Grisamore: Lovers’ leap year
BY ED GRISAMORE
It was around Valentine’s Day in 1952 when Dell Gledhill mumbled seven words.
Faye MaGouirk, his steady girl, interpreted them as: “When are we going to get married?”
After all, they had been dating 10 whole months. They saw no reason to wait any longer.
They circled the last Friday of the month and asked the preacher to marry them in a small, private ceremony at Cross Keys Baptist Church.
Neither gave much thought to getting hitched on Leap Day, that winter outcast allowed on the calendar only once every four years.
But they have been having fun with it ever since. It began on Feb. 29, 1956, when they were pushing their 2-year-old daughter, Pam, around in a stroller. They got a kick out of watching the reaction when they told folks it was their “first” anniversary.
Today is also their special day, which means Dell has two options. He can buy Faye a diamond, the traditional gift a husband gives his wife on their 60th anniversary. Or he can shop for some crystal, the traditional gift for a couple’s 15th anniversary.
Or he can just take her out for dinner at the Ole Times Country Buffet, like he did last Sunday.
Dell and Faye usually celebrate their anniversary on Feb. 28. And they never make much of a fuss about all those marital mile markers, even though the signs of the times are troubling. Only slightly more than half of all married couples will reach their 15th anniversary, much less their 60th.
The Gledhills still love each other dearly, even after all these ... leap years.
They live in a house on Columbus Road. Dell built most of it by himself in 1960 on the property where he grew up. That was back before the Macon State College campus was located across what was then a dirt road. He could stand on his porch and not have his ears filled with the sound of thousands of cars whizzing down Interstate 475 on their way to Disney World.
Faye was born in Fairfax, Ala., and moved here in 1942. Her father got a job as an airplane mechanic at Robins Air Force Base, then known as Wellston Air Depot.
Dell graduated from Lanier High School in 1944, joined the Army Air Force and returned home. He met Faye in the spring of 1951. She was working behind the candy counter at the old Sears department store downtown at the corner of Riverside Drive and Third Street.
“When I saw her the first time, I didn’t even notice the candy,” Dell said, laughing. He later told his cousin, who was visiting from Ohio, the next time he came up for a visit he was going to have that pretty girl hanging on his arm.
“He was sure of himself,” said Faye. “I didn’t pay him too much attention because I was engaged.”
He asked her to a dance being held in the parking lot at Sears after work. She was having mixed feelings about this particular “date with Dell.”
She told him she couldn’t dance. He didn’t believe a 20-year-old woman couldn’t dance. But it was true. Her parents were strict Baptists and wouldn’t allow her to dance or play cards.
Her fiance was in the military and stationed halfway across the country. His name might as well have been John, because he soon received a “Dear John” letter.
Dell operated a dairy in Macon and later had a Harley-Davidson motorcycle shop in Dublin. He returned to Macon and worked for the family’s real estate business.
The Gledhills have three daughters. Pam was born a brunette, Beth a blonde and Judy a redhead. Their friends used to tease Dell and Faye about Judy’s red hair because their milkman also had red hair.
The Gledhills have enjoyed traveling and boating. Dell also got his pilot’s license. They have made it work, for better for worse.
Their unique anniversary has been a lovers’ leap year.