Home Love Stories Black Love ‘We were broke . . . it was a test to see...

‘We were broke . . . it was a test to see whether we would make it’ 

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.


Live: Forestdale

Married: April 23, 1977

First met: Early 1970’s. Steve and Ida both attended Wenonah High School. Steve sang in the choir, which is where they first met. “We were in the choir room standing around the piano room and singing. I saw Ida and I told her, ‘I want to bite your neck,’” he laughed. “The TV show ‘Dark Shadows’ was really big around then. I asked her for her number, but she gave me the wrong number.”

“I did it on purpose,” she laughed. “I didn’t have time for boys. I thought I didn’t want to be bothered, and I had stuff going on at home… But he just wouldn’t stop pursuing me. He was so persistent. And my brother Glenn was giving him clues about me, where I was, when my classes were. Steve would be sitting outside of my classroom, singing to me when he should be in class himself.”

Steve said he just couldn’t give up. “My wife is fine,” he said. “She was a catch then and she’s a catch now. I knew she was the one when I saw her. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew.” 

First date: Early 1970’s. Steve and Ida didn’t really have a particular first date. Soon after they met, Ida came down with pneumonia. “The prognosis was not good for me. I was at Lloyd Noland Hospital, and Steve would show up. He would hold my hand and sing to me … My mom always told us stories about a knight in shining armor, and he was that knight for me,” she said. “My aunt played a part in it. She worked in the hospital, and she let him in. So, there were always people working to push us together.”

Ida was in and out of the hospital and she and Steve saw each other each chance they could get once she recovered. “If there was an opportunity, we were together,” Steve said. 

Ida said her favorite times with him were picnics at Oak Mountain. “We’d just lay out in the park and spend time together. Those were our dates,” she said. 

The turn: Steve said he wanted to marry Ida from the beginning. “I just had eyes for no one else. It was love at first sight across the piano. I was lovestruck,” he said.

Ida said they’ve grown in love together, and there were things that stood out. “He had so much energy when we were younger. Always singing, tapping and whistling, and he gave that energy to me. I loved dancing with him,” she said. “Later on in life, another person came out. That other person was sensitive and good to me. I had Nina and they were like two peas in a pod. Also, anytime I needed anything, I knew I could just call him and he’d show up. He was always my knight.”

The proposal: 1977. There were several proposals, though none of them were particularly flashy. “I would always tell her: let’s get married,” Steve said. “From the time we started dating to the time she said ‘yes.’” Ida laughed. “He would ask, I’d say no. He asked twice. The third time, though, I said yes,” she said. 

The wedding: April 23, 1977. “My mom found a minister, but I don’t remember his name,” Ida said. “We didn’t do anything but show up.” The wedding took place in the Collegeville projects, where Ida’s mom lived at the time. The colors were cream. “It was my mother’s cream dress. I still have it,” she said. 

Most memorable moment for the groom was when he first saw Ida. “She came down those steps from the apartment. She was so beautiful,” Steve said. 

Most memorable moment for the bride was the tear. “I came down the steps to see Steve, and he had a tear in his eye,” she said. “Our wedding was such a special moment for me. You can feel that electricity in your heart when you love someone. At first, I thought I was sick,” she laughed. 

The couple didn’t honeymoon. “We were living off scholarship money,” Ida said. “We were broke, but I think it was a test to see whether or not we would make it. And we did.” 

Words of wisdom: “If you’re going to be married, or if this is going to be your woman, do it for life,” Steve said. “Make a conscious decision in that. There’s no breaking up and going home to mom and starting all over again. Starting over is unfruitful, so be in it for the long haul.” 

Expect change, Ida said. “If you marry young, that young person has to grow into an older person. Everybody doesn’t love that next person,” she said. “There are a lot of people who marry young and don’t make it. Maybe they don’t expect those changes, but they need to embrace them.”

It’s also about give and take, she said. “You have to manage household affairs. There is no ‘she’s just the woman, he’s just the man,’ you have to get away from that because it’s a partnership. Share those responsibilities,” she said. 

“I run everything in my house,” Steve laughed. “I do dishes, I do laundry. When we were younger I took care of the kids. I went to all of their events outside of school. If you don’t take care of your children, somebody else will.”

Happily ever after: Steve and Ida have three daughters: Nina, Shalina and Egypt and two grandchildren: Steve, 21, and E’va Mae Martine, three months. 

Steve, raised in Ishkooda, retired from Lawson State Community College in 2012 as a post-secondary educational instructor. He attended Athens State University and Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocational and technology education. Steve is a member of the Birmingham Sunlights, an a cappella gospel group that has performed around the world. 

Ida, raised in Brownsville, has a bachelor of art’s degree in accounting from Miles College and a master’s degree in accounting from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. She worked for the City of Birmingham in accounting for over 20 years, and currently works for Sheppard-Harris and Associates. She was the first female chief accountant at Bessemer Utilities for 12 years.

Steve enjoys playing basketball and singing in his spare time, while Ida enjoys dancing and sewing. The couple sing to their granddaughter over FaceTime every night.

Updated at 11:47 a.m. on 2/17/2021 to include job position for  Mrs. Taylor.