LAST Saturday night, my church was having an Appreciation Banquet for Pastor's Anniversary. He's been in the Pulpit for 46 years and our church First Baptist has been around for 146! As we were reflecting, they got to show a slideshow presentation of Pastor with his family, church members, and his Beloved wife.

 They got to the part of the slideshow with him being in uniform serving in the Army during the War. Well, we were all oohhingg and aawwwhing and cooing over Pastor being a Soldier in Uniform and looking good! Yes he was!

Mom and Daddy 1944

All I could think of was my own Parents. How Daddy served in WW2 and Mom was his War Bride. They were so strong, young and ready to take the world on. Both men were going to War to prove his worth, so that when they came back after protecting this Country and fighting for her, the USA. He should be able to be a full-fledged citizen without reservation.

That one photo of my Pastor Rev. Dr. B.T. Bishop brought all those memories of what 1944 was about for them, how the past could bring joy to us in the future.

OFTEN  I go back and think of Mommie and Daddie and how they courted?  How a friend of Daddy's in the Mt. Coney area was dating my Aunt Lily Bee and he would send her letters. They didn't have phones, so Daddy told me they would write to each other in the mail early in the week to flirt and let them know if they could on Saturday or Sunday go walking or such. That's how they communicated. So one day Daddy happened to say to him while he was writing , Daddy said: "She got some sisters"? Young Man said: "Yeah!, she got a bunch of them". Surely she did and only 3 brothers to contend with and a grouchy hardworking Daddy.
Daddy said without meeting or knowing her. I'm gonna marry me one of them Miles girls one day. Later Daddy would say it was "ordained" for them to be together. He had never laid eyes on her, but the Spirit whispered it to his heart. He believed.

So weeks went by and they were at revival at Daddy's church Mt. Coney Missionary Baptist and Daddy saw Mom and Aunt Bunny!  He asked his friend, Who them girls over there? His friend said some of those Miles girls. My Grandma Queen and Rev. Robbins mom was standing in the back of the church overlooking out the back window and saw and heard all that was going on before services started, overheard Daddie, and said: If you talking about them girls over there, "Them my Girls". So that was the 1st time Daddy probably thought that's my Ms. January of 1944!

Daddy finally gets permission to court Mom. After much research I found out why Cousin Bill Cooper was being dragged by Daddy to go see Mom, plus the fact he just plain out loved his UncK and loved to tag wherever Daddy went, barefoot and carrying their shoes, they had to go cutting through fields and woods, creeks, probably taking breaks at the saw mill on the way and many dirt roads, maybe once in a while jumping on the back of someone's wagon. Hoping to come home with that goodnight kiss.
Just all in a morning's walk with all of God's glory.

Mom was over in the next County! You know that was some LOVE to be walking way over yonder for some pretty young thang. Once again she was Ms. January of 1944!

Grandma Queen and Poppa Sam Miles approved of Daddy, plus they liked Ms. Eddie Lee "Hon" Ivery Lewis , Daddy's mother. She was respectable, upstanding. Her father Ike Ivery was my Slave Granddaddy, he had raised her right after her own Mother, Mary Haynes Ivery passed when she was young. Grandma Eddie had raised her own children well in the Christian way. They all agreed it would be wonderful and a blessed event for J.E. to take my Mother Tinnie's hand in holy matrimony.

So up to the Courthouse in Union Springs, Alabama, Bullock County with that being on Tuesday, January 11, 1944  a rainy solemn day for such a fresh start with the one you love. They ran with license in hand, said their vows, of "I do". Officiated and Remarked by Rev. J.D. Grooms who would later marry Mom's brother Sam "Uncle Bobbie" Miles, Jr. to his Daughter Clara Grooms. Now both deceased also.

So it was official Mom was Mrs. Tinnie Lee Miles Lewis, but in Daddy's eyes:  She was his Ms. January 11, 1944! his Wife!

Daddy and Mom's Marriage License 1944

I'd like to tell you soon after, Daddy had to sit down and break Mom's heart for the 1st time. He had to explain to her he had his papers to go and fight with the rest of the boys in the Big War. She was his wife now and she would have to stay with his Mother. Which in the end was a blessing. Daddy told her: "We's married now, you got's to stay with my People till I get back".And that she did!

