Trae’s grandfather passed away a year ago today. Trae’s grandparents, MaMa (Colleen) and PaPa (Bynum “Bike”), are one of the most inspirational couples I had ever met. And today, I feel like this unique love story deserves to be shared. I plan dedicating this week to their love story and the lessons that can be learned from 69 years of marriage.
THE LOVE STORY:
Bynum “Bike” Murray told his close friend (and ex-girlfriend) Mary Brown that he preferred blondes; Mary just happened to be a brunette. Mary quipped back, “Do I know a blonde for you!” and with that she gave Bike an address. Bike wrote to this unknown blonde, not knowing that one letter in a plain envelope would change his life’s course. Colleen Dixon was that blonde. She wrote back because “when one of the boys wrote, you were suppose to write back.”
The year was 1941; Bike was 22 and Collen was 16. When they started writing, Bike was training at Camp Blanding in Florida. He was just supposed to be there for a year, but things changed. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and Bike was no longer a solider in training: he was a solider going to war.
Throughout the war, the pair continued to write to one another. Colleen would send him pictures, which made the soldiers would harass Bike: “You got another one from the blonde!”
Who knows what those letters contained; they are lost to time. Did Colleen write about high school football games? Did she describe the white and red gingham dress she was making in home economics? Did she dream about wearing that dress to meet Bike in? Did Bike tell her the story about the man selling eggs for 10 cents from a satchel on a donkey? Did he tell her about a chance meet up with his best friend Martin in Rome? Did he keep one of her pictures tucked in his helmet? More importantly, when did friendship change to love? One day did “Sincerely” change to “Love”?
The pair finally meet in April 1945; Colleen wore the dress she made in home economics and Bike was dashing in his uniform. (Most likely he was trying to impress the blonde he had been writing to). Colleen recalls, “We knew. The first meeting we knew [we would get married].” On June 12, 1945, Bike was discharged from the army and on October 28, the pair were married.
Check back on Thursday for Part II: Marriage to learn more about this amazing couple.