NEWLYWEDS: Kevin and Missy Cooper
For Kevin and Missy Cooper, love is high-fives, inside jokes and knowing they’re in for the ride together.
Last April, the Ohio natives said “I do” on Siesta Key Beach. It’s been smooth-sailing for the newlyweds ever since.
Ages: Kevin is 29; Missy is 28
Where they met
Missy: At work, as cliché as that is. We worked together for a company, in Akron (Ohio), and sat 6 feet away from each other.
Missy: The best way to describe what I felt is that someone flicked my heart a bit. I thought, “I should probably pay attention to that one.” I very vividly remember that feeling.
Kevin: I met hundreds of other people in that company I have no recollection of meeting. But I remember walking over, and I remember vividly … (to Missy) you were wearing a green argyle V-neck sweater. I didn’t have the prickle-of-the-heart thing, but we would hang out, play the word jumble every day and talk about what was going on.
Most memorable date
Missy: We came home from picking strawberries, and we almost burned down the kitchen while making strawberry jam.
Kevin: It was funny. I had asked her dad if I could marry her in September. We went out to dinner and were sitting there having a beer and eating food, and at the end, I’m like, “Oh, I want to marry your daughter.” What must have been two seconds felt like a half-hour. You wanna talk about your heart dropping …
Missy: My dad messed with you a little bit. It was good that he was comfortable enough to tease.
Kevin: The day before her birthday, I asked her to go for a walk on the beach. I knew where she would want to go, so I gave her some options so she wouldn’t catch on. We were reminiscing a bit about how lucky we were to move to Sarasota and the Siesta Key area, and I asked her to marry me right down the road.
Missy: I think, for me, the best part is that there’s somebody who knows me a little better than I know myself. Those little parts, the things that may seem insignificant at the time, really make up the foundation of knowing each other so well. It’s not even necessarily the big stuff; it’s the little inside jokes that nobody else in the world would understand or find funny, the small stuff that builds that intimacy of knowing each other better than you know anyone else. We high-five a lot.
Kevin: My favorite thing about marriage itself is the team aspect of it. Before getting married or even in a serious relationship, it’s about what you do and the decisions you make. Getting married is a whole different mentality — a team mentality. The person next to you is in for the ride, whether good or bad. You don’t take the easy way out or your choices for granted because
Missy: “We had an ice-cream truck come, and everybody kind of revisited their childhood for a moment. We climbed up into it and handed out frozen Snickers bars. Kevin doesn’t like wedding cake, and I thought, “There’s no way he’s eating year-old cake — that’s not happening.” (A tradition is for newlyweds to freeze a piece of wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary.) It was very us.
Kevin: We had a big barbecue drum, and people from the neighborhood were trying to come around and buy ribs off the smoker. It wasn’t our goal to do things differently, but it’s nice, because amongst all the weddings that are so cookie-cutter, we wanted people to go, “That was very Missy and Kevin.”
His best quality: He’s selfless. Even when we started dating, I saw that quality in him. I can’t remember the last time he looked at me and said, “You know what, I’m just doing this for me.”
Her best quality: It’s kind of in tandem with how strongly she loves and how deeply involved in relationships she is. It’s not just me, but family and friends. She pours everything she is into those relationships and talks to people she hasn’t seen in 10 years.
LOVE BIRDS: Billy and Mary Franklin
Billy Franklin still recalls the exact moment when he fell in love with his future wife, Mary, in the hallways of Sarasota High School. The two high-school sweethearts were married June 17, 1947, at St. Martha Catholic Church, in Sarasota.
Ages: Billy is 83; Mary is 82
Where they met
Billy: My uncle and aunt rented a house from her daddy. I went to visit them and was probably 15. I saw her, went out and talked to her, and she took me down to Luke Wood Park.
Mary: Everybody was over and I said, “Momma, I’m going to take Billy for a walk in the park,” like he was a little baby.
Billy: I’ve never gotten out of the park — I’m still in the park.
Billy: I never thought much about it, but up on the second floor of this building, she and Barbara, another friend, were walking down the hall. I stopped and turned around, and she turned around, and it was like, “Bam! Look at that!” She was a beautiful lady, beautiful legs.
Billy: We used to sit out in the parking lot until the bells rang and we had to come in. We were called to the principal’s office — he thought we were getting too intimate.
Mary: Well, we probably were. We were sitting out in the car neckin’.
Billy: We still like to neck.
The early stages
Billy: I was in the Philippines when I was 17 and she was 16. I left her for one year, two months and five days to go into the Navy.
Mary: Yeah, I’m glad you finally got organized with that.
Billy: I never went out with another girl.
Most memorable date
Billy: One of the things we did was take my old car and go to St. Armands. At that time, there were no stores. We would cut coconuts down from the trees — right where the Columbia Restaurant is now — and bring them in town and sell them.
Mary: We probably sold 50 or 60 coconuts back then. Now, we just go over there and eat.
Billy: We had gone steady and were always together no matter where we went. The proposal probably was a mutual agreement — “Let’s get married.’”
Billy: At that time, I was not Catholic. It wasn’t a church wedding, because we were married in the priest’s house. Her folks had a reception at their house. She and I had rebuilt almost the entire interior of an old Dodge car, and we went to Silver Springs on our honeymoon.
Billy: The older I get, the more I value her presence and company. There’s many things involved in love. A person must listen and respect the wishes of the other person. Love just comes automatic.
Contact Loren Mayo at email@example.com