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A Life Together | By Rebekah Sanderlin

More than 70 years ago M.J. Weeks of Newton Grove and Dorothy Hawley of the Williams Lake area in Sampson County met on a blind date. “His friend was dating my friend. My friend asked me if I would like to go on a date with Mayon and I said, ‘What kind of name is Mayon?’” Dorothy Weeks recalled, laughing. Turns out that blind date would forever change both of their lives. M.J. and Dorothy dated for about eight months before going to Dillon, SC to be married by a justice of the peace on March 11, 1941. They will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary this year. “It would have to be some sort of magic for us to be together for 70 years, don’t you think?” M.J. said.

Seventy years is a long time, indeed, and during those years the Weeks’ have experienced a great deal together. Early into their marriage, just after Dorothy had given birth to their first child, a boy they named Mayon, M.J. was drafted into the Army and sent to Germany during World War II. Dorothy and little Mayon moved in with her family for the 15 months that M.J. was gone. After the war, the Weeks’ moved to Portsmouth, Va. for a while before settling in Fayetteville in 1946. They had more children, daughters Jane and Julie, and M.J. worked first in a hardware store, then in the advertising department for The Fayetteville Observer, before eventually becoming a real estate developer. He built houses and other buildings all over Fayetteville before totally retiring about 10 years ago. Now he and Dorothy have nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren and they live in a house next to their daughter Jane and her husband Keith. Over the years M.J. and Dorothy have spent a lot of time traveling together, visiting nearly every state and 31 countries. It’s a hobby they both enjoy, but they’re quick to note that marriage, like traveling, is not always trouble-free.

“We’ve had a some wonderful times, but sometimes he does things that I don’t like and sometimes I do things he doesn’t like,” Dorothy said. “But we get over it very easily. I have learned that the best thing we can do is just not argue about it.” “Yes, I put up with you very well,” M.J. joked in response. “You have to learn to compromise and be willing to accept the fact that the other person has their own views,” he said. “And you have to sincerely love each other. I can’t imagine living without my wife,” M.J. said.

M.J. said that young couples now seem to be less likely to stay together than couples from his generation, “I think today people care more about living their own lives than about living their lives together,” he said. Dorothy paused for a minute when asked if she has any regrets from their 70 years of marriage. “Regrets?” she asked. “The only thing I regret is not having a house or a church wedding.” “She still gives me a hard time about that, even today.” MJ said, sighing, shaking his head and smiling.