When Bob & Mary's granddaughter April..
emailed me to nominate the two of them, I was determined to get them in my studio. They aren't technically from Lamar County or Texas for that matter... But I decided since it's my project, it's my rules & I emailed her back anyways! This is what April sent to me about her grandparents & their love story..
" Bob & Mary Gilbreth of Goodland, OK, have been married for 59 years this April. They were married just a few weeks after meeting because he had to get back to the Air Force. So my grandparents bet our futures on a couple of good weeks & managed to make it to forever. They’re 79 & 80. She can tell you about the night he pulled up at the tasty freeze & asked her if they were going steady or not like it was yesterday. They are my favorite love story. They are why I believe in meant to be. She was a timid preachers daughter & he was wild. Truly night & day. They’ve been through everything you could possibly imagine. They are the definition of steadfast love."
The picture below was attached in the email as well, aren't they adorable?!
When they arrived at the studio
it was raining & super cold so I suggested to April that they park close to the door so they didn't have to walk very far. I had no idea that Bob was going to pull up onto the curb like he owned the place. I immediately realized I was going to have a very unexcited client on my hands. Everyone made it inside & we all got comfortable. I explained the way things were going to work & made sure everyone was game. When I looked at Bob & asked him how they had talked him into doing this he responded in a deep, raspy, manly voice & said "I didn't have much of a choice."
I couldn't help but smile as I sat down to ask the first question..
How did you two meet?
Mary looked at Bob while Bob looked at Mary, trying to remember the correct answer when April chimed in. "The first time they met was on a double blind date & they were with opposite dates." I giggled & repeated just to confirm, "So you were with another gentleman & you were with another lady & you both decided you liked the other better & switched?" Mary shook her head & said "I don't remember it like that." Then Bob let out a grin and said "I do."
April went on to explain just how it happened & Mary finally admitted that she remembered what they were talking about!
How long have ya'll been married?
"Since '61" Mary told me.. "59 years this April."
Tell me about your wedding day?
"It was on a Saturday. Bob was in the Air Force & had came from McClellan Air Force base. So we went to the church to just do a fast little rehearsal & I told him, If you're gonna back out you had better do it now." Mary smiled & said. I looked over to Bob & said "I take it he didn't back out?" Mary nodded then replied, "He probably wished he had." and laughed a small little laugh.
Ok Bob, this question is for you, what's your favorite thing about her?
"Everything." He said. I shook my head no & told him he had to pick just one thing, while thinking to myself, if he wants to be stubborn then I'll be stubborn too. hehe. He sat there for a second & finally said, "Her thoughtfulness & kindness." Silently doing a happy dance on the inside, I thought, YES.. give me more!!!
What's your favorite thing about him?
"I just love him with all my heart." Mary told me as tears welled in her eyes. I smiled back at her & told her that I knew she did, I could tell. Trying to steer away from tears I laughingly asked what her least favorite thing about him was. She thought for a long while & couldn't seem to come up with an answer so I tried to help a little bit, "How stubborn he is?" "That too." She said. I giggled while eyeing Bob to see if I was going to get any kind of reaction out of him. He clearly was not amused.
Who said I love you first?
Mary grinned & said, "He did." I asked Bob if he remembered it like that & he said, "I guess." long pause.. "But we only went together two weeks before we got married."
Have you ever had pictures made together, just the two of you?
They both nodded & I asked how long it had been. "A long time." Bob told me while looking at his bride. Mary explained how she didn't think they had ever had a studio picture together before though & I assured them that we were about to change that. Then we moved on to the next question.
Who controls the thermostat at home?
Mary raised her hand & laughed while saying, "I just tell him to cover up!!"
What do you see when you look at each other?
"I just see the man I love." Mary said sweetly & turned to her husband. "I just see that ole woman I'm stuck with." he said in his raspy, irritated, but almost joking voice. Laughter filled the room.
What does love mean to you?
I asked as I looked at Mary waiting for an answer. She thought for a moment & said, "Honor, commitment, faithfulness." I shot my eyes toward Bob for his response & all he had to say was "Yup. What she said."
I just wanted to face palm myself.
Only using one word to describe your relationship, what would it be?
"Love" said Mary.... "Great" mumbled Bob.
At this point I just knew I wasn't going to get much out of them & that I was fighting a lost cause. Feeling defeated, I asked the last question.
What advice would you like to leave for the younger generation?
"Don't get in a hurry to quit." She smiled & said to me slowly. I nodded & told her that was a good one. I turned to Bob & said "Alright Bob, you gotta give me something this is the last question." He thought for a long time, I mean a real long time & finally said "Do what I say, not what I do."
We all giggled & Mary explained that, that was his life motto!
I stood up to stop my phone from recording & motioned for them to meet me in front of the back drop. What happened next genuinely blew my mind.
It was like two totally different people walked into the room.
They started talking & smiling more... Mary told me about her ring she got for their anniversary & explained how much she loved her wedding ring. Bob was actually smiling, a real smile. They filled me in on the tasty freeze story & how Bob pulled up one night & saw Mary with another guy sitting outside of the Tasty Freeze & he told her that THEY were going steady now. Mary went on to explain how back then you only dated one person when you were 'going steady' & I couldn't help but smile. April sat back in the corner during most of the interview but made sure to remind them that they both had to tell me the story about the time they got pulled over by the Sheriff & how he couldn't believe Mary would switch seats with Bob after he had just been going 100 miles per hour down the road. After all, she was an innocent preacher's daughter & he was the wild one. After almost 20 minutes of trying to get these two to open up & share their story with me, I finally realized all it took was a little less formal setting. No phone recording, no sitting across from them like they were being interrogated. None of that. Just posing them, telling them how sharp they looked in the outfits they had picked out & assuring them that I would NEVER post a bad picture of them online. lol.
We chatted a little longer & I answered the questions they had for me, then we all said our goodbyes. As they were getting into the truck to drive off I couldn't help but shake my head & smile.. I thought to myself, "they are rotten. absolutely rotten. the both of them." All that work to record their interview & the good stuff didn't come to light until I stopped recording.
Either way they were adorable. You can feel the love in their pictures even if you can't hear it in Bob's responses. 59 years later & I'd say betting on those first two weeks was most definitely worth it.
Stay tuned, there's more to come!