Valentine's Day Special: Local couple married 78 years - WSMV Channel 4

Valentine's Day Special: Local couple married 78 years

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

1934 - it was a year Bonnie and Clyde made headlines, Shirley Temple became a star and Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House. For Brice Oldham, 1934 is the year he married Izette, the love of his life. Both of them 96 years old today, and Brice and Izette Oldham have been married 78 years.

"That's a long time," laughed Brice Oldham. "I realize that. I realize that. It's about a record that I know of."

The Oldhams' story starts in 1932 in Dixon Springs, TN, when Brice Oldham spotted his future wife at a get-together on a Saturday night.

"She's just what I wanted, I reckon," said Brice Oldham. "I asked her for a date the next Saturday night. Weekends were a big courting time back in those days. She broke a date with another guy, and it started right there."

Two years passed, and in 1934 on Christmas day, Brice Oldham raced down to a county clerk's house, the clerk called a preacher and the Oldhams tied the knot.

"You've got to remember this was back in depression days," said Oldham. "Pictures. You asked me about pictures. We didn't take any pictures. Nobody had the money to buy a camera."

The heat soaring, the land dry and the country in the midst of the Great Depression, the Oldhams' first year of marriage on their farm was a trying time.

"Nobody had any cash," said Brice Oldham. "There was no cash flow in those days. People only worried about how much property they had."

Through it all, the two remained happy together.

"We thought we were, yes," said Brice Oldham. "We didn't much know the difference. Everybody was wearing the same shoe. We weren't in a class by ourselves by any means."

A few years passed and the Oldhams moved closer to Nashville. In 1944, Brice Oldham went into the service in Spokane, WA in the final year of World War II.

"I was a little small guy," said Brice Oldham. "I weighed in at the service at 116 pounds. I said, 'Sir, I thought you only wanted big men for MPs.' He says, 'Oh, you'll do.'" 

After the war, Oldham came home to his wife, and in the 1950s, now with two boys, Brice Oldham became a salesman traveling from Hendersonville, TN to Lietchfield, KY.

"I went on the road with a catalogue," said Brice Oldham. "They called them drummers back in those days. I was a drummer. In less than a year, he'd raised my salary to $85 a week. You could given me three shots of morphine, and I wouldn't be any happier."

The decades passed, styles evolved, music changed, but Oldhams stayed strong.

"I believe we've come closer," said Brice Oldham. "We've come closer as we age. I just try to do anything in the world to help her and make her happy as I can."

In ill health, Izette Oldham couldn't be here for this interview, but there's not a day goes by Brice Oldham doesn't go see her at her nursing home.

"She looks forward to it," said Brice Oldham. "All of them say she keeps asking for me, all the time. I usually spend an hour with her, so you'd think we were two love doves. Oh, she likes to hear me tell her that I love her. It's been a tough route, but it's been a joyful route. God's been awful good to us, awful good to us. I thank him every day for just being so good to us."

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