Engagements and Weddings” - Keeping it Simple

Original Airdate: February 14 (2012)

This is Living Stories, featuring voices from the collections of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History. I'm Louis Mazé.

The wedding industry, movies, and TV have created fantasies about lavish proposals and ceremonies that will ensure lasting marriages. But if the love and compatibility are there from the start, simplicity will get the job done.

Gloria Young of Waco started dating F. M. Young, the brother of her best friend, the summer before she went off to college. She reflects on their courtship:

"Used to, I was kind of—I would really like a boy until he liked me, and then I wasn't interested anymore. I'd like somebody else, you know. And I was never sure he liked me. So, I think that was part of the thing, that he was kind of a challenge, you know. (laughs)"

Young explains when marriage came into the picture:

"I'm not sure that he ever officially proposed to me. I think we just kind of, you know, knew we were going to get married. What he asked me was, ‘If I buy you a ring, would you wear it?' (laughs) Actually, when I got that ring, I was a senior in college. I had had my wisdom teeth—I had embedded wisdom teeth, and I had had them taken out. My jaws were all swollen up kind of like a chipmunk. And one of his best friends was getting married to a girl that her parents had a big ranch out of Walnut Springs. And they were having the wedding up there, and he was the best man. And he had come by. He was late. And we got in the car, and we were driving up there. And, of course, I had the chipmunk cheeks and could barely open my mouth to talk or anything. And the romantic way I got my ring was he said, as we're driving about a hundred miles an hour down Highway 6 headed for Walnut Springs, ‘I think there's something over there in the glove compartment you might like.' And so I open up the glove compartment, and there was my engagement ring."

Cathryn Carlile of Waco describes her marriage in December of 1947 to Woodrow Carlile, the brother of a close friend in Edgefield:

"I think we planned a June wedding. And I know I went to work and told my boss that I was going to get married in June. And he said, ‘Well, I don't want you to be off in June.' He said, ‘It'd be better if you took off (laughter) now.' We went ahead and we had our wedding, and I married at home by choice. For some reason, I was—had never been really interested in the big, traditional, formal wedding, although some of the things that I remember most were beautiful weddings that I had observed at Edgefield. I wore a tailored suit. Woody and I decorated our own wedding cake. We were probably thinking about the cost and the money. Richard Philpot, who was pastor at Edgefield for a long, long time, probably one of the—if not the most, the second-most admired preacher down there through our years, performed the ceremony. And we had family."

In 2011, the Youngs celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary, and the Carliles their 64th, proof that simplicity can stick.

Living Stories is heard every Tuesday on 103 point 3 FM Waco, NPR. For program transcripts or more information about the Institute for Oral History, visit baylor.edu/livingstories.

Search our collection of full transcripts available online.