A True Valentine’s Day Love Story

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Jesse and Eleanor Marrs Wedding Picture
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Eleanor was just 14 years old when her soon-to-be brother-in-law Roy introduced her to Jesse. She thought he was very handsome, but he was so much older than her at 19. However, they did ‘go around together’ as friends and were the witnesses at her sister and Roy’s wedding.
It was 1941 and the US entered World War II. Time passed and both Jesse and Roy enlisted in the army. And that was nearly the end of the story. Jesse had become a medic whose job it was to treat the injured on the front, and he did his job well earning himself multiple medals for his service and bravery, including a Purple Heart. But he was himself critically injured on the front lines in France in 1944. After a month in the hospital in London he was shipped back to the US on the same ship which had taken him overseas. He then spent another eight months in the hospital undergoing surgeries to have shrapnel removed form his head.
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Once he finally got out of the hospital Jesse decided to pay a visit to his friend Roy’s wife and give her news about her husband and what it was like overseas. As fate would have it he also got to see Eleanor again, too. An older, grown-up Eleanor. They resumed their friendship which soon blossomed into a full-fledged whirlwind romance. On February 14, 1945 were married in Brown County Indiana where Jesse was stationed.
On February 14, 2012 Jesse and Eleanor celebrated their 67th Anniversary and Valentines Day together. He was 90 years old and she was 85 and at that time they still lived together in their own home in rural Illinois and ‘took care of each other’. Of Jesse, Eleanor would say, “he is a good husband and he takes good care of me”. Speaking of Eleanor, Jesse said, “it has been a very good 67 years with her”.
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It would make me very happy if today, February 14, 2014, I could wish them a joyous 69th Valentine Anniversary and tell them that I love them both very much…they are, after all, my parents. But mom passed away in April of 2012 and dad’s terminal cancer finally won the battle it had waged on him for many years. He passed away in March of 2013, not long after his and Mom’s 68th anniversary. When I visited him shortly before his death, Dad said, “you know, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen your mother.” My one consolation is that they are together again and will never again have to spend another Valentine’s Day Anniversary apart.
     Carol Marrs Phipps
Happy Valentine’s Mom and Dad! And to all lovers everywhere!