64 years ago today**

 

Mama & Daddy...December 9, 1978

Betty & Buster…December 9, 1978

…the good-looking, silver-haired couple in the photograph above went to the preacher’s house at 8am and got hitched. Then, after making sure she would be excused from school that day, drove to Nashville for their weekend honeymoon. He was 19, she was 16, and they are my parents.

As the story goes, Daddy saw Mama crossing the street uptown, some 8 months earlier, turned to his friend and said…“You see her? I’m gonna marry that girl.” Standing at about 5’5″, sporting body measurements rumored to have been 36-24-36, along with blue eyes and blonde hair, she was the new girl in town. Although he hadn’t met her yet, it didn’t take long. He actually asked her out on the spot, for later that night, and she accepted. The only catch was, she was to be his buddy’s companion…on a double date, and he didn’t tell her that until after she agreed. Yes, you read that right. He tricked her! Turns out, Daddy already had a date lined up for the evening, but didn’t want Mama out of his sight, so he set her up, and I’m sure threatened the poor schmuck who was to be her date if he so much as THOUGHT about putting the moves on her). Buster Romine was a smoothe operator, yes he was! Anyway, after that night, he marked his territory by peeing in her front yard or something (not really, but it sounds like something he might do, right?) and diligently courted her. Picked her up and drove her to school in the mornings and back home in the afternoons, in addition to spending the between hours with her as well. Being in a small Southern town back in 1949, my Papa thought folks might start to talk, tarnishing Mama’s reputation, so he told Daddy they better go on and get married. So they did.

And the rest is history.

Romine History. 

You see, they went on to build a life together and stage a marvelous, somewhat locally famous–or infamous, depending on whom you ask–giant family circus. Not Duggar-sized huge, mind you, but one shy of Jon & Kate Plus 8. You can even read about some of the family shenanigans here, on my sister’s blog. Daddy was a plumber-electrician with a genius level IQ who complimented Mama’s homemaker/gifted seamstress roles very well. Out of that early morning matrimonial union, sprung….3 sons and 4 daughters. All the sons have good cooking and sewing skills, while the girls know how to fix a toilet and wire an outlet; the products of practical, common-sense raising. As a band of siblings, we would kick some serious ass on “Survivor: Brothers and Sisters”…lol. Among us, a Navy Seal who served our country in Vietnam, a well-known calligrapher/artist (who also has a nursing degree), another registered nurse, a kick-ass event planner & caterer, a retired prison guard (and damned good plumber-electrician), an EMS dispatcher/ writer/ blogger/ baker/ forensic photographer  (what can I say? she wears a lot of hats) and me–lucky number 7. You can dig through the archives to find out what I do, besides write. Go on, it’ll be fun!

To date, they have…

22 grandchildren

25 great-grandchildren already…..with 4 more on the way 🙂

The love they shared was deep and lasting. Passionate and messy….flawed yet flawless…wildly playful but seriously tamed…focused and distracted…whole yet fractured. In other words…real.

By example, my daddy set the bar high for all the men who showed serious intent while crossing paths with his daughters. He worshipped my mama, and no doubt would have sipped her bath water as if it were the finest champagne of the rarest vintage. And likewise, Mama sent her boys into the world as Southern gentlemen, raised to appreciate, admire, provide for and protect their wives. I’d say we are a damn lucky brood, we Romines, wouldn’t you?

Buster and Betty’s legacy is far-reaching, and sure to continue thriving well-beyond my destined time on Mother Earth. I hold such fond memories of Daddy singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to Mama as they danced around the kitchen, or on the back porch on a summer evening. Oh, what a glorious voice he had! Mama’s eyes lit up like Roman candles whenever she heard it. Fitting, as the eyes are the windows to the soul, and he certainly spoke to hers. True soul mates. They embodied the meaning of love and respect for each other, stuck to their vows and REALLY took to heart the phrase:

for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…

until death do us part

They died just as in love, as they lived. Daddy first on February 20th, 1994, followed by Mama on September 6, 1995. On this Valentine’s Day, I wish to dedicate this post to their memory as shining examples of true sweethearts. I love and miss them every single day!

**Okay…to be fair, it was actually 64 years ago on Monday, February 4th. But due to the fact that it’s about the sweet love affair between my parents, I wanted to feature it on Valentine’s Day. So… I waited 10 days to publish it instead of doing it on their anniversary. I know, I suck… lol.  It’s the thought that counts though, right?  

 

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Comments

  1. What a beautiful love affair, and legacy they left. I am sure they would be so proud of you.

  2. Christie Cook says:

    Lovely.

  3. So sweet….. I miss them both every day of my life. Thank you for such a sweet sweet synopsis of their life together. I love you…..sis

  4. Marc Collins says:

    I have great memories of your mom and dad… Great people !!!

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