Photo and video by Benjamin Hager
Arthritis prevents 91-year-old Melvin Martin from getting around. He wants to move from a chair to his motorized scooter, and it takes him several pumps to motivate his body up from the chair.
His wife, Lora, encourages him, “You’ve got it, honey.” Finally, Melvin says “oof!” as he stands, and he shuffles his feet to the scooter.
Lora says she loves Melvin like she’s never loved a man before. The Martins are newlyweds. They were married Sept. 23 at the Vickery Towers, the retirement home where they live, inviting all the other residents as their guests.
Melvin, a World War II Army veteran who worked 40 years for U.S. Gypsum, has been married twice before. But this is 89-year-old Lora’s first marriage. She says she felt pressure to get married in the 1940s and ’50s, but she never gave into it.
“I never saw the right one,” Lora says of her previous suitors. “I was waiting since I was 21.” Melvin chimes in: “Wasn’t I lucky?”
The Martins met in the dining room at Vickery Towers. They started sitting at the same table together two years ago, and they found they were compatible.
What was their courtship like? “It’s hard to explain, honey,” Lora says. “We just enjoyed each other, and we’ve never had a harsh word with each other.”
On her wedding day, Lora wore a pink gown, donated by the Bridal Shop on Mockingbird. She had a three-tier bridal cake, and Melvin’s groom’s cake was so delicious, they didn’t even get a piece for themselves.
The Martins go to exercise class together. They like to see the singers and dancers who come perform for them at Vickery. And they like watching sports on TV — baseball, football, golf.
Frequently, Melvin’s 58-year-old son Greg comes to take them out to eat or grocery shopping. And they like to cuddle. But mostly, they just enjoy one another.
“I love the companionship I have with Melvin,” Lora says. “To love each other, and to be loved.” Melvin agrees: “I feel the same way.”
The Martins aren’t the only newlyweds at Vickery. Another couple, Jerry Calhoun and Alma Howard, both in their 80s, were married at Vickery Towers on Oct. 15.
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