By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
Dimple Caldwell’s 60-year romance with Bobby Caldwell ended at his death on Nov. 15, 2012.
Today is the 81-year-old widow’s second Valentine’s Day without her sweetheart, but she has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who make the day a special reminder of the family they built together.
“Bobby always remembered me and the girls on Valentine’s Day with a beautiful card and a box of candy or flowers,” Dimple Caldwell said. “Sometimes he would get our daughters a box of candy with a little doll on it.”
Valentine’s Day began as the Feast of St. Valentine, a religious observance to honor the memory of several Christian martyrs named Valentine. In the Middle Ages, however, the celebration transformed to a day to choose a sweetheart.
Widely considered a couples day, many people who are not currently in a romantic relationship could feel left out.
Not so for Brent McKnight, manager of Domino’s Pizza in Tupelo, who also celebrates his 47th birthday on Feb. 14.
“I celebrate anniversaries now instead of birthdays, and unfortunately I rarely get to celebrate my birthday/Valentine’s Day off,” McKnight said. “I have been with Domino’s for over 22 years, and Valentine’s Day is one of our busiest days of the year when all employees are expected to work.”
With Valentine’s Day on Friday this year, Domino’s busiest day of any week, McKnight expects he and the store’s other employees to be especially busy.
“Even though we aren’t a typical couples destination for this day, we make up for it with delivery to those that stay at home,” he said. “We have often found that couples go out to celebrate Valentine’s Day but leave money with their kids to order pizza.”
Dimple Caldwell’s son, Joe Caldwell, as well as her daughters, Tami Taylor and Lori Ann Stanford, live nearby in Alcorn County. She continues to live in the Pleasant Hill community home near Kossuth that she and her husband built early in their marriage. It’s the community where Bobby Caldwell spent his entire life.
“I was 18 years old when I first met my future husband,” she said. “The first time I saw him he was driving around town, circling what we called the Pickwick block in Corinth. I thought he was so cute with his black curly hair. Sometimes he would wave and honk his horn at me as I walked around the block with my girlfriends.”
She learned Bobby Caldwell had a sister who worked at the beauty salon where she got her hair done, and his sister played matchmaker.
“After that first date I knew he was the one for me, and I believe he thought I was the one for him,” Dimple Caldwell said. “We dated for about a year, then got married at his sister’s home on June 28, 1952.”
The same minister, the Rev. Smith Whiteside, who presided at their wedding also conducted their renewal of vows on their 50th anniversary.
“We also had 10 grandchildren by that time, and when we celebrated our 60th anniversary 10 years later in 2012, we had 10 great-grandchildren,” she said.
McKnight is not currently in a relationship. He moved to Tupelo from Oklahoma about a year ago with his two sons, Tim, 17, and Bobby, 15, both students at Tupelo High School. His older son Charles, 20, remains in Oklahoma where his mother also lives.
“We’re all making the adjustment,” he said.
As is Dimple Caldwell, after being part of a couple for three-fourths of her life.
“Sadly, Bobby’s memory began to fade as the years passed by,” she said. “He sometimes asked me how long we had been married. I told him we had been married 60 years, and he said he hoped it would be 60 more. I will miss my sweetheart so much this Valentine’s Day, but I know he is in heaven waiting for his sweetheart.”