Jimmie and Carrie Stanley met in High School. “We met in Conetoe High School,” Carrie recalls, “I was in 10th grade.” Jimmie interjects, “Although I was 3 years older, I was a year behind in school, I was a country boy- so we had moved from one farm to another. We moved all across the county until I got to Conetoe High School”. After they met “I knew,” recalls Jimmie, “that this is the one. I just knew it. I was a pretty popular guy, and I had some friends that were girls, but I knew that she was the one.” Carrie smiles and recalls, “Every time I came down off the bus, he would be right there and looking right up at me.” They have been together ever since. Where Jimmie is, you will find Carrie. Carrie would never go anywhere without Jimmie. Jimmie calls out to Carrie “come here sweetheart, and come a little closer” during this interview.
When Jimmie found out that he had to go into the service (US Army), “he started asking to get married,” Carrie explains. Jimmie continues, “And when I came home on my Second furlough, I told her mom ‘I’m going to marry your daughter’. I knew I had to make a move right now. I didn’t want anyone else to marry her.” Jimmie had been stationed in Germany and continued his High School courses while he was away.
Carrie was 18 years old when they got married “It was May 8, 1953” Jimmie recalls clearly. Carrie continues, “He was home on furlough, it was a weekend- a Saturday. We got married right there on my front porch. My mom and dad were there. My brother was there. My sister, who is deaf and mute was away at a special school.” “We stayed together for 10 days,” Jimmie continues “usually when I came home on furlough, I would go home, but this time I didn’t go home and stay- I said to my dad
‘Today I am going to get married.’ We came from a similar background, we liked the same things, we spent a lot of time together. Then I went back on a Greyhound bus, to Virginia, then Brickhaven, NJ then on a boat to Europe- I went to Frankfurt Germany, and finished up 2 years of my service.”
While Jimmie completed his service with the United States Army, Carrie started working, doing housework. Then she went to the hospital and became a nurse’s aide. She spent 18 months in the hospital and then went to school for her LPN license. She was a LPN for 2 years, then went back to school to become a Registered Nurse. She worked in ‘various hospitals’ for over 20 years.
After the service, Jimmie completed his coursework through the GI Bill and graduated in 1957. He worked as a community worker in the Urban Renewal Projects to buy and sell homes. His experiences led to working with NEED incorporated, “a national government program to help people in the community” explains Jimmie. NEED (Nash Edgecombe Economic Development) incorporated still exists today and their mission is to help low-income families in Nash and Edgecombe counties pay rent on safe, comfortable housing.
Both Jimmie and Carrie were active in the community helping others throughout their lives.
“Our church is building a Jimmie and Carrie Stanley Crisis Center- they are naming it after us. Carrie is
the oldest member there- and it will be right there in Edgecomb County. The church is the St Luke
Christian Church, disciple of Christ.”
During their marriage, Jimmie and Carrie Stanley have been blessed with two children “first my son, Morris, in October 1, 1954, and then Felicia… exactly 3 years later on October 1, 1957. We celebrated their birthdays together, but they always requested something special each time” Carrie remembers, with a chuckle.
Their house was in Tarboro, Edgecomb County North Carolina. “It was the first hurricane, the flood- in 1999 that effected the house. We had to buy a new house” explains Jimmie. “Then came the other hurricane (Matthew) the one we had last year, or maybe it was the year before… well, anyway, the flood, the water came up to the 2nd step into the house. After the 2nd flood I said we are not going into homeownership any longer. We had retired in 1995, and Felicia had been in Raleigh, working in Wake Med as a Registered Nurse. She had been looking around to find a place like this one (PruittHealth Raleigh). She lives 15 minutes away in Cary, and my son lives in Wake Forest. We have been looking for a place like this. We are very blessed to be here.”
When the Committed to Caring Team met to discuss the Second Wind Dreams Project, it was a unanimous decision to create a real wedding experience for Jimmie and Carrie Stanley. To give them the opportunity to celebrate 65 years together- 65 years!! – with their family, friends, church members all surrounding them. The love that they have for one another shines. During a Care Plan Meeting, Jimmie asked “so if anything were to happen to me, and I went to the hospital, would my wife still have a place here?” They are inseparable. We are proud and honored to provide them this opportunity to share together.
The wedding was held on Saturday, February 18th. Their daughter, Felicia went shopping for a new dress with her mom. Jimmie knew he had a tuxedo at home. One of our LPNs, Tiera Harris completed all of the decorations, the Internet Café became the reception hall- complete with tablecloths, flowers, and centerpieces. We contacted a local catering company and bakery. Flowers were ordered. Coming up to the week of the wedding, Jimmie would tell the Partners “one week… just one more week until the wedding.”
The day was beautiful- the weather was clear and sunny. Close to 50 guests came, signed the picture frame of their original wedding photo. The pastor from the local church, The Temple of Pentecost, came and delivered a touching homily. A singer performed a beautiful rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer”. Vows were renewed and the church laughed and clapped when the pastor announced that Jimmie may “kiss the bride.”
To find someone and fall in love is a wonderful experience. But to have that, and hold onto that- and still have love, affection, and shared smiles 65 years later is priceless.