Couple celebrates their 60-year fairy tale
Doris Doster’s father didn’t believe his 16-year-old daughter that Friday in April 1952 when she said she was getting married, so he went fishing as planned.
She had just met her boyfriend a few months earlier, at her Sweet 16 party, and young girls tend to believe in fairy tales anyway.
But when he returned Sunday, 19-year-old Bobby Bradshaw was in the house, ready to spend the night.
The scene did not set too well with papa.
“I told him I was going to get married, and when he came back my husband was in the front room. I came back from my honeymoon (at Chimney Rock) – we stayed one night and came back – and my daddy was very disappointed (that he missed the ceremony),” Doris Bradshaw said. “He believed everything I said from then on.”
Doris quit school at West Mecklenburg High in 11th grade to get married. Bobby also had dropped out of school, and found work as a brick mason. They were married at Thomasboro Baptist Church in Charlotte.
For those who doubted happily-ever-after, that was 60 years, four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild ago.
“There’s a lot of my friends who didn’t make it. You have to work hard at it, and you have to be happy,” Doris Bradshaw said. “You have your ups and downs, but that comes with the territory.”
Their kids threw a 60th-anniversary party for them April 29 at Hill’s Chapel United Methodist in Stanley.
As newlyweds, the Bradshaws found adulthood fast. Bobby brought in most of the money, and it wasn’t long before babies arrived. Ricky was born in 1953, David in 1957, Johnny in 1961 and Mark in 1974. In 1959, they found a little three-bedroom, one-bath house in west Charlotte and filled it with memories.
“Our most wonderful times were in that little house. We moved in and then one of our boys was born; we already had two. Then the last one came along,” Doris Bradshaw, 76, said. “Our oldest said he has more memories of that house than anything. It wasn’t big, but we had a good time. Everybody was friendly with everyone.”
The couple moved to Denver about 22 years ago. Their children and grandkids all live nearby, or within a short commute. “They’re all around me, and that’s good,” Doris said. Bobby will turn 80 this year, on Dec. 12. Doris’ hobby is baking sweets, so 12-12-2012 should be quite a day.
Doris will tell you that, while times change, the sanctity of marriage does not.
“People think, ‘Oh, I can get out of it.’ So many people are just living together. To each his own, but I don’t think it’s right,” she said.
Her advice for till-death-do-us-part is simple: “If you don’t love somebody enough to make a commitment, then you don’t love somebody.”
She knows about love. Doris and Bobby have lived their fairy tale.