It Started in 1948 in Birmingham
It was on the east side of Birmingham, Alabama in 1948, that a beautiful young teen girl named Lorene peered over the balcony of her neighborhood recreation center during the weekly dance event when a young handsome man caught her eye. This wasn’t the first time she had seen Lou as they went to Woodland high school at the same time. However, Lou left high school early during WWII to enlist in the Military during his senior year. Lorene recalls Lou looking handsome in his Patrol hat when he made his return, but they didn’t talk much then. That evening though everything would change.
Smiling, Lorene turned to her friend and said, “Doris, I want to meet him, he is so cute.” Doris replied, “Well that’s easy, he’s talking to my boyfriend!”
And as they say, the rest is history.
Lou and Lorene danced the evening away and they spent time together every night thereafter. The two would see each other every day until the day they got married except for the one time Lou was hospitalized for appendicitis.
One year after meeting each other, Lorene and Lou got married at Mount Signal Baptist Church in Mount Signal Alabama on June 3rd, 1949 by the same minister who baptized Lorene. “We eloped.” Lorene recalls. “We had to hide it from my mom and dad for a long time, but after a while, I just didn’t care.”
A very full blessed life followed including Six children, homes in Alabama, Memphis, Tenn., Rochester, N.Y, Decatur, GA., Tucker, Ga., Stone Mt, Ga. and Peachtree Corners, Ga. They are also the proud grandparents to 17 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren. They ran their own successful business together for over 35 years.
Fast forward seventy years later:
Sitting in the living room of their beautiful home in Peachtree Corners Georgia, Lorene is wearing a denim button-down with flower embellishments over a pair of loose-fit denim jeans and a pair of white converse. Her short silver curly hair is fixed out of her face and with a twinkle in her bright green eyes, she looked over at the man, she lovingly calls “Bub” lounging in his chair and states proudly, “I was hooked.”
The secret to 70 years? Family and Faith
I asked Lorene what the secret to seventy years was and she said:
“Faith and Family…. We’re blessed and we feel like every day is a blessing and as long as we feel like that, we’re okay. I feel like every day that I have him with me is a blessing and although he can’t always put things in words, I feel like he feels the same way.”
The church was always a big part of their marriage and family life. After their children had grown and left home, they remained very active and even helped to start a seed church. Many of their social activities revolved around their Sunday School Class.
When I asked Lorene, what life was like 70 years ago, she laughed emphatically and said, “Life was about having children”
Celebrating Seven Decades of Love:
To celebrate their 70-year anniversary, the family came together and headed to the Varsity for a day of fun.
Remembering the party, Lorene said, “It was so fun. We had the party at the Varsity and we had this big room, so the children could just run around and everybody got whatever food they wanted. It worked out great. Pops loves their hot dogs.”
She said, “It takes people like us to keep the Varsity alive,” referencing the one in Alpharetta that closed down.
There were some moments of hardship:
In 2011, Lou was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and it was a shock to the Mayer household, but through it all, their love still has stayed strong. His Parkinson’s has progressed slowly in part to his great medical care at the VA and support from his family and Synergy caregivers.
And instead of focusing on the bad, Lorene tries to stay focused on the beautiful life the two of them have shared and continue to share in their own home.
Lorene ponders and gets up from her chair to open the cabinet full of their photo albums stating, “We’ve done a lot of things and we’ve had a lot of fun. We have memories that keep us going every day.”
While Lou doesn’t talk too much, he is still very protective over his wife and as Lorene drags out a photo album to share with Sue and me, he whispers lovingly, “you can’t carry that.” Lorene doesn’t hear him and standing at just under five feet she carries the album on over
Love isn’t the only thing they share:
When Lorene asked Lou’s mom what ‘Bubs’ birthday was, she reacted in disbelief. The dynamic duo shares the same birthday, August 12th just two years apart. So every year the family gets to celebrate TWO birthdays on the same date August 12. This year Lou turned 91 and Lorene turned 89 and to celebrate their kids surprised them with a workday and hot dog roast at their house.
Lorene is grateful for the care that Synergy HomeCare North Atlanta provides for Lorene and Lou. When Sue commented on the beauty of their home. Lorene responded,”We like it. We have more room than we need, but we like it.’ We have the porch and I just made a list of things that we’ve wanted to do that I’ve saved the money for.”
Lorene and Lou share a fondness for the porch at their house and every time they go out she turns on his music. Noting the blazing Georgia heat, Lorene said, “We have to pick a time when it’s not too hot and humid, but he’s easy, he’s easy to please.”
Before we left, I asked Lorene to share some advice for people falling in love today:
“I think the first thing, make sure that you both care for each other, are loving, caring, you put the other one first with things you do… I think you have to love the other person and care for them.”
We are very grateful to Lorene and Lou, known to many as Memaw and Pop, for welcoming us into their home and help them celebrate their seven decades of love. Thank you both for allowing Synergy to be a part of your great love story and we are excited to celebrate years to come.