Valentine’s Day would be a waste without a good love story, and one of my favorites comes from World War II. Six decades after it happened, Yvonne Pope’s eyes shone every time I heard her tell it. Her husband Moran could entertain with his own version – and with a matching twinkle in his eye.
Small town Newton, Mississippi girls’ wedding expectations included a white dress extending into a long train before a bank of flowers and candelabra with lifelong friends standing up for the couple as bridesmaids and ushers. World War II brought on adjustments. Moran learned he would be shipped out to the South Pacific upon completion of his officer training at Colombia University in New York City. Yvonne left her original wedding plans behind and boarded a train. They were married in Manhattan’s Riverside Church – #38 of 54 Navy couples on the same afternoon. They would be separated for most of the next two years.
After the war, she and Moran settled in Hattiesburg, MS where they raised their son and daughter. He served as mayor and practiced law. She served as gracious hostess. Both were active in community and church activities.
Yvonne’s story was fed by the abundant love songs of the era, and she passed along her love for the music to her daughter. Yvonne played the piano while Melinda sang along. The passion was contagious.
In recent years, as Yvonne’s health failed, Melinda made what she describes as a homemade recording for her mother, picking their favorites to share. After Yvonne’s death, with encouragement and support from her husband Rob, the other member of her own love story, Melinda produced a professional album of those songs, dedicated to her parents. I listen as I write, “Gibraltar may crumble – Our love is here to stay,” and picture Yvonne and Moran, both storytellers, recounting their versions of the story. While their young love makes for an exciting story, the better part is that the end of it was nowhere in sight with Yvonne’s death sixty eight years later.
If you like the music of the era sung as it was meant to be sung or maybe have a love story of your own to remember, you might look for https://www.facebook.com/MelindaDeRockerMusic.