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From innocence to 54 years of marriage

For The Madera Tribune

Louise and Jim Scott are celebrating 54 years of marriage today.


Today my cousins the former Edith Louise Banks and her husband James Scott have been married for 54 years. Through good times and bad, triumphs and tragedies they have stayed in love and continued to be married.

My mother, QuoVada, and her mother, Clara Banks, were sisters. When Jim and Louise were dating her parents weren’t overly fond of Mr. Scott. Their daughter was too young to have a steady boyfriend; all the usual reasons parents don’t like the young man on the motorcycle. Rather than squabble with her folks, Louise spent a lot of time at our house.

Just enough older than my brothers and I she and her late sister Oletha were called on to babysit the three of us. The tag-team of Louise and Oletha took good care of us. Oletha took no nonsense from my brothers and Louise treated me like a princess. Oletha would play ball, run races and rough-house with the best of them. Having Oletha and Louise in the house made it seem almost like I had big sisters.

Louise would spend hours combing my long curly hair into fancy styles including the big bouffant and French twists so popular in the early 1960s. To this day the smell of Aqua Net hairspray transports me back to my childhood and playing beauty shop with Louise.

When she got her driver’s license Louise loved to drive. When she and her sister were out with their friends she played the designated sober driver long before the term was created. The girls were like two peas in a pod. Even when Louise was cranky Oletha adored her baby sister.

They didn’t drink the beer so popular with their friends, Louise wanted to drive and Oletha protected her sister.

When Louise was still in high school she and I would take my dad’s car and run errands for my mother. Trips to the grocery store and other chores would take up most of a Saturday. The first stop we made was to pick up Jim. I of course, was sworn to secrecy. They had to impress on me how much trouble they would be in if either my parents or hers knew about these clandestine encounters. It was fairly reckless to put their trust into a little blabbermouth like me. But I thought it was so romantic for the real life Romeo and Juliet and kept their secret.

But neither had access to an apartment or house where they could meet. Talk about innocent, how much mischief can a teenage boy and girl get into with an inquisitive, rambunctious six-year-old in tow. We would go for ice cream at the Show Lane and run my mother’s errands. After they were married I asked if it was okay to talk about our little road trips. They said it was fine but that they still didn’t want me to talk about the times Jim drove Daddy’s car.

My parents divorced when I was a 14-year-old, high school freshman. Having longtime marriages in the family like Jim and Louise, Pete and Nada Kirk, and Curtis and Clara Banks, served as an example of how to stay married. Congratulations Jim and Louise on 54 years of marriage. Here’s to 54 more!

Summer is the time for many wedding. Be it a lavish ceremony with friends and family in attendance or a quickie Nevada ceremony at drive-through chapel, the next day both couples are just as married.

That is when the real fun of marriage begins. On my snarkiest day I like to say marriage is like a 12-step-program, you do it one day at a time.

I’m not sure anyone really knows what they are getting into when they take their vows. After four years of living in sin, I know I thought I knew what being married meant, I didn’t.

Marriage has a secret language that begins while the couple is courting. The longer they are together the more verbs there are to conjugate and the more nouns there are to decline. For the rest of your life there is someone else who has dibs on your time and your money. That someone should be consulted on major purchase, where you live and even how you dress. As the years progress the unwritten rules of your marriage meld into the protocol of how you live your life.

Have a great weekend!


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