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Everlasting Love: A Valentine Story

Posted: February 10, 2012 3:24 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2012 5:00 a.m.

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As Valentine’s Day approaches, “love” becomes the topic of conversation for many. The stores are filled with heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and the candy says “Be Mine.” Long-lasting love can be recognized and celebrated anytime, and there are many in our community who exemplify the real meaning of love and commitment.
Two couples agreed to share their insight about maintaining a long and happy marriage.

Editor’s note: Viva Ammons passed away after a battle with MS Feb. 5, before this story went to press. Her husband, Gordon, wishes for the story to still be published in her memory.

Gordon and Viva Ammons

Gordon Ammons and his wife, Viva, would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in April. He was in the Navy when they met in 1952.

The first time he saw her, he said she was “the prettiest little thing” he had ever seen, and knew right away that she was the one for him.

Viva laughed when she remembered that time.

“He wore me down” asking to get married, she said.

They did marry just two weeks later, and Gordon said that within a very short time, Viva was “spoiled rotten” and “her mom wouldn’t take her back.” They both grinned at each other while recalling the precious memory.

The Ammonses enjoy reminiscing about their travels together while he worked as a long-distance truck driver.

“If you share something, that’s the joy of it” Gordon said. He described that time for them as feeling like “two kids out playing.”

Gordon acknowledges that they did have disagreements from time to time. He said he always got the last words when that happened -- which were “yes, ma’am!”

When Viva got really angry once, she packed a bag and told Gordon she was leaving. Then she saw him packing a bag also, and asked him where he was going. He replied, “I’m going with you!”

He describes himself as a “little bit of a joker,” and enjoys telling stories and laughing.

Those are two ways to keep a marriage strong, he said. “You need to spend time together to create stories, and laughing together will get you through some tough times.”

His devotion to his bride was unwavering, his words of advice were spoken from his heart, and have served him well for a long time.

Garland “Tootsie” and Faye Collins

Another couple that shares a very special bond is Garland “Tootsie” and Faye Collins.

In February, they will celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary. After serving in the Navy in Europe, Tootsie returned home to South Carolina.

He smiles broadly when he recalls meeting a particular 14-year-old girl at a square dance.

He said he knew right then that fate had put her in his path. He had been seeing another girl at the time, but when he met Faye it stopped him from making a “terrible mistake.”

They married when Faye was 15 years old, and he was 21.

“Every day since then has been filled with happiness and love,” said Tootsie.

He adds that the secret of their success is the partnership they share, because they always work and play together and support each other’s efforts.

He proudly talks about Faye’s work in the church, and especially about the time that she drove four teenagers from their church across the country to attend a conference. He points out that when someone needed help in any way, Faye would be the first to offer assistance. Their pride in each other brightens any room.

Tootsie has been caring for his wife for four years since he and the family began to notice that Faye was becoming more forgetful. He chose to retire from his life’s work and has lovingly cared for her since then.

Tootsie proclaims that he has survived some very serious illnesses because he was meant to stay on this earth to care for her. When he looks at her, his face lights up with a beautiful smile and his love and devotion are evident. When she looks back at him, her smile is radiant and she exclaims, “it’s the real thing!”

Every time he enters a room where Faye is waiting, he says, “There’s my baby,” and she replies, “he called me baby!”
Tootsie said he would not trade this time with Faye for anything, and he cherishes every hour of each day that he is able to care for her. That is a level of love that is not often seen anymore.

The love and devotion between these two couples is unquestioned. The commitment they made by repeating their vows during the wedding ceremony clearly meant forever for them. They both say that they have never considered life without each other. Surely, this Valentine’s Day story is one that needs to be celebrated.

Perhaps it is a story that teaches us all a little bit about what long-lasting love really looks like.


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