Morgan Hogue was filling his school’s wood-burning stove when a wisp of a girl caught his eye.
“Come here, Little Bit, and warm your hands,” Hogue told the 4-foot-11 cutie, whose name was Doris.
Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest pickup line of all time, but it was enough to spark a romance between the 16-year-old and her 18-year-old suitor. Two years later, on April 9, 1944, they were married at a country church in East Texas. Morgan wore slacks and a tie, Doris a gold suit and her first pair of high heels.
That was 70 years ago, and a visit to the Hogues’ north Arlington home reveals that their affection hasn’t waned.
“My love for her runs so deep, it’s unexplainable,” said Morgan Hogue, 90. “She’s always been there for me. She’s always been there for our kids. I don’t know what more a man could ask for.”
Like his true better half, Doris Hogue, 87, gently steers her husband’s dreaminess back toward reality.
“Once in a while, you are going to have spats,” she said. “But you learn to work things out. He’s been a very good provider.”
The couple’s marital longevity is an inspiration to their friends at Arlington’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, where the Hogues are among 100 or so congregants. Pastor Robin Webb said the couple’s commitment is a result of their love for each other and for God.
“They are a unique couple,” Webb said. “I think part of it is a fierce loyalty they have to each other. They’ve built their marriage on principles that are timeless because they’re biblical principles. They truly love each other.”
Morgan Hogue’s best friend, Eddie Stiffler, who looks after the couple, said their generation took marriage vows seriously. Stiffler insisted that the Hogues do something special to celebrate their 70th anniversary, so he took them out to eat at Cotton Patch Cafe.
“He had chicken-fried steak and she had meatloaf,” said Stiffler, 79, adding that the restaurant helped them celebrate with a free piece of pie.
After marrying, the couple had three children — Randy, Carolyn and David — and moved throughout the Southwest after Morgan Hogue became a civil engineer. In 1955, he landed a job at Arlington’s General Motors plant, where he worked on the production line until he retired as a line supervisor in 1980. Doris stayed at home to raise the children.
“She always had a hot meal waiting for me,” said Morgan, who also worked for 20 years as an Arlington volunteer firefighter.
Thanks to a forgive-and-forget attitude, the couple said they’ve gotten along well. But when asked if there’s anything she doesn’t adore about her sweetie, Doris Hogue conceded that there was one small issue.
“He has got to have his hair perfectly combed,” she said. “He fixes the front and I fix the back.”
Morgan Hogue has had cancer and heart problems, while his wife has struggled with her back and with eye problems that prevent her from driving. Still, being as active as possible has kept them going in their old age.
“He still mows his own yard,’’ Stiffler said. “He’s an inspiration.”
After so many years of marriage, when one of them dies, so will a big part of the survivor. Until that happens, they will treat each moment as if it is their final one together.
“I tell her every day I love her,” Morgan Hogue said. “I don’t take it for granted.”