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75 years

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Bedford couple has kept the love alive

By Tom Wilmoth

Robert and Earlie Morris have celebrated the good times, and hung together through the tough days.
    For the past 75 years.
    
    Robert L. Morris and Earlie F. Stanley were married on Nov. 25, 1937 at the parsonage of Bedford Baptist Church’s pastor at the time, Dr. Harry P. Clause. They’ve been together ever since. And they have ended each day the same way, by telling each other, “I love you.”
    “We never go to sleep at night without saying (that),” Earlie said.
    The Morrises live off of Lankford Mill Road in a home Robert built in the early 1970s.  Earlie has  had a Lankford Mill address her entire life; she grew up on a farm just down the road from their current home.
    Robert, who was born in Bluefield, W.Va., moved to Bedford County as a small child and at the age of 15 moved to his uncle and aunt’s farm next to Stanley farm where Earlie lived. They both attended Bedford High School; Earlie graduated in 1937.
    Robert is known for his carpentry and for his building in the Bedford area. Their home is filled with his handiwork. But a time when he wasn’t home were some of the toughest for Earlie. That’s when her husband was serving in the Army during World War II.
    At the time, they had two little boys, their third would be born later. “It seemed like a long time before he came home,” Earlie said about having her husband away in the service.
    “Every day is special for us,” Earlie said. “God has really blessed us. We have a family I wouldn’t give anything for.”
    That includes their three sons and their wives: Jim and Suzanne Morris; Don and Emily Morris; and Lynn and Karla Morris. They have seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
    Their key to a successful marriage was learning to “take the good with the bad,” Earlie said. “And, so far, most of ours has been good.”
    Robert said having a successful marriage has been a matter of choice. “You can fight or you can have fun,” he said. “If you had a bad day (one day), get up the next morning (and start fresh).”
    And it’s important, they said, to talk through problems. And not to go in debt, living within your means.
    The couple’s courting was simple; they didn’t have cars back then. Usually it amounted to a group of young people getting together, walking through the woods, and picking flowers. There also was the occasional trip up to the Peaks, though.
    Donald said he remembers learning, early on, from his parents “who was in charge.”
    “You learned to respect authority,” he said.
    And Robert and Earlie have stayed active in their church, Bedford Baptist.
    “You have to accept your spouse (just like they are,),” Earlie said. “The word love means you accept them unconditionally, regardless of what takes place.”