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Bill and Sandra

A 50-year love story that almost didn't happen

By Bill Patterson

I first heard Sandra Brooks' name in the house that we live in now.  It was August 1965. Wayne Tate, a classmate of mine at Huntingdon College was boarding at the house because he was working at Tallassee Mills. I had left Huntingdon my sophomore year and had joined the Army National Guard in Montgomery.  When I got back from my duty at Fort Ord, Cal. I was ready to go back to Huntingdon. 

Since I didn’t have a girlfriend, I asked Wayne for names of some good-looking girls at Huntingdon.  Never will I forget he gave me 13 names and Sandra Brooks was one of them.  I took these names and I was ready to go back to school.

It took me several months to get around to Sandra’s name but a friend of mine was real good friends with her so I asked Joe if he would put in a good word for me.  Several days later he said he had built me up the best he could and gave me Sandra’s number. 

I called Sandra that day for a date Friday night.  I had a good conversation with her on the first phone call and asked her for a date on Friday with a special night just for her.  Sandra quickly said she was busy and for me to call her later.

The following week, I called Sandra a second time.  We had a good conversation again and I then asked her for a date.  I told her that she could pick Friday, Saturday or Sunday and that I had a special occasion for her and which night would she like to go out.  Again, “Bill, I’m so sorry but I have something to do each of those nights.  Please give me another call.”

Bill Patterson was not going to give up so easily so my next call would sew up a date.  I knew if I could get her to go out with me once she would definitely go out with me again. 

So I called Sandra a third time.  This time I was going to ask her to go out any day that next week, Monday through Sunday, any of the seven days.  When I called we had nice conversation again, and then I asked, “Sandra, would you go out with me any day next week, that’s Monday through Sunday.  I have a special Sandra Brooks night planned any day you pick.”   She responded, “Bill, I’m so sorry I have something to do every night next week.”  My response to Sandra’s turn down was this, “Sandra, this is the third time I’ve asked you for a date and you have turned me down each time.  As far as I am concerned, this has been like a baseball game; three strikes and you’re out.”  She quickly responded, “I’m glad you’re getting the picture!  Don’t call me anymore!”

When I hung up the phone and heard that click, Sandra Brooks was out of my mind.  She was history.

Two weeks later, as I was driving my 1961 white Chevrolet Corvette over to the Huntingdon cafeteria with my top down, I turned into the parking lot and guess who was coming out of the cafeteria?  Sandra Brooks.

As I said before, she was history!  But as I slowed down to let her and the other girls with her cross in front of the car, she jumped on the hood of the Corvette.  With her on the hood of my car, I went about twenty feet, stopped the car and said, “Get in.”  I’ve never seen a girl run so fast to get into a car as Sandra did that day.

If Sandra Brooks had not been coming out of the cafeteria that day and I wasn’t in my Corvette at the same time, she and I would not have made history.  When Sandra got in my Corvette that day and we went on what I guess was our first date.   Our relationship would never have materialized and fifty years of marriage wouldn’t have taken place if it weren’t for that day.

Our marriage has been based on Christian beliefs.  She was Baptist and I was Methodist and since our marriage began in Tallassee, she decided to become Methodist.  Since 1969, we have been members of First United Methodist Church in Tallassee.  We have raised our three children in this church and all three joined the church as members. 

We were able to send all three of our children to college with none of them having education debt when they left college. 

Sandra and I have seven grandchildren with the possibility of more to come.  We are very proud grandparents.

Again, our marriage is based on Biblical principles and we have grown stronger in our Christian faith the longer we live.  Don’t tell us that prayer doesn’t work because we pray often and together in our private prayer place.  I have thanked God so many times for bringing Sandra to me.

Fifty years is a long time then again not so long.  We have experienced the good and the bad of life but by putting the bad times in the hands of God, as we look back, God always took care of that bad situation.  Always.

Through our marriage, we have experienced a lot of God’s beautiful world.  We lack nine states as to seeing all of the United States.  We have been to Hawaii, Alaska, the Bahamas, Canada, Nova Scotia, Cape Cod, Scotland, Ireland, England, most of the National Parks, but the place we like the most is our home, Tallassee, Alabama.  It is always good to get back home and there is no place like home.  Home is where the heart is.

Thanks for letting Sandra and I share our fifty years of marriage and we would like to hear of others and how they got together.

Sandra and I have just purchased Herren Hill Plantation.  Instead of celebrating our fiftieth anniversary big time, we are in the process of fixing up the house and are planning to have our big celebration on our 51st anniversary at Herren Hill Plantation.  To our relatives and our many friends, look for your invitation! 

*View 50th Wedding Anniversary Announcement in Social section.