Mattie and Minter, also known as Ma-Maw and Pa-Paw, are the quintessential Southern grandparents. They have been married for 66 years, fuss more than Tom and Jerry, and are deafer than doornails. Don’t ever go to Ma-Maw’s house (it’s her house and Pa-Paw knows it) saying you are hungry because she will not let you leave until you are stuffed to the gills. This is an interview I did with them a few weeks ago to show you a day in the life of Mattie and Minter. (Side note: We have never figured out why Mattie calls Minter “Munter”).
How did you two meet?
Minter: “She was the spokesperson for all the girls” “She done the talking”
Mattie: (referring to earlier) “Just like I was hollerin right then, carrying on”
What do you remember about your wedding day 66 years ago?
Minter: “We got married in SC, before a judge, in SC you just sent money and your license and it was a shorter waiting period than in North Carolina.”
Mattie: “Mama wanted me to get married at home, but mama would a redone the whole house and I knew daddy wouldn’t want that.”
Mattie: “Saturday morning we were waiting, and I remember my daddy saying ‘I wish munter would hurry and come on, I want to go and hoe corn,’ daddy worked through the week in a shop in Lenior, so he had to work at home in the evenings and on Saturdays.”
What world events have affected you the most during your lifetime?
Minter on Great Depression: “There were no jobs after high school, one opening for CC Camp. It was a great experience, I volunteered for everything. We went all across the east coast working on projects, ended up in Utah. I took home 16 cents a day, and they sent my family the other part. We didn’t need any money, because they furnished everything, didn’t need any money, from a postage stamp to underwear…nothing. We even had entertainment, free, horse races, motorcicle races.”
On FDR: “Come to think about it, he was a great man. As of today, every senior citizen is drawing social security and that was his plan, he did something great for the country. Worked hard to get people back to work. Whether people accept it or not he did something great in history. Blue Ridge parkway was because of him. “
What is the successful key to marriage?
Mattie: “Just fuss all you want to—(jokingly) nooooo, as you get older you’re not as easy going as you were when you got married—munter’s got awful ill” *Minter looks at her and shakes his head and says “shhhhh”
Minter: “Well I just go along and you know, keep everybody happy, don’t worry if things are gonna happen, 99 out of 100 times it wont, you think bad things will happen they probably wont.”
Mattie: “I didn’t marry the head chief I married an Indian” *Minter rolls his eyes
What advice do you have for the young people today?
Mattie: “Not to giv’em everything, reach out and make your own way too”
Minter: “I advise diet and exercise– be careful what you put in your body.”