Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Post - Ode to Walter and Frances

I said I would post an entry

when David's Dad got in the papers... which he did today! A special valentine's article about his parents .. How sweet

Here it is, courtesy of the Abilene Reporter News Online:

Click here to view a larger image.
Reporter-News photo by Victor Cristales

Walter Woods, 87, of Abilene, holds a photo of himself and his late wife, Francis Smith Woods, whom he married twice in 1941, at his home in Abilene, where painted portraits of his family hang on the wall. Woods said he will make his yearly Valentine’s Day visit to his wife’s grave today to deliver flowers to the love of his life.

Two Weddings, One Wife

For romantic widower, Valentine's Day still special

By Charles G. Anderson Sr. / Special to the Reporter News
February 14, 2007

Any man who would marry the same woman twice within five months - with no divorce in between - must be a romantic.

And Valentine's Day must be special to him.

Meet Walter Woods, 87, of Abilene.

Twice in 1941, Woods married the same woman. The first time was on Feb. 10 in Ingram, in Kerr County. The second ceremony took place July 3 in California.

The first marriage was kept a secret because Woods' new bride, Francis Smith Woods, was a schoolteacher in Junction. In those days, women could lose their teaching jobs if they got married.

Woods was a senior at Abilene Christian University, where the two had met as classmates. The couple kept the marriage a secret from everyone, even family. Woods had obtained a marriage license at Taylor County Courthouse and enlisted the aid of a buddy to carry out his scheme.

''I had a friend at the courthouse who hid our record to keep the newspaper from seeing it,'' Woods recalled.

After a wedding night in Kerrville, the new Mrs. Woods returned to Junction to teach. Woods left for San Antonio to join the Army Air Corps but was turned down for health reasons. So, instead of the Air Corps, he headed to California to work in a defense plant.

The couple married for a second time on July 3 in California.

''When the school year ended, my wife persuaded her parents to bring her to California to marry me,'' Woods recalled.

Woods said the couple was afraid to tell their parents of the earlier marriage and kept that news a secret for several months.

While in California, Woods started a lifelong Valentine's Day ritual that lasted until his wife's death in January 2005.

Woods said he always drove to McFarland's store in Los Angeles to buy chocolate-covered nuts for his Valentine present.

''The store's motto was 'Nuts to You,''' he recalled. He also picked up a dozen roses for 35 cents.

Woods misses the love of his life. His ritual of buying chocolates and flowers has been replaced with a new yearly routine.

''I visit her grave each year on Valentine's Day and leave flowers,'' he said. ''I stand a few minutes in silence and think about how blessed I was to have such a wonderful wife.''


Gene Lim said...

aweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...soo very sweet! salute him.... soo romantic one.. :)
God bless ur late MIL's soul.. may she rest in peace :)

dobbs said...

Lovely article Letti! It got my vote (on Blogrounds 14 in the MMR) for most romantic Valentine Day’s post for the week (see comments section)
Happy Valentine's Day!

PrimoDonna said...

Wow! What a sweet story. And what a coincidence. My dad grew up outside of Junction. My husband and I go to family reunions there every year. I bet Mrs. Woods would have known some of my relatives!

tammi said...

Awwww!! That is so sweet,Letti!
I'm a little blurry-eyed.
Happy Valentines to you,David and your families!

gab said...

Isnt love wonderful?

Thao said...

Such a sweet story. Nowadays, you hear about folks divorcing in 5 months, not getting married again!

K. Restoule said...

So your father in-law is a big softy. nice.

jaxon s said...

They must've gone through a lot together... i mean, the 40's were hardly easy years

Anonymous said...

i want a husband like that

SooHK said...

Happy CNY...