This is Carolina: Couple whose love began with ‘red ants’ celebrates 65th anniversary

Updated: Apr. 27, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The way life has changed because of the coronavirus has made it pretty tough to celebrate all kinds of milestones.

But one son made sure his parents had a 65th anniversary party in style.

Jim and Mary Reynolds met in the first grade.

“My mom always took a picture of the class in grade school at the end of the year,” Jim said.

Mary was just six people over from him in the picture they still have, he explained. But, Jim and Mary said their love really got going their freshman year of high school.

“One class we had in 9th grade, which was general science. Unfortunately, he sat behind me in class,” Mary recalled with a giggle.

“That was the word, ‘unfortunately,’” Jim said.

“He had a horrible thing of ‘here come those red ants!’” Mary said.

Jim would tickle his hands on her back, pretending to be red ants while in their desks. Mary said he got her in trouble. It’s all history from there.

Jim was in the Army when he and Mary married in 1955. They lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a while, and said they’re well-traveled. Their favorite place is Hawaii, which they hope to return to for a trip soon.

Their oldest of two sons, Marty, surprised his parents Monday with a drive-thru with the local fire trucks. Firefighting holds a special place in Jim’s heart because he is a retired Randolph Township firefighter. Ironically, Marty is the retired chief of the same township. Marty now volunteers with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department. Marty said he let the neighbors know of the drive-thru fire truck parade, and they all were outside to watch.

Jim said he and Mary are “working on the next 65.”

“In a lot of ways, the virus situation today is just like that (WWII). I guess we learned during the war how you scrimp and save and do without a lot of things. And it’s a lot like that now. I know it’s tough for people to live with it... it will go away eventually,” Jim said positively.

Jim and Mary both turned 86 in March. They said they’re most proud of their family, and are each other’s best friend.

“We’ve grown closer with this, not that I think we could’ve gotten much closer,” Mary said laughing. “I just think it’s quite an accomplishment and we’re very proud of it.”

Jim said he was grilling Mary a filet mignon and baked potato dinner to celebrate.

Marty said his parents have had anniversary parties for other big milestones and renewed their vows for their 50th anniversary.

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