SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Arthur Cummings met Mary Allen at a company picnic and then later went on a trip with her family to Atlanta. That’s all it took for the tiny spark between them to become a flame.
The couple fell in love and have been together ever since. They married on June 26, 1948, at the home of Mary Allen’s parents in Spartanburg County.
Arthur, 99, and Mary Allen, 97, now live at White Oak Estates in Spartanburg, and still, have fond memories of how they met and the day they got married.
“We’re just lucky,” Arthur said when asked if there was a secret to having a long and happy marriage. “We have been blessed to have good health and fortunate.”
“Patience,” Mary responded. “But we’re really happy together.”
The couple recently was sitting beside each other in their retirement room as they looked at pictures highlighting their years together. Their affection for each other is still strong. At times, they held hands and moved in close to each other as they looked at some pictures dating back to when they were married to recent photos of them celebrating their 74th wedding anniversary.
Arthur said they met at the Fair Forest Finishing Company in Spartanburg County, and he knew she was the one. Their love for each other has only deepened over the past 74 years.
“She was working in the lab, and I was working as a trainee. We had a picnic and that’s where I met her,” Arthur Cummings said. “I was dating another girl before her.”
Arthur’s past relationship didn’t last much longer when Mary invited him on a trip to Atlanta.
“In conversation, I told him that we were going to Atlanta to see my brother. Arthur had said he also had a brother in Atlanta,” Mary Cummings said. “That was it. We went to Atlanta but never saw the brother. Arthur stayed with us in Atlanta, rode back home with us and we had been married ever since.”
When the couple married in 1948, Arthur was 25 and Mary was 23. Unfortunately, they had an obstacle to face during their engagement because of their different religions.
“I was a Catholic and she was a Methodist,” Arthur said. “We went to the priest and the minister and both of them said we weren’t going to work. Our marriage wasn’t going to make it.”
The happy couple proved them wrong and beat the odds. Together, the couple raised five children and their family continues to grow with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“It was hot as hell,” Arthur said regarding their wedding day. “We married at her mother and daddy’s house and it didn’t have any air conditioning.”
Before they retired, the couple enjoyed playing golf. Arthur said they played on 100 different golf courses together. They would take many trips to play golf, including to Hawaii where the courses were covered with volcanic black lava rocks.
Their daughter, Nancy Humphries, said she could sense the spark the couple shared with each other.
“You always knew that these two were each other’s best friends. They put each other first,” Humphries said. “I have never seen them argue. I’m sure they have argued behind closed doors but I have never seen them raise their voice at each other.”
It’s not just family who can see the bond the couple has. Sharion Otey has been a friend to the couple since 2014 and is even considered a part of the family.
Arthur and Mary Cummings talk about the day they got married on June 26, 1948.
“It’s the love they have for each other,” Otey said. “It doesn’t matter where they’re at, as long as they’re together.”
The bond the couple share is truly remarkable, and the couple acknowledges it. So what is their secret for being married for 74 years?
“You have to find the right woman,” Arthur said. “And I found a good one.”