dancing at a area people middle. Things began getting romantic.

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The couple take a stroll to the marriage reception, which was additionally held at McElwain Baptist Church, the place a crowd of 150 waited. McElwain Baptist is similar church the place every raised their households.

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Chris Carmichael for The New York Times

“We were just having so much fun together, and we had so much in common,” Mr. Scott stated.

“We were just dating. We never expected it to become a serious thing,” Ms. Long stated.

In 2016, Mr. Scott informed his kids of the romance. Ms. Long held off. “With all the good years we’d both had, we didn’t want to do anything that wouldn’t let those good times continue,” she stated. “So I hesitated.” But in June of that 12 months, with a lot of their social circle in Birmingham sensing the love within the air, Ms. Long handled her daughters to a visit down the Danube River with the specific goal of sharing the information.

“We were on a layover in Amsterdam when she said, ‘I have something to tell you,’” Ms. Long Marler stated. “We thought she was going to tell us she had cancer. Instead she said, ‘Well, Jim Scott and I have been dating.’” The three sisters had the identical response, she stated. “We were all like, ‘This is great! We love Jim.’ We were truly happy for her.”

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Auburn University additionally holds part of the couple’s hearts. They each graduated from the college as did all six of their kids and virtually all of their grandchildren.

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Chris Carmichael for The New York Times

In the late summer season of 2016, Ms. Long and Mr. Scott determined to go engagement-ring procuring, however they stored the following huge step of their relationship to themselves. It was six weeks earlier than the diamond was set. Then Mr. Scott waited to search out the proper second to suggest.

“I just tried to find a good time to give it to her, and there never seemed to be an appropriate moment,” he stated. “I was doing an addition on her house then, and I left the ring in a cabinet in the guest bathroom I was working on for a few days. Finally one night I said, I’m not going to wait anymore.”

Ms. Long recollects him asking her to come back to the toilet.

“The ring itself was not a surprise,” she stated. “But where I got it was really a surprise!” When he offered it, with a proposal, that September night in 2016 — neither Ms. Long nor Mr. Scott remembers the precise date — “I had a tear or two as I said yes. I have to admit it’s a big step, and sort of scary, no matter where you are in life.”

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The reception included a piano participant, who gave Ms. Long and Mr. Scott an opportunity to point out their expertise, honed by weekly swing dancing.

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Chris Carmichael for The New York Times

Friends and household quickly realized of the information, and in September 2017, associates gave Ms. Long and Mr. Scott an old-school shock engagement celebration that they referred to as an “Augagement party” earlier than the Tigers performed Mississippi State. When the couple arrived on the recreation for the standard tailgate festivities, a large congratulations banner was pinned to the tent, and conventional 1950s tailgate meals, together with deviled eggs, was handed round. “We were so surprised, we couldn’t believe it,” Mr. Scott stated.

On Jan. 6, earlier than 40 relations, greater than half of them Auburn graduates, Ms. Long and Mr. Scott walked down the aisle of McElwain Baptist, a church wealthy with reminiscences for each. All six of their kids had been married in the identical sanctuary. Funerals for each their first spouses had been held there, too.

Ms. Long wore a floor-length silver robe with a glowing beaded bodice and a single strand of pearls. Mr. Scott wore a black go well with with a white rose boutonniere. The six kids from their first unions, now of their 50s and 60s, stood by their mother and father as Ms. Long’s son-in-law, the minister the Rev. David Zimmerman, a Baptist minister married to her youngest daughter, Becky, officiated. The bride and groom, holding fingers, fought tears all through the standard Baptist ceremony.

Just earlier than they had been wed, Ms. Long Marler learn a blessing she had written.

“Who would expect, late in their lives, that old friends would become close, fall in love, and decide to marry?” she stated. “To love long is unusual these days and to love long and find love again, even more.”

Mr. Scott suspects the percentages are good he’ll discover success in his second marriage. “My daughter told me that people who have had happy marriages are more likely to have happy marriages if they marry again,” he stated. “I believe that’s true.”

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