George Smith: Hulon ’n Modena: $5 wedding, 15-cent ice cream
Feb 03, 2013 | 4705 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hulon and Modena Ogle plan to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Saturday. (Anniston Star photo by George Smith)
Hulon and Modena Ogle plan to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Saturday. (Anniston Star photo by George Smith)
“Hulon, do you take this woman...”
* * *
WEDOWEE, Feb. 4, 1943 — A young, skinny kid is just days away from heading to Fort McClellan and World War II.

“This woman,” a dark-haired beauty who has not yet finished high school, stands by Hulon Ogle’s side. Her name is Modena Reaves and she’s “running away from home to get married.”

Thing is, she didn’t have far to run. She is a senior at nearby Woodland High School, just eight miles east of Wedowee. She tells the beginning ...

“We eloped, went to Wedowee and got married. We kept it a secret for two weeks, but my mother knew. I had to tell her. I had this blue velvet dress. It was my Sunday dress, a hand-me-down from a cousin, but I had put it on to go to school. Momma asked me about it and I had to tell her. Thing is, she had eloped, too, so she couldn’t say too much.”

Modena Ogle still has the dress and her only regret is that on Saturday she won't be able to wear it. That’s what 88 years will do for you.

But then there are the 70 years she has held hands with Hulon Ogle, now in his 90th year. They started on 71 years Saturday afternoon at the First Baptist Church at Fort McClellan when the Rev. Buddy Nelson joined Hulon and Modena in “holy matrimony” … again.

One other thing you might like to know …

“Avon lady calling …”

Modena, who qualifies as a “senior” beauty if anyone does, is an “Avon Lady.” And has been since 1958. That’s 55 years of “calling” and she’s still out there doing it.

“I’m still Avoning, but not in a big way like I used to do. I still get out and call on customers, some come here to the house, and I’ve enjoyed it so much. In a way, it’s now a lifesaver for me. I love to be with people and I love to laugh and talk.”

And she holds close the memory of the night she first met her future husband.

“He lived pretty close by, but I’d never met him. Then he came to church one night and we were standing outside an old school bus. A friend of mine introduced us and when we got on the bus he sat down beside me. He walked in the church with me, too, sat by me. We sat up front, but it was a while before we even held hands.”

It’s a stretch to say Modena married Hulon for his money. Truth is, he didn’t have any.

“I borrowed $25 from Mr. John A. White — he was a school teacher. I bought two tires for my ’35 Chevrolet and spent the next $5 getting married.”

The “honeymoon” was sort of low-budget, too.

“We went to Morrison’s Crossroads and I bought her a 15-cent ice cream. I bought me a nickel one. And then I took her home.”

His dad found out Modena Reaves was his daughter-in-law a few days later.

Modena gets a laugh out of the telling …

“When Hulon got on the bus to go up to Fort McClellan he leaned over and kissed me. Hulon’s brother saw it and went home and told his daddy that he thought we were married. Back then, you didn’t kiss in public unless you were. Mr. Ogle went to Wedowee and looked up the record.”

The “second” marriage will be a gathering of the clan … three daughters, six grandkids, and 12 great-grands. Throw in spouses and some other kin, and better than 40 will be on hand … not counting friends.

Recent years have not been easy on Hulon.

He’s had five back surgeries and once spent 59 days in the hospital.

But he’s up every morning at the kitchen table having breakfast with Modena. His feelings come in short, but eloquent words …

“She’s like a little doll. When I look at her I have a full heart.”

From Modena …

“When I look at him, I see someone I wanted to live my life with, someone I’ve loved very much. We love each other and he tells me quite often that he loves me.”

Was she worth the 15-cent ice cream cone?

“No … I’d spend a dollar and 15 cents on her now.”

Thanks for visiting … Hulon and Modena thank you, too.

George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email:

Editor's note: This column has been modified from the version originally published to correct the date of the Modenas' "second wedding." The ceremony will be Saturday, Feb. 9.

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