Couple relishes sharing life of love

Monday, April 19, 2004

Avanelle McGinnis and her friends waited quietly in the bushes until they saw the bus to Richardsville High School drive by.Then, M.E. Young, 19 at the time, pulled up for Avanelle, 18, in his car.She was excited, and somewhat nervous, that April day in 1936.In just a short while, she and M.E. which stands for Mota Eli, he said would be married in Bowling Green by a magistrate in Motas sisters apartment.I skipped school to get married, Avanelle said Friday from the home she and M.E. share on Hickory Lane. It was because her parents thought we were too young to even be seriously dating, she said.So we had to work fast and get it done, said M.E., whom Avanelle calls Motie.For the wedding, M.E. wore a new brown suit he bought on credit at Pushins Department Store. Avanelle wore her very best outfit, a swagger suit she described this way: The back was longer than the front.M.E. doesnt remember just how the suit was.I was looking at you, he told her.He had long loved Avanelles soft, blonde hair, now gray with her 86 years.I liked her, period, he said.Avanelle thought M.E. was funny and nice.Theyd met at M.E.s cousin Claudies house, and had secretly courted for about three months.Id go pick her up after school and take her to the house, he said. But Id stop and let her off before I got to the house.For a couple of days after the wedding, Avanelle hid the marriage from her parents, the now late Arch and Oka McGinnis. She spent her wedding night at an aunts house. Then, she went home to her parents, who she thought she would tell she was married only after she graduated from high school.Soon, however, someone dashed her plans. They had suspected Avanelle was married. Theyd snooped around and verified it. Then, theyd broken the final straw by alerting Arch McGinnis to all the facts.To say the least, Avanelles dad was mad.Although we lived within six miles of each other, they didnt know me, M.E. said of Avanelles parents. And they didnt want her to marry anyone at that age.Avanelles dad told her to go stay with M.E., who was working on his familys farm back then.She did, in the home of his parents, the now late Charlie and Ollie Young, who ran Youngs Ferry on the Green River. But soon, Avanelles dads head cooled, and he wrote Avanelle and asked her to come home, at least, to finish high school, she said.M.E. went to talk to Arch McGinnis.He went down there and Daddy talked to him, and it got all right, Avanelle said.She went home and finished out high school. There were never any hard feelings.But, the nation was on hard times then.That was right after the Depression, M.E. said.So, in the fall, after Avanelle graduated from high school, she and M.E. headed for New Jersey, where he worked in a TV factory, which later made equipment for World War II, and where she worked at a couple of jobs, including at a place that made switchboards.Life in New Jersey was good to the couple. They had a son, Royce, who now lives here.Then, in 1944, M.E. was drafted.I went to Germany and fought the Germans … , he said.Avanelle came back to Bowling Green then.I had an apartment and Royce was in school, she said.She worked at a place that made tubes for radios, and at a few other spots. Sometimes she wondered if M.E. would live. M.E. battled fear and death each day while with the Armys 3rd Armored Division Medium Tanks .I was only scared one time, he said. And that was from the time I left until I got back.In war, M.E. lost his best friend, Porter Eugene White of Auburn. It was a sad day for him, he said. But soon after he got home from war, he had a new life to celebrate.He got home in February and Bobby was born nine months and two weeks after, Avanelle said. Their second son, Robert, now lives in Springfield, Va.I must have ordered him on the way back, M.E. said.At the time, M.E. was driving a bus for Fuqua Bus Lines here. He held that job for four years, through the birth of their daughter, Linda now Linda Turbeville of Bowling Green.Next, he worked for 15 years with the Fuqua line in Russellville.Then, I drove a gas truck for Hildreth Oil for 13-and-a-half years, he said. … I was 62 when I quit the oil company, and Royce had a pallet business and I went to work for him for 20 years, and retired at 82. But I tell everybody he had to sell (Bowling Green Pallet Co.) to get rid of me.Avanelle retired in 1983, at 62, after 14 years with Castner Knott department store.She says she and M.E. have had a good life one that has included building two homes. But they are most proud of their children. Royce is retired from the pallet business. Robert retired last month from his job as the civilian Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army. Linda is secretary for attorney Frank Smith in Bowling Green.Theyre also proud of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.Were a close family, Avanelle said.They all get together every Thanksgiving, and M.E. and Avanelle look forward to it. Its a time when they can be thankful for their blessings, including the fact that M.E. recovered from injuries he got in a 1991 car crash after which Avanelle was told he might not live.I sat up there with him (at Greenview Regional Hospital), and I stayed every night with him but one, for 21 days, she said. As she watched M.E. slowly recover from injuries including a punctured lung she thought he would never be the same again.But now, hes better than ever, he said.Its a happy thing for the couple who attend Lehman Avenue Church of Christ and often still hold hands as they walk.Last Wednesday they celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary with a breakfast at Cracker Barrel, which is one of their favorite spots. They also celebrated with family Saturday.M.E. thinks their marriage has been successful in part because they get through disagreements respectfully, without putting on the gloves to settle it, he said.Avanelle thinks it has worked because they have listened to and consulted each other, even on small issues, and have overlooked little troubles.If I think hes mad at me, I ignore him, she said, and it dont last long.They have never thought of divorcing.We are just a country couple that loved each other, M.E. said. And above it all, I still love her. Daily News ·813 College St. ·PO Box 90012 ·Bowling Green, KY ·42102 ·270-781-1700 

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