Special to Atmore News
Travis and Dorothy Baggett of Atmore are celebrating their 77th year of marriage on November 13, much to their own dismay. At 96 and 94 years of age, Travis and Dorothy have been thinking for a long time that their actual wedding date was November 10, 1942, but after their children were able to get an official copy of their license, the couple found out they were off by three days. They also discovered they were married in 1943, not 1942. MawMaw, as she is called by her children and great-grandchildren, said it has been a long time – even a lifetime for some perhaps. From Castleberry, Alabama, Travis is a direct descendant of Jesse Baggett, the original founder of Castleberry. He has outlived all 11 of his siblings.
At 19, he met Dorothy Fussell of Evergreen, who had just turned 17 that summer. “I had just served in World War II as a Navy Fireman, and I had made it home. Between her looks and her cooking, she had me,” Travis (PawPaw) admits.
The couple married later that year after only two dates.
“Back then there wasn’t any of this going out on a date too much,” MawMaw said. “If you enjoyed somebody’s company, you just held on to that, and obviously, I guess we have just held on to each other. I wouldn’t know how to be single if I had to,” she said with a smile.
The 90-lb. great-grandmother is known throughout the community for baking her doctors coconut cakes and pecan pies. “Cooking is my therapy. It’s all I know.”
PawPaw doesn’t complain. “In all of our 77 years together, he has never eaten leftovers,” she adds.
MawMaw is getting ready to host the family Thanksgiving with her mouth-watering turkey and dressing – all made from scratch. Her family certainly agrees that she has the touch when it comes to the kitchen.
She has six brothers and six sisters. All are deceased except one, Sarah, who also married a Baggett.
“Travis and I have been through a lot of things,” MawMaw often reminds her grandchildren. “Some of them have been wonderful, and a lot have been so sad that you wonder what God is up to.”
Her family knows that she is referring to the loss of their oldest son, Steve, who was home from the Marines when his death occurred almost 50 years ago.
Travis, a retired Alabama Department of Corrections officer, credits Dorothy’s cooking for keeping him around this long. “I look back now and know that she has worked hard, raising our boys and me too, always having every little thing done. I had the easy job compared to her at home.”
The couple also says that God, laughter and “a little meanness” is the reason they have had a long-lasting marriage.
“Sometimes I have wanted to give up, but family is too important. I believe in commitment. I believe in staying the course,” MawMaw said.
The Baggetts can’t really get out and go as they once did. After all, PawPaw gave up his driver’s license when he turned 94, but he can still enjoy a good-natured joke and a nice hot meal any day – as long as MawMaw is right there with him and it’s her cookin’ he is eating, especially ham hock and rice!
The Baggetts have four sons: Steve (deceased); Donnie; Ronnie (Margaret); and Garry (Vicki). Their grandchildren are Steven, Krystal, Alex (Kaylee), Melissa, Corry and Lexxi. They also have five great-grandchildren.