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‘Singing is one of my greatest loves, and I still sing to her’

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By Je’Don Holloway-Talley
Special to the Birmingham Times

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Erica Wright ewright@birminghamtimes.com Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

 

ANGELINE AND LARRY WOODRUFF

Live: Huffman

Married: March 2, 1984

Met: Larry and Angeline met in 1982 on Miles College campus. Larry, then 30, was on campus at his alma mater in celebration of his fraternity’s [Nasiha Roho Adinasi] Founder’s Day. Angeline, then 22, was a senior at Miles College when she locked eyes with Larry in passing on the courtyard. “Angeline was walking across campus when our eyes met,” Larry said, “it was love at first sight.” Angeline said,

“our eyes just kind of met and we started talking.”

First date: “We went to the movies to see ET, and then we went for Pizza at Pizza Hut,” Angeline recalled. “I cried at that movie…ET was going home, and we were happy about that, but sad the relationship between he and the little boy was ending,” she laughed. Larry said he was overjoyed that he and Angeline were out on a date. “It was God’s blessing and our destiny, for both of us to be able to connect and be together.”

The proposal: Larry proposed in June of 1983. “I was at her house and I just kind of sprung the question on her there,” Larry said. “We talked about it, and she agreed to it.”

“It made me feel real good,” Angeline said. “It was something that I knew I wanted. I wanted to be his wife, he was a good person and I felt he would be a good husband to me. I was very happy about it.”

Larry says he knew early on that he wanted to settle down and start a life with Angeline, “there was no doubt about that,” he said. “I was confident in the relationship, we did have commonalities. I’m somewhat of a gentle, easy going guy, and there was nothing that she had to wonder about,” Larry said, “I was open with her about who I was, and what I was about.”

“One of the big things about Larry for me, is my parents and grandmother felt that Larry was the right person for me,” Angeline said. “They felt that he was a respectful and respectable man, and they could see his love for me. They knew that I would be fine with him.”

The wedding: An intimate ceremony at their pastor’s home, in the spring of 1984. The couple was draped in “off-white semi-formal attire, we were beautiful,” Angeline said. “It was an intimate affair. Family and friends. We went through the ceremony, and following the ceremony, we dined and fellowshipped together,” Larry said.

“I was still very excited about it [getting married], especially to become his bride,” Angeline said. “I’m a very sensitive person and I remember shedding a tear of happiness and delight because my heart was so full of joy. My heart was complete,” she said.

The honeymoon: The couple honeymooned around the town. “We spent some time together on our own,” Larry said. “We got a hotel room and spent a few days together alone, connecting as new husband and wife. We were looking at what’s to come.” They were anticipating the arrival of their first child together.

Words of wisdom: “I think one of the big things that have kept us together is that we like each other as individuals in the same way that we love each other passionately,” Angeline said. “Those two are at the same level. We like each other in the same passionate way that we love each other, and that’s how we’ve been able to maintain the way we have, because it’s still fresh like it was [back] then.

You have to keep “courting” the Woodruff’s say. “He’s always been the same as he was when he was courting me,” Angeline said. “The spontaneity of things, having fun, and talking to each other. They may seem small, but they’re large to us. I’ve been made to feel that I am the most important to him.”

Vows are meant to be taken literally.

”We took our wedding vows seriously, and the part that really stands out to me is the ‘in sickness and in health part,’” Larry said. “That proved real to me, because she proved herself faithful to our vows in every way. Every health situation we faced, my lack of employment (at times), we’ve hung in there together, through thick and thin, for richer or poorer, and we’re still hanging in there. She’s been an angel to me.”

Happily ever after: The Woodruff’s live in the Huffman area and have three adult children, Larry James Woodruff, Dana ‘Lady Woo’ Woodruff, and Justin Woodruff. Larry is pastor of Holy Light Church in downtown Birmingham and Angeline is a case manager at the Sickle Cell Foundation in Birmingham.

“Life is beautiful,” Angeline said. “I feel that our biggest joy is the peace that we have. We get along very well. There’s just a ‘peace’ and a joy that living life with him has brought me.”

“I like being able to look back and see the great things that have come out of our marriage,” Larry said. “We are still happy together, and we foresee the same thing for our remaining time on earth together. That is our main pursuit. To enjoy one another even more, especially when she [Angeline] reaches retirement. We can’t wait to do some of the things we desire to do with our family and our four grandchildren.

One more thing: “She still makes me weak and knocks me off my feet,” Larry said.  “Singing is one of my greatest loves, and I still sing to her, and it often reminds us of our past.”

“And that is a mutual feeling,” Angeline said.