(above) Question: When did you know your spouse was the one?
“I knew the second I saw her, she was the one,” says Wallace. “We weren’t able to talk the first time we laid eyes on each other, so I made it my mission to meet her.”
Wallace & Shirley Powers
57 Years | Married June 1960
It may sound cliché, but for Wallace and Shirley Powers, it was love at first sight. Wallace had seen Shirley at a function without getting a chance to speak with her, but he knew he’d like to meet her. Luckily, soon after, they bumped into each other at a teachers’ meeting at Howard School, Shirley’s first teaching assignment in Chattanooga. They struck up a conversation, and “I knew immediately,” Wallace says. “I had the same feeling – he was somebody special,” acknowledges Shirley.
They married in June 1960 at a simple, sweet ceremony. “Nothing elaborate, we married at her parents’ home, standing before the mantle,” tells Wallace. Like many young newlyweds, they didn’t have much money for a honeymoon. Instead, they invested the money they did have to attend summer school at Tennessee State University. Shirley worked on a teaching certification, and Wallace worked toward his master’s degree.
Wallace has always admired Shirley’s patience, work ethic, and her strong relationship with God. Shirley says she was drawn to the same things in Wallace, “I was impressed with what he was doing. It was what I wanted to do in my own life, and I liked the idea of someone to share the same things with,” says Shirley.
The Powers take great pride in their children Wallace Jr., Denise, and Cindy, all of whom graduated from Notre Dame High School. “Our kids were honor students, involved in extracurricular activities, and never got into trouble. The training they received growing up has helped to carry them through life,” Shirley beams. Being school teachers encouraged Wallace and Shirley to lead by example, doing their best at all times, never willing to settle for second. “Our children have lived good, decent, honest lives, and we thank God most of all,” agrees Wallace.
In addition to putting God first, Shirley says the key to their marriage is treating each other with love and respect. Wallace advises new couples that the husband shouldn’t dominate the marriage, or vice versa. “Just because he’s the man, doesn’t mean he’s the boss. Don’t let your marriage be one-sided.”