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Courting love: 'Meant to be' takes on meaning

Pam Horne
Bill and Fay Baggett will celebrate 70 years of marriage on their next anniversary.


There really isn’t just one universal story of courtship and commitment, as these four Williamson County couples attest. Yet, without a doubt, there is within the human spirit one desire that overrides all competing interests and when it takes shape the possibilities are endless.

“We were standing in the lunch line,” Fay Baggett recalls of the moment she first caught a glimpse of Bill.

The two were teenagers living in Montgomery, Alabama in the mid-1940s.

“’See the boy sitting over there at that table by himself,’” Fay’s high school girlfriend whispered inconspicuously, trying to draw her eye toward Bill Baggett” “’Isn’t he good looking.’”

Just one look
“I stared at him and he stared at me.”

As Fay began retelling the moment in the Lanier High School lunchroom when she first made eye contact with her future husband, Bill interjected more detail. After 69 years of marriage, they finish the other’s sentence.

“I was an usher and her friend was the ticket taker at the movie theatre.”
Fay noted that the friend was as charmed by Bill’s good looks as she was.
But Cupid was working overtime, and it didn’t take long before Bill acted on an inner nudge.

“I was in tenth grade—16 years old. He was 18.”

The legal implications of their courtship, however, never entered the equation.

“We’d been going together off and on—mainly on—and I went to spend a couple of weeks with my aunt. She was living near Birmingham in Bessemer. Bill came up there to visit me.”

Cupid enters again.

“She looked at us and said ‘why don’t you all come back next weekend and I’ll go with you to get married.’ Of course we had thought about it, but we weren’t ready. We were 16 and 18.”

Bill interjects again.

“It just gave us the courage we wished we’d had before she said she’d vouch for us.”

Fay continues her story.

“The next weekend we went to Bessemer, the courthouse and got married.” That was Jan. 12, 1945.

When they returned home to Montgomery, they planned to keep their nuptials a secret. Not possible.

“The minute my mother went to open the front door, I looked at her and said
‘I got married.’”Bill expounds.

“I just remember your dad said “Well, I’ll be damned.”

But Fay’s father immediately invited his new son-in-law and daughter the opportunity to live in his home. And the couple resumed their routine, graduating high school the June after their January courthouse wedding.

Sitting in the living room of their Brentwood Pointe home, where a portrait of smiling grandchildren takes center stage, the two try to explain their success—70 years later.

Bill contends their secret is Fay’s beauty. He describes her as “the best looking gal at Brentwood Country Club.”

Fay’s assessment:
“It’s been a pleasure,” to be alongside Bill Baggett for going on 70 years.

“We’ve had a ball together.”
Contentment doesn’t come in any prettier package.


Posted on: 2/14/2014


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