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Salters still love each other after 53 years of marriage

Gigi Tinsley | 7/31/2014, 9 a.m.
Robert, the son of Addie and Daniel Salter and Mildred, the daughter of Mary Lizzie and Willie Albert Thomas met ...
Mildred Salter and Robert Salter

Robert, the son of Addie and Daniel Salter and Mildred, the daughter of Mary Lizzie and Willie Albert Thomas met at Oconee Junior/ Senior High school in Dublin, GA. Robert took Mildred to the Junior and Senior Prom in 1955 and 1957. They are both only children. They married on July 1, 1961 by Rev. Fields, the pastor of Faith Temple Apostolic Church. He was asked not to tell anyone about their marriage.

At that time, Robert, 22, was still living at home but Robert had not told his parents about their plans to get married. Mildred was 21 years-old and she too remained at her parents’ home with their secret.

Three days later, Robert’s mother got the news and waited for him to get home.“Son, you are a grown man,” she said. “You went and got married, so you cannot live here any more. You must go and get your wife and take care of her. Whatever it takes son, you must always take care of your family.”

At the age of eight, Robert lost his left arm. “My mother sent me to the Piggly Wiggly Store. But, I decided to go to the crystal Ice Company, instead,” Robert said. “I was playing around with the machine I thought was off and stuck my hand in it. The machine was not off and it crushed my entire hand and arm.”

In 1965, Robert came to Miami with his friend, Lawrence “Bud” Wright looking for a job and a place to live. Later that same year, Mildred and their son, Randle Keith, moved to Miami.

Robert was working at a car dealership, when Mr. Alva Chapman sent him to the Miami Herald to apply for a position. Robert went to the Herald but they did not want to hire a man with only one arm.

But after he told them that he was sent there by Chapman and would have to go back and tell him they did not want him, they immediately changed their mind.

He was hired and became supervisor of the Environmental department and his wife, Mildred, was a file clerk for the Neighbors Section. They both retired in 1996.

Mildred and Robert celebrated 53 years of marriage on July 1.

When asked what advice do they have for young couples or those planning on getting married? Mildred said, “Marriage is not easy but you must learn to take the bitter with the sweet. Always communicate with each other. When you are angry, cool off and then discuss what it is that has upset you. And learn to joke with each other and have fun.”

Robert added, “Mildred gave me a zipper because she says I don’t know when to shut up. So, when she thinks I have said enough, she says, ‘Get the zipper.’ She knows how to shut me up. But, seriously, love is what really keeps a marriage together.”

Their neighbor for many years, Ladi G. Jenkins, thinks highly of Mildred and Robert.

“They are a very fine couple as husband and wife and parents. They truly took their vows literally and live their lives together, for better and for worse,” Jenkins said.