Bernard: We met at Vigor High School. I was a senior, and she was a junior.
Dinah: I wouldn’t give him the time of the day.
Bernard: I was taking family living as an elective. Dinah walked in, and I asked the girl next to me who she was. A few days went by and I said, “Come over here and sit by me. I’m not going to bite you.”
Dinah: That didn’t work at first. I found out he was a good baseball player and eventually sat by him. He asked for my phone number, and I told him, “not yet.” He graduated, and I gave him my number. Our first date was to a football game in September. It’s been 38 years and we still celebrate that anniversary.
We dated for four and a half years. We were only 20 when we married. As I was about to walk out the door of my house to get married. My oldest sister came back to my bedroom and said, “Are you really going through with this? You can always come back home. I give you three months.” As I walked out the door, she yelled, “maybe six!”
The secret of our marriage is transparency, prayer, patience, and forgiveness. There’s a lot inside of those words because there was a lot we had to learn together and work through.
Bernard: The secret is also love, commitment, devotion, and laughter. You have to be willing to work at it, forgive, and move on. Each of us has our faults and failures. You have to pray and spend quality time getting to know each other.
Women need affection. Men need affirmation and to have our ego patted every now and then—and to be told we’ve still got it.
Dinah: He has still got it.
We have always supported each other. We lived in a mobile home when we first got married. We are two hard-working people who love each other. We save money and live a very decent life together.
I went to nursing school, and that took money and time, but we did it together. It was the hardest years of our lives.
I’m a school nurse in Mobile. I work with children who have emotional and behavioral problems. I also work with their parents because they need help too. Sometimes I help parents make the changes they need to make to get their children back. Sometimes that is helping them get off drugs. I talk with them about changing their whole environment and saying goodbye to old friends and places. It is giving yourself a chance to do better–to close the negative portals and to watch what you see and hear.
People aren’t involved enough in helping our youth. Drug use is widespread and starts so early. We have to teach our kids how to be strong and confident enough to get out of difficult situations. That’s hard when you want them to be your friend. Kids need adults in their lives encouraging them and showing them a better way.
Working with these kids is my heart. It could have been me; it could have been us. I have to help.