RIGHT TIME RIGHT PLACE: First date with Doc turns into 67 inseparable years

Published 4 December 2017

Billye Davis didn't think Dewitt "Doc" Porter was her type, but she listened to her mother and now rarely goes anywhere without him.

Doc worked at his father's service station in Hampton in 1950. He was at work one Saturday when his older cousin dropped by and mentioned Billye to him.

The first time I saw my future spouse:

She says: “I knew he was a nice guy and you wouldn’t have any problems going out with him.”

He says: “I just thought she was a pretty young lady. She looked nice and she was always the kind of person who dressed nice. She was always pretty every time I saw her at school or anywhere else. I just fell in love with her.”

On our wedding day:

She says: “I was real excited to get married but of course it came a flood that day. We had planned to go to Shreveport for our honeymoon but we ended up staying at a hotel in town. It was raining so hard you could hardly see to drive.”

He says: “I was probably a little nervous because I thought I was taking on a pretty big responsibility. I was going to have to go to work and try to take care of my money and support her. I wanted her to have a nice home and I knew her mother and daddy dressed her well and I wanted to continue that.”

My advice for a long happy marriage:

She says: “You have to respect each other and you also have to stay together. We have stayed together a lot. When one goes one place the other does, too.”

He says: “I won’t say that we didn’t have a little fuss every once in a while. You know, we just loved one another and took care of one another. We made a home and we treated one another like we were supposed to treat one another.”

"He said, 'There's a little grocery store just five miles east of Hampton," and said, 'There's the prettiest little girl over there that I've ever seen.' He said, 'You ought to call and get a date with her tonight.' And so I did," Doc says. "She told me that the kids from her church were going skating that night so she already had plans and she couldn't go."

Billye was a year behind Doc in school. She knew who he was, and she thought he was nice enough.

"He was well-respected in the community, and I really didn