Couple celebrating 70th anniversary
Commitment is an important thing, but sadly, it is usually one of the first things to fall by the wayside, especially today.
But Franklin County residents Roy and Dorothy Clement know a thing or two about commitment. It’s something they learned about over the last 70 years they’ve been married to one another and something they’ve relied on through the good times and the bad times.
Roy and Dorothy Clement met each other when Dorothy was 17 and Roy was 19.
“I had an uncle and an aunt that lived in Greenfield, Tenn., and I would carry my granddaddy up there to see his daughter,” Roy Clement said. “When my aunt had a baby, Dorothy stayed with her and took care of her, so that’s how I met her.”
Roy said it wasn’t long before his aunt and uncle came to Franklin County for a visit and Dorothy came with them.
“I just decided to keep her down here,” Roy said with a laugh.
But Dorothy said she was glad to stay in Franklin County and was happy to marry Roy soon after that.
“I was happy to get married,” Dorothy said. “When you know, you know.”
Dorothy said they stayed with Roy’s grandparents, who raised him, for a while after the marriage but soon found their own home. However, Dorothy said that life back then was much different than it is now.
“We didn’t have electricity and we didn’t have an indoor bathroom,” she said. “We lived hard back then. We didn’t have all the good stuff they have now.”
Dorothy, who worked as a cook at the old Tharptown School for 22 years, said they had a lot of good times over the years but they had some bad times, too, just like any other couple would.
“A marriage is a give and take,” she said. “It’s the only way you can get along. These people that say they’ve never had a cross word, I don’t believe them. You have your ups and downs but you just learn to work them out. That’s what we’ve always done.”
Roy, who worked at Reynolds for 37 years before he retired, said the key to the past 70 years of marriage has been to follow one simple rule.
“I’ve learned not to sass her too much,” Roy said with a laugh and a wink for Dorothy.
Over the years, the Clements have said they have been blessed with six children and the best son- and daughter-in-laws they could have asked for. They also have a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren – a family that includes 79 members in total.
“We all have a great time when we get together,” Dorothy said. “It’s crazy with so many of us.”
Besides having a good time, a few of the Clements’ children said they have also had a great example to follow when it comes to their parents.
“They’ve always been there for us and they treat us all the same,” their daughter Ruby McCullar said. “They are good parents to us, but growing up, they were the neighborhood parents, too. There were six of us so everybody congregated at our house.”
“I remember going to deer hunt with my dad in South Alabama and I remember fishing in the creek and swimming in the swimming hole,” their son Gene Clement said. “I have fond memories because of them.”
Gene Clement also said most of the things he learned, he learned from his parents.
“I learned how to treat people nice because that was just how I was raised,” he said. “Knowing they’ve stayed together all these years and just believed in one another has been a great example for the whole family. Not one of us has ever been divorced.”
The Clements’ actual anniversary is Aug. 20, but they will be celebrating a week early so all their family can be there. And apparently their 70th anniversary celebration will be a testament to the kind of people their children say they are.
“We’ll be celebrating at Tharptown by eating the Swamp John’s that the Tharptown Volunteer Fire Department does for their fundraiser,” Dorothy said. “We’ve got too much stuff already so we didn’t need anything for ourselves. And those people do a lot for our community so I thought we could help them out and celebrate at the same time.”
Roy and Dorothy sat in their home and smiled at one another as they thought about the memories and years they had reflected on, and Dorothy summed up the last 70 years very simply.
“We’ve had a good life and we love one another,” she said.