Beverlys celebrate diamond anniversary
“A diamond is forever” is touted as the world’s most popular slogan. It was coined in 1947 for DeBeers, The Home of Diamonds jewelry store in London. An exasperated young advertising specialist named Frances Gerety was out of ideas before she scribbled the four words on paper and hoped that it would be accepted. The rest is marketing history. Gerety’s slogan has been used for decades to sell engagement rings, but she may not have known that due to the chemical makeup of diamonds, they are the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth and they will last a lifetime.
Each wedding anniversary is dubbed with a traditional gift for the couple. It starts small, the first anniversary is the paper anniversary. The tenth anniversary is aluminum or tin. Year 25 is called the silver anniversary. Year 50 is the golden anniversary, but year 75 is the diamond anniversary. Seventy-five years is recognized with the most brilliant and longest lasting of the gemstones. Long marriages, like diamonds, endure outside pressure for years while their inner beauty is being created.
On September 13, 1945, a young soldier and his bride exchanged their vows in front of Judge Garrett in Grove Hill. There was no way they could know what the next year would bring, and definitely were not thinking as forward as 75 years in the future. Thomas Beverly and his bride Annie Jewell Pugh Beverly celebrated 75 years of marriage last weekend, but their relationship has been much longer than those officially recorded years.
Thomas Beverly says that he and his wife both attended Coffeeville High School. She lived in the Center Point community north of Coffeeville and he lived on the south side of the town in Tattlersville. Jewell had friends in Tattlersville who happened to be Thomas’s cousins. She would ride the bus home with her friends. She and Thomas became acquainted with one another in their early teen years by just playing in the yard with other youth.
As they became teenagers, they spent time together at school. Dating was much different in the 1940s. For starters, Thomas did not have a car. He did, however, have a bike. On Saturdays, he would ride his bike from his home “through the country” to Jewell’s to spend time with her. Beverly says that at the time, it did not seem like a long ride. “I thought it was probably a mile and a half, but I clocked it in my car a few years ago. It was eight miles,” he smiles as he remembers.
A big shade tree on the campus of Coffeeville High School was an important spot for the couple. “That’s where you had to go to talk to each other, but the principal was always watching.” Thomas Beverly did not finish his high school career. He was the youngest son and the last one at home. He left school at age 17 to assist his father with the family farm. He continued to make his bicycle trips to Center Point to see “Miss Jewell”.
Establishing a home
“When I got my invitation to the Army, I was glad because I’d be getting away from that durn mule.” The invitation was actually a draft notice and Beverly gladly went to serve his country. He and Jewell married and maintained their relationship through letters. Beverly said when he arrived in Anniston for training, he was in good shape. “That bike riding probably helped,” he grinned.
Jewell worked at Vanity Fair and saved money while her husband was deployed. When he returned from his tour in Europe, they bought a lot and built a home near the old hospital on West Cedar Street in Jackson. Beverly’s first job in Jackson was at McKee Truck and Tractor where he started as a custodian and rapidly worked his way up to top mechanic.
The couple had one son, Tommy Beverly. According to his father, Tommy was a “homebody” who enjoyed his time with his parents. Tommy Beverly was tragically killed in an industrial accident. “We didn’t question God. It was hard. It’s still hard, but we didn’t question God,” Beverly stated.
Jewell Beverly has lived with Alzheimer’s for the greater part of two decades. For 15 years, she was able to live at home with her husband as her primary caregiver. “I was taking care of her. That’s what you do,” Beverly said. After she suffered a stroke, doctors informed Thomas that she needed to be in a long-term care facility. She has been at Jackson Health Care Facility since December 2016. Every day, Thomas visits her and takes care of her.
Tips for a long marriage
The most recent research shows that the average length of an American marriage is seven years. The Beverlys have made their marriage last 10.5 times as long as the average marriage, in spite of heartbreak and health problems. Thomas Beverly holds to the belief that marriage should be forever. He gave the following tips on how to make a marriage last:
1.“Never, never raise your voice in anger to your spouse. That cuts deep.” Beverly says that there is no need to say hateful things to your spouse. “I’ve done it a few times through the years. Most everybody does, but I don’t like hurting her. I didn’t like how I felt after that.”
2. “Give and take. Marriage is about two people, not just one.”
3.“Put your arm around your partner every day and tell them that you love them.”
It’s no secret that any relationship is hard work. Marriage is especially hard. Seventy-five years is a very long time to be committed to one person, but the Beverlys have done it. Much like the diamond that denotes their anniversary, they have endured difficult circumstances over seven and a half decades to become one of a rare group of couples that actually get to celebrate this milestone anniversary. Happy, happy anniversary! Diamonds are indeed forever.
Most people are familiar with the expression, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This old adage is especially true for people like me who love vintage shops, consignment stores, and thrift retailers. As much as I enjoy wandering through these types of places and pondering which items could be upcycled to something new, I have never thought of what could be made with items from a pile of scrap metal.
There are a couple of reasons for this, but the main one is that I’m just not interested in digging outside for anything. The other reason is that snakes, rats, wasps and bees are not as likely to be inside the stores as they are in discarded piles of metal. But in my travels, I have had the good fortune to meet a “real live” artist whose primary medium is scrap metal.
John Lopez grew up on a ranch outside of Lemmon, S.D. Naturally creative, he discovered his talent for sculpting bronze in college. His was commissioned to sculpt 12-life-sized bronze statues for Rapid City’s City of Presidents project. His talent for seeing potential in scrap metal came as he was building a family cemetery and needed material for a fence. Instead of purchasing traditional material, Lopez went through the scrap pile and combined scrap metal with bronze for a fence that got everyone’s attention.
His hybrid metal art was soon in demand. Out of rusty hubcaps, sawblades, car fenders and chains, Lopez creates life-sized sculptures that tell their own stories. A sculpture of Ed Lemmon, founder of Lopez’s hometown sits proudly atop his sculpted horse in Boss Cowman Square. A gift and a tribute to his hometown, Lopez gathered the majority of the materials from the scrap metal piles of his friends and neighbors in the area. (Every ranch seems to have a pile of scrap metal.) The sculpture celebrates the rugged toughness of the people who live there.
Lopez eloquently addressed the nature of finding his materials saying, “In every scrap pile, I find something unique or interesting I want to incorporate, so the dynamics of the sculpture are always changing. I can’t plan too much. I’ve got to be open to letting the materials go where they will.”
I am not a mystic, nor a theologian, but I find so many pertinent truths in that statement. Dynamics are always changing in every aspect of life- in work, in friendships, in families. Unfortunately, nothing is constant. Even though we love the idea of permanence. Instead of permanence, maybe we can shift our perspective to one of hopefulness. Maybe when others see a scrap pile, we can see beauty and uniqueness and potential in a person or in a situation. Seek the treasures. Find the good.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.