Love stories

Published 10:23 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

Billy and Mollie Moore have been through a lot in nearly 50 years of marriage, including separate bouts with cancer.

Billy and Mollie Moore have been through a lot in nearly 50 years of marriage, including separate bouts with cancer.

Moores: Fifty years in sickness and in health

Billy and Mollie Moore have been through quite a lot together in their nearly 50 years of marriage.

Of course, one could say that about any couple that stays together for half a century. There’s no way to do matrimony for that long without buckling in for a true roller-coaster ride of emotions and experiences.

Billy and Mollie Moore as a young couple.

Billy and Mollie Moore as a young couple.

But lately things have been especially challenging for the couple, who have made their home a piece of his family’s old Manning Road farm since 1969.

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“(It’s) ‘til death do us part,” Mollie Moore, 69, said recently. “In sickness and in health.”

On June 13 — “That’s always been our lucky number,” she said — the Moores will celebrate their 50th anniversary. Getting this far, they say, is a result of a strong faith in God, prayer and the help of others.

“I really don’t know how people survive without the help of family and friends and a strong faith in God that will help you when you get down,” Mollie Moore said.

She and her husband know a thing or two about being down.

Through the years, they have kept their marriage strong even as they nursed both their aging mothers, even as they watched their 2-year-old daughter fight Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (she came home from the hospital on her parents’ 13th wedding anniversary), even as Billy Moore suffered a stroke two days after they arrived in Texas a few summers ago to take a six-month posting as campground workers, even as he was treated a few years ago for prostate cancer, and even as she has been treated for breast cancer.

In fact, while Mollie was receiving treatment at Duke Cancer Center during 2013 — with Billy there to support her — she found herself providing support for him when a doctor there told Billy he needed to have a mass removed from behind his ear.

They’re ordinary people who have faced a set of problems that may or may not be ordinary in a 50-year marriage, and yet they demonstrate an extraordinary resilience, an enduring affection for each other and a comfortable and comforting habit of leaning on each other in times of trouble.

“He’s my rock,” Mollie Moore, 69, said, while smiling at her husband. “There are a lot of days I could hardly get up, and he’s right here.”

“I don’t get too far away,” Billy Moore, a 77-year-old retired Suffolk firefighter, added. “And if I was outside doing something, I wouldn’t let it go too long before I came in and checked on her.”

They’re too humble to offer it without being asked, but the Moores do have some advice for those who would like to see their marriages last 50 years:

“You need to know each other really well before you get married,” Mollie said. “And don’t live together (first).”

People, she said, get married too quickly today. They should have longer courtships. Do things together to learn about each other. Spend time with each other’s families to learn more about them. And don’t forget that there will be hard times and sickness along the way.

“Nobody ever thinks about sickness,” Mollie said. “I’m sure … that never crossed our minds either.”

Second chance in life

Marion Grigg and I met 25 years ago via a blind date arranged by mutual friends.

Marion Grigg and Diane Grieder today.

Marion Grigg and Diane Grieder today.

Marion Grigg and Diane Grieder on their wedding day.

Marion Grigg and Diane Grieder on their wedding day.

On our second date, he invited me to his home on Lake Meade in Suffolk to go for a run with him, and afterwards he cooked dinner for me! I knew then that this was the guy I would marry next (both of us had been divorced for more than 10 years).

Our wedding took place about 24 years ago at Sandy Point, our next door neighbor’s home. Even though we were getting a late second start in life, we had a daughter together, who joined my daughter, now making her the big sister, in making a wonderful life together.

We still live at his house, where we had our second date, after renovating it about a year after we got married.

The moral of the story is never pass up taking a second chance in life!

— Diane Grieder

It started with a wink

Ours is a truly great story that started in 1973 with me going next door to see how the final construction touches were coming along on my friend’s house.

Marty and Laura Carter on their wedding day.

Marty and Laura Carter on their wedding day.

Marty and Laura Carter in their college years.

Marty and Laura Carter in their college years.

A good-looking young man was painting — the son of the master builder — and he caught my eye. Marty and I began to date some — my first dating experience — but we dated only a few months, then on to date other people.

Later, in 1975, he came home from college and took me to the Foreign Language Ball. I saved the invitation and a photo my mom took of us that night, but we didn’t date any more after that.

Time marched on. I went to college and to teaching, with two unsuccessful marriages between 1985 and 1995. He went through the apprentice school at Newport News Shipyard and a 32-year marriage. We saw each other at Windsor’s Dairy Queen about 15 years ago and chatted a little but had no other contact until he saw my profile in March 2012.

He sent me a message about a week after I had asked to stop my membership, but since I was already paid up through the next month, I could keep browsing for another month. I hadn’t had much luck with, so I was tickled to get Marty’s message. He was separated and trying and wished me luck in my search.

I wrote him back and said we should get together some time and talk about the past, present and future. He responded back, and I sent him my phone number. He called, we met at Starbucks the next day, and we started dating that week. We were smitten!

We married on Dec. 12, 2012. sent us T-shirts that read: It started with a wink.

— Laura West Carter