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Love lessons: A Valentine's Day story

By Staff
LASTING LOVE J.W. and Julia Reynolds sit at their home in Whynot and look through an old picture album with photos of their 50th wedding anniversary celebration from 15 years ago. The couple has been married for 65 years. Photo by Fredie Carmichael / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Feb. 14, 2002
Shortly before Christmas in 1936, J.W. Reynolds and his longtime girlfriend said their wedding vows on the front porch at the home of Vimville Justice of the Peace Ed Allen.
Today, more than 65 years later, J.W. and Julia Reynolds are still together and live in a three-bedroom home on a farm in the Whynot community.
Asked for his secret to being married so long, J.W., 87, took a minute and boasted, "One thing is I always did what she told me to do, she was strictly a boss."
His wife and other family members laughed.
The couple spoke at their house Wednesday, sharing the story about their longtime romance. They plan to spend Valentine's together at home just like they've done for years.
After the Reynolds were married, they quickly headed back to J.W.'s parents home in Whynot where they stayed for a few months before finding a place of their own.
J.W. said having strong family ties has been a big key to their long marriage.
The Meridian Star asked two ladies who have been married for more than 50 years to share their memories of their husbands' proposals.
Lancaster and Eunice Greer celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last December. The Greer's were married on Dec. 26, 1951.
Eunice recalls how her husband asked her to marry him: "Lancaster proposed to me while we were at my parents' house. He was a real religious person and that was reflective of his proposal. We were sitting on the couch and he told me that he had prayed for God to send him a wife and that he believed I was the one God sent for him. That was how it happened. We had been dating for a couple of years but had known each other our whole lives. Because we didn't have a big ceremony back then, this past year on our 50th anniversary we had a wedding ceremony at Unity Springs Baptist Church of DeKalb and we renewed our vows. It was in the same church where we first met more than 60 years ago."
Gene and Wilhelmine Damon have been married for 51 years. They were married on July 22, 1950. The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary with a trip to New Orleans a gift from their three children.
Wilhelmine recalls her husband's proposal: "It was on Feb. 6, 1950. He just surprised me with the ring at my house on 24th Avenue. That particular night my parents were actually celebrating their anniversary. I wasn't really that surprised because we had talked about getting married for a while. We both graduated from Meridian High School together and dated off and on even though we went off to separate colleges. After he proposed and I said yes, we went and told our parents. They were all happy for us and our
Legends abound about how this day celebrating love began. According to one legend, it started with St. Valentine of Rome, a Roman Catholic saint who died in the year 269. St. Valentine was arrested by Emperor Claudius II for helping Christian martyrs. He was beaten to death after being jailed. Some say he actually sent the first "Valentine" greeting himself.
While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl who may have been his jailer's daughter who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today.