On Sept. 11 an Anniversary for the ages – an ole fashion Georgia love story

Cindi Vance calls the marriage of her former in-laws, Bobbie Jean and Frank Sheriff of Good Hope, an “ole fashion Georgia love story.” They married  66 years ago on Sept. 11, 1953 and renewed those vows in 2013 after 60 years of marriage. On Sept. 11, 2019, they celebrate 66 years of marriage.
Wedding of Bobbie Jean and Frank Sheriff, Sept. 11, 1953. Contributed photo
Bobbie Jean and Frank Sheriff, vow renewals, Sept. 11, 2013. Contributed photo

“Bobbie & Frank are in their late 80s with many health issues. They both have Alzheimer’s, Bobbie is worse than Frank, Bobbie has her good days and her bad days but she still manages to do the little things when she is feeling good. Frank is the caretaker now,” Vance said, adding that although she is no longer their daughter-in-law, they have remained a close-knit family. “I thought of them both as my parents, since I met them when I was just 17 and grew up with them. Even now,  43 years later, I come to Georgia every few months to help do things for them – clean, cook and spend a ton of time making memories.”

Bobbie Jean and Frank Sheriff with the family at the renewal of their wedding vows on their 60th Wedding Anniversary on Sept. 11, 2013. Contributed photo
Vance said the couple helped raise their grandson, her 39-year-old special needs son, so the bond remained very close.
“Bobbie devoted her every breath of life to my son Jeff. She took care of him and made sure he had everything and then some..even making sure Jeff graduated from high school,” she said, going on to give some details on what it was like for the couple in the early years.
“I can remember when I was a teenager, Bobbie would be up early every day, 7 days a week, cooking grits, bacon, sausage, eggs & homemade biscuits. During the week, she’d be packing school lunches for four kids and lunch for a hubby. By 7:30 am, she was sending everyone off for the day and Bobbie would start her day by first making her bed – she always has to have her bed made – then she would get her housework done so she could watch her soap opera at noon. Then she would get her grocery shopping done and have dinner on the table by 5 pm..wash dinner dishes, clean up, kids doing homework, everyone off to bed and she would repeat it every day. And when the kids got grown and left home, she took care of her grandkids,” Vance said.  “Frank was a carpenter, building houses for all his life, bringing his sons into the business..over the years Frank has always built every home they live in. Frank knew how he wanted his home and no one could build it better than him.. Ole fashion, set in his ways.”
The last home he built, with the help of his sons, was the one he and Bobbie Jean now share in Good Hope.
“It’s funny how things have changed. They haven’t quite come into the ‘Social Networking Technology’..just using a GPS for them is almost hilarious. Frank takes care of Bobbie now..the roles are reversed…She has good days where she gets up and cooks and does housework and will even go out and mow the yard. Then there are days she just sleeps and has no energy. There are days she talks up a storm and laughs and plays cards and is ready to go, go, go. Then there are days she forgets what you just said and can’t remember what she is doing..it’s a tough time,” Vance said. “But to watch Frank make sure she gets her meds and makes sure she eats..just the attention he gives her. You’d have to know the “Ole Man” as I call him to understand the softer side of him. He wants so badly for her to be like she once was..he knows it is only going to get worse but he ain’t giving up. Things do change in time and I am blessed to be able to spend time with them in these last years.”
The tragic events of Sept. 11 18 years ago have marred the occasion for them somewhat and Vance said Bobbie Jean sometimes feels bad celebrating their wedding anniversary on such a sad day for the nation. But when you’ve been married for 66 years, how can you not celebrate.
Vance brought them, along with their grandson Jeff, to downtown Monroe recently and they sat down with Darrell Everidge of Darrell Productions to talk about the years they’ve been together and what it takes for a successful marriage. Frank had an interesting take on what he believed his secret was, but Bobbie Jean had some sage advice that is just as relevant today as it was 66 years ago when they first made those vows.
Listen to their ‘ole fashion Georgia Love Story,” in their own words. And the sweet, spontaneous kiss at the end maybe says it all. Keeping the romance alive is possibly the real key to 66 years of marriage.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply