“Hey, Hey Paula, I Wanna Marry You”

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 01:56 PM.

 Paula Travis Alexander married my older brother in the fall of 1962. I thought she was ok because she went to St. Louis with us that summer and sat through both ends of a double header. The first game went into extra innings and the nightcap saw lots of runs scored and lasted for hours. Ken Boyer hit a home run and Willie Mays lost his hat making a long running catch. I was in hog heaven. Paula, if not quite as ecstatic, never complained.

 True love is an amazing thing.

 I was fifteen years old when they got married; and certainly not accredited enough to understand if I was losing a brother or gaining a sister. I didn’t really give it a minute’s thought. I was pondering on the extra space I was going to have in the bedroom I had shared with him since birth. And I was hoping this would mark the end of him bullying me around on slow afternoons. It was also one of the first weddings I ever attended and I spent most of it wondering if they were actually going to kiss each other in front of all those people.

 Right from the start Paula treated me more like an equal than someone’s little brother. She would look me right in the eye and tell me what she thought. I’ve never seen her mad or flustered; which, when you consider she was married to Leon, was downright almost unbelievable! She could get him to do things that no one else in the world could do.

 Leon sold his baby blue ’57 convertible and bought a family looking car not long after the marriage. He quit cruising around town and got a steady job. Paula never fussed or appeared “put out” when she got stuck at the house with me and David Mark. She was, however, a tad confounded when the fight broke out. Mom would return from the grocery store and Paula raced outside for help, “Mrs. Colbert, come quickly, they are killing each other!” Mom would assuage her fears with the “boys will be boys” line as she reached in the back for the sugar, flour, milk and sundries.   

 Somewhere along the way I took to calling her Chuck. It’s too long of a story to relate here. She never seemed to mind and I think it gave us a special bond. When I had girlfriend problems I entrusted her with them. She never laughed or thought the dilemma insignificant. She also never suggested kidnapping or bashing them over the head with a club which is what Leon was telling me to do.

 The marriage survived stops in Pocahontas, Arkansas, (which was like the other side of the world) Lexington, Tennessee, and optometry school in Memphis. I never heard either of them complain. They settled in the Nashville area and poured their hearts into raising daughters, son-in-laws, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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