By Ralphine Major
It was likely the most popular decade of our time. Rock-n-roll music, poodle skirts, and bobby socks were images of the fifties. Eisenhower was our nation’s leader, “Don’t Be Cruel” was made popular by a young Elvis, “Tennessee Waltz” topped the charts, and Dean Martin’s “Memories are Made of This” all helped define the era so many like to remember. I missed out on the fun of the fifties. My generation came along during that time; but, by the time I was old enough to remember, the fifties were gone. One couple’s memories of the fifties, however, are intact—and special.
1956 was the year. In late September, Perry McGinnis entered The University of Tennessee’s College of Dentistry. A few days before Perry was to enroll, he and sweetheart Carol Jean Golden drove to Hancock County, Tennessee, instead of going to the Tennessee Valley A&I Fair as others thought. They were married in the First United Methodist Church in Sneedville by Reverend Claude C. Snapp. Perry says, “Carol and I, as teenagers and by choice, immediately thrust ourselves into life’s realities in Memphis, Tennessee, far away from the security of home and families back in Corryton. We literally grew up together and now, after 57 blessed years, there were never second guesses by us about our early decisions. Any doubts that our families may have had disappeared with the passing of time. Carol and I have been a good team and neither could have done without the other.”
Memphis was a long way from their rural roots in Corryton. Back then, it must have seemed even farther. The young couple, both graduates of Gibbs High School, faced joys and challenges of their new life, but always together. I am reminded of the Old Testament scripture in the Book of Ruth: “for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:16, KJV).
This husband and wife team has been featured in earlier Focus columns as we followed them on their journey to dental school and beyond. We last left them on an army base in Texas. Their story will continue in a future column as they move to Missouri.