Hackworth

Charlotte Dobney looked across the room as she sipped her drink. Her eyes latched onto one person. He, like she, was sitting alone.

“The first time I saw his face …” That was it for her. A love affair began that lasted 55 years.

“People ask me how I met my husband Fred and I tell them ‘He picked me up in a bar,”’ the 93-year-old Englewood resident said.

But it was a little more complicated than that.

Charlotte called me this week to respond to my request for people to tell me about their favorite song and stories connected to it. She said “The First Time Ever I Saw His Face,” by Roberta Flack, is hers because it so well describes her instant fascination with Fred.

“I had just been to a movie and was waiting on the corner for the bus (in Phoenix, Arizona),” she said. “A friend of my sister’s came by and said he would take me home after he met with someone at The Flame supper club, if I wanted to go with him and have a drink. We went in the club and ordered drinks and he excused himself to talk to the person he had to meet.

“I started looking around the room and I saw Fred. It was like “wow!”

Fred must have thought the same because he marched across the room and asked Charlotte to dance.

“The bartender knew me and told me Fred was a good guy and it would be OK.”


One dance led to another and when her friend returned and said he was ready to take her home, Charlotte said “no thanks, Fred will take me home.” And that ride home led to a date and a romance.

“That was in June of 1950,” Charlotte said. “We were married March 3, 1951.”

Fred and Charlotte lived in California and Arizona for years — he was a teacher and she worked at banks. They moved to Englewood 25 years ago.

Fred passed away 10 years later.

“This March would have been our 70th wedding anniversary,” she told me. “When I read about wanting to know our favorite song, I had to say it was ‘The First Time Ever I Saw His Face,’ because that is how it happened for me. He was absolutely handsome.”

Some other readers and their favorite song included:

• In answer to your article, I have two songs that I really like and bring back memories. One is Anne Murray’s “Could I Have This Dance.” My now husband and I used to dance to this. Second is Kenny Rogers’ “Through The Years.” I always enjoy your commentaries. You make my day. — Sharon Coad, Port Charlotte

• It took me all of about two seconds to respond to your question for a favorite song. It’s “Johnny Angel,” by Shelley Fabares. It’s the song that reminds me of the love story my husband and I share. After 33 years of marriage, it is still the song that brings tears to my eyes, stops me dead in my tracks, and all I want to do is sing this song to my Johnny Angel. — Audrey Earley, Deep Creek

• I agree with you 100%, music is a mood elevator. I also like the Beach Boys and “California Girls.” My husband Frank and I have been married 66 years. Our love song is Vera Lynn’s recording “Yours.” She sings it in English with a Latin beat, too. Frank was in the Army when we chose that as our song. I’m happy it is still around as we are. The words describe our everlasting feelings. Even though we are in our late 80s, we play the CD to reminisce. I’m a lucky gal.” — Joanne Binder, North Port

John Hackworth is the Pulitzer Prize-winning commentary editor for The Daily Sun. You can email him at john.hackworth@yoursun.com.

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