Occasionally Poppa Sam and Grandma Queen would come by and bring her to her childhood home over in the Antioch area under the watchful eye of my Grandma Eddie's approval. All this had been a Blessing. It taught her how to be strong, think for herself. Be self-reliant. Her mother in law taught her cooking skills, how to wash and clean and make a home and most importantly how to take care of her Son, J.E. She was very close to him. Her two older boys were out and living making their own mark in the world.
Now that he was off to WW2, she had to keep a closer eye on all of her daughters and Mom too. Daddy had taken over the role of caring and watching out for his mother and his 7 sisters after his Daddy left. All the lessons Mom learned where taught under her Mother in Law with the assurance from her own Mother. I'm sure over time it pleased my Father.

"Mom" at (right end), Grandma Eddie L. Ivery Lewis (sitting) L to R: Sarah, Essie and Aunt Sallie Bea. 

So imagine shortly getting married in 1944, Daddy is off to Normandy by way of New York and New Jersey, he lands on the day after Normandy on his DUCK with the 470th Amp Truck Unit, an all Colored unit. He tells me all the sites and sounds of that day, even down to I can smell Normandy. I feel like I'm watching with him. He had other great stories also which will be for another time.
Daddy didn't gamble,drink, smoke, or womanize. He had his stipend of 10 bucks to make it last for a month, and the rest went home to Mother and Mom.

He is gone for 18 months, Imagine not being able to start a family for 18 months? Seeing no family. All you can do is send and receive letters. The first namesake child was born in 1947 of May. 3 years after they got married to start their family! And Oh what a Legacy they have left behind!

Daddy had furlough, so he comes back into town, Mom and them are out and about in town. Daddy calls himself throwing his dufflebag over in the corner and putting himself over a sofa in the front room. So it's time for Mom and her sister in laws and all to come back to the house. Daddy still hidden behind the sofa. Grinning and Skinning, Funny part is?! his Duffle bag is all out in the open! Red Flag!  Mom saw it and was confused! Daddy jumps out from behind the couch. "SURPRISE"......she played it off, later on in the evening she confessed, she had a feeling something was going on and she saw the duffle bag on the other side of the room. She said she went crazy and wild inside. What a joy and hoot. Her Man was home and he made it!
Daddy was so excited. What made him think they was not gonna notice that dusty ol duffle bag! We all still laugh at how him and Mom would tell that story. I can see his big eyes now and Mom's too, looking like "Where you come from?" and are you Really here? 

Mom says she fell in love with him for that "Mustache" you know? All those years of marriage from 1944 to 2008 Mom saw him as that Soldier Boy with the clean mustache. Daddie saw her as his own Ms. January 1944 she was always the finest , was fashion forward and had all the fine attributes of a Southern Lady he dreamed of marrying.
So for many years I think that's how they saw each other, Her Soldier Boy and her as his own Ms. January of 1944!
 He really only had two names for Mom and that was "Hiney" which we rarely heard or THE MRS!. Go tell THE MRS, phone. I'll have to ask THE MRS!......

When Daddy passed we had him decked out from head to toe! Bobbie and Bug my brothers had matching suits and ties like Daddy and we all represented his Buick Red in our layouts. Me and Bettye had special made corsages, and the rest of the family had pinned red carnations. The last thing Bobbie made sure of is no one cut Daddie's mustache. He had to have it trimmed just like Mom liked it! One of our last tributes.

 We all know when he got to Heaven that's the first thing that she wanted to see on him was his Soldier Boy mustache. That's how she saw Daddy all her Life.
I'm sure when he saw her there across the Jordan River waiting.... it was time to see his only, THE MRS! the young lady bride he married back then in Bullock County, Alabama in 1944.
I like to think over the years as they were getting older that's how they saw each other everyday.

FOREVER, Don't we all want to be Soldier Boy and Ms. January 1944 or however you saw the one you love in that first moment?

Dedicated to all those World War 2 Lovebird's.
and my very own:
PFC James E. Lewis and Sis.Tinnie L. Miles Lewis

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