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story.lead_photo.caption Lucille and Michael Mothershed will celebrate their 45th anniversary next month. Family has always been important to their relationship. “Our parents got along so well. It was just like it was meant to be,” says Lucille. “I have some awesomely good in-laws.”

Michael Mothershed smiled at a cute girl in his neighborhood grocery store, but he didn't talk to her. That turned out to be a wise move for the time being.

He was chatting with the head cashier in 1971 when he noticed a girl he hadn't seen before working as a cashier.

The first time I saw my future spouse:

She says: “I thought he was so cool. He had beautiful teeth and he was so handsome.”

He says: “She had a nice smile and I liked her hairstyle. We stared at each other and smiled.”

On our wedding day:

She says: “I could not believe that I almost ran into Mike at the store that morning. Our wedding day was beautiful, although it was very humid and hot.”

He says: “I became nervous, my mouth was dry — I didn’t know if I could get the words out. When I saw my wife coming down the aisle it took me back to the first time I had seen her.”

My advice for a long happy marriage is:

She says: “If you put God first he will always lead you and guide you. Communication is so vital in any marriage. We’re not perfect but we try not to make the same mistakes over and over. That’s just us.”

He says: “It’s OK to have single friends, male or female, if all can be involved in social activities and if the spouse can accept them. It’s all about trust, compromise and love.”

"I was living at home with my parents and my mom sent me to the store to buy some stuff and, to tell you the truth, after awhile I got to the point where I would say, 'Mom, we're getting kind of low on this or that. Do you think I need to go to the store and pick some up for you?'" he says. "That gave me an excuse to go to the store."

One day he went and there was no one in the new girl's checkout line.

"I told myself, 'It's now or never.' So I go through her line and we look at each other for a minute. She said, 'How are you today, sir?' and she was checking things out like the speed of light," he says. "The whole time, I was staring at her and I noticed how soft and smooth her skin was and what a beautiful smile she had and ... well, my mouth got dry and the words wouldn't come."

His dry mouth wasn't the only thing keeping him quiet, though. He had a girlfriend at the time.

"I wasn't the kind of guy to have multiple girlfriends," he says. "That just wasn't me."

He was glad he hadn't said anything when a few weeks later his girlfriend hosted a house party and introduced him to her friend, Lucille Oliver -- the girl from the grocery store.

"I thought, 'Oh, man, thinking back, what if I had done the wrong thing?'" says Michael, a senior at Central High School at the time.

Lucille, a junior, had heard her friend talk about Michael, a football and track star, but Lucille didn't recognize him because she had just been reassigned to Central from Mann High School. She was in a work-study program and was only at school for a few hours a day.

After graduation, Michael went to the University of Arkansas at Monticello and he and his girlfriend drifted apart. In the spring of 1972, when Lucille was a senior, he was back in town and he asked her to go on a double-date.

"I never said, you'll be with someone else and I'll be with someone else, but that's the way it wound up," says Michael.

He didn't have the nerve to ask her out for himself, he admits. He had dated her best friend, after all.

"I thought about the ... what do they call it? The girl code? I was afraid of being shot down is what it was," he says.

He could tell that Lucille wasn't enjoying his friend's company. He wasn't really enjoying his date either.

Eventually, he asked her out himself. She cocked her head in response, he says.

"It was like, 'Are you trying to put one over on me?'" he says. "I said, 'Oh, it's just going to be me and you.' And then she gave me that smile that caught my attention in the first place. I said, this is going to work out just fine."

They drove around on their first date, up and down Roosevelt Road, past the fairgrounds, and they stopped at an ice cream parlor.

They dated long distance after that, with Lucille going to Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College in Pine Bluff -- now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff -- and Michael still in Monticello.

They only lived five blocks from each other in Little Rock, so when they were both home, he would just walk to her house. Sometimes he borrowed his father's car to drive to Pine Bluff for a game or a dance.

It wasn't long before they decided to marry.

"It was not one of those down on one knee kind of things," he says. "We talked about it and decided we were mature enough to handle it. Forty-five years later I would say that was a good bet."

They exchanged their vows on July 4, 1973, in Pilgrim Valley Baptist Church in Little Rock.

"My mother-in-law made my wedding dress and my veil. My mother got someone to make her dress and she and my mother-in-law collaborated on how to have it made," says Lucille.

They got a ride with Michael's brother-in-law and sister when they left the church.

"They drove us all around downtown with 'Just Married' on the back of his Caddy," says Michael. "We had a great time."

Lucille retired from the Little Rock School District and from Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Fla., as a teacher, coach and instructional coach. Michael retired from Fidelity Investments.

The Mothersheds, who live in Little Rock, have two children -- Michael Mothershed of Manhattan, Kan., and Michelle Mothershed of Little Rock. They have five grandchildren.

"We've had our life's challenges, but God has been so good to us," says Lucille. "We cannot complain."

If you have an interesting how-we-met story or if you know someone who does, please call (501) 425-7228 or email:

Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette
Lucille Oliver and Michael Mothershed were married on July 4, 1973. “I tell everyone that I picked the date so she could remember but it really wasn’t so I could remember,” says Michael. “It was because we were going to start off our life together with a bang so why not the Fourth of July.”

High Profile on 06/17/2018

Print Headline: He became a regular shopper to check out cashier

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