Blanche Bailey reflects on her 48-year marriage.

In the early 1940s, a 16-year-old Blanche spent every Friday night dancing at Middletown Century Club. One night turned out to be more special than the rest.

Eighteen-year-old Franklin Bailey from Cecilton, Maryland asked her to dance.

Lifelong Odessa resident Blanche said she was interested in him, but she did not give into his advances quickly. She said she “played hard to get.”

“I liked him, but I was just testing him out.” Blanche said laughing. “I wanted to make sure he was the right one.”

Every Friday night, the two would meet up at Century Club. After the sixth week, she knew he was the man for her. One year later, Franklin asked Blanche to marry him. She could not remember exactly where he proposed, but she described it as non-traditional. He didn’t get down on one knee. She remembered him just saying, “Let’s get married.”

About two years later, in 1943, Franklin and Blanche married at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa. Both were nervous, she remembered, but soon enough they would begin a marriage that would last nearly 50 years.

The two were married for 48 years before Franklin died in 1991.

The Baileys spent their life running several crop and dairy farms in Maryland and the MOT area. Although running the farms was a large part of their life, Blanche said her favorite memory was the birth of their first child Frank Jr. 

“I was happy when I had him. I mean really happy,” she said.

Franklin and Blanche had three sons: Frank Jr., Michael and Jimmy — known as Bo. All of their children helped out milking the cows and harvesting crops. Doing the “manual labor,” as she described it. Blanche’s family has grown substantially. Now she has eight grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

Frank Jr. said he didn’t remember any specific traditions his parents had throughout the years, but he knew they were always in love.

Blanche said, “He was good to me, really good to me.”

Her best advice to give to any couple is to have strong communication to limit fighting. She doesn’t remember fighting with Franklin too often — neither does Frank Jr. — but she said he would often leave the room to avoid any argument. Blanche’s daughter-in-law Sandi Bailey said she remembers hearing stories about Franklin picking non-serious fights with Blanche and then leaving the room chuckling, which always drove Blanche crazy.

“He would leave the house if there was an argument as I would keep on hollering,” Blanche said laughing. 

Franklin died in April 1991 from heart failure, two years before their 50th wedding anniversary. She said her favorite part about the marriage was how well he treated her and how well he took care of their family. 

Throughout the years, their lives changed, but one thing that seemed to stay constant was their dance nights.

“The two would always go to dances on Saturday nights and fire company banquets,” Sandi said. “They were still partying and having a good time throughout the years.”