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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Henry Ell Frye, February 18 and 26, 1992. Interview C-0091. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Courtship with wife

Frye describes meeting his wife and their early courtship during their college years. Both students at North Carolina A&T State University, they became romantically involved after attending a dance together. Frye recalls with fondness how she wrote him letters everyday while he was stationed in Japan during the mid-1950s. They were married upon his return to Greensboro.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Henry Ell Frye, February 18 and 26, 1992. Interview C-0091. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Was it through the student assembly that you met your wife?
No, that's an interesting story. We had an organization known as Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society which was primarily in black colleges and universities. And I was the dean of pledges. We sent letters to freshmen who had averages, academic averages above some certain level. And so one of the persons that I sent one to was E. Shirley Taylor. And I think that's the way I first met her. But in terms of actually becoming boyfriend/girlfriend, that occurred later. I did not have a steady girlfriend at that time. But there was a young lady that I liked. And so I had invited her to come to something, some party that we were having, a dance or something. And she kept putting me off. And after about the third time, she said she hadn't decided whether she was going home that weekend or something. And I said the next decent lady I see walking past I'm going to ask her to go to this dance with me. And the next one I saw was Shirley. And so I asked her if she would go to the dance with me. She put me off. Any rate, we were in the same class, incidentally, so she had figured she would see me at the class, at the next class meeting, and she had planned all of the time to go, but she wasn't going to give me an immediate answer. Any rate, it turned out that I didn't go to the class the next day. And so I think she got real upset because she really wanted to go. But to make a long story short she finally, she finally got word to me that she would go. And it's very interesting, at that dance, just prior to that, I had gone to some dances with some other ladies, who, for some reason or other, would not leave me, you understand. Every dance, they would either catch hold of me or stay with me and I didn't like that. I liked to kind of be free at that time. And Shirley - if I wanted to dance she danced, if I didn't, she went on with somebody else. And I liked that. And so one thing led to another, and we became fairly close before I left A & T. Then after I left and went into service she wrote me every day that I was in Japan. [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
She wrote a letter every day. And she had some beautiful pink stationery and blue stationery. And I think it had a little scent to it. But I looked forward to, I could tell when the mail came, I could spot her letters among the mail anytime. I kind of liked that.
I hear you were quite a poet. Did you ever write her love letters and poems?
Not very much. I may have written one or two poems, or something of that nature. Some of my letters may have been just a tiny bit romantic, but not too much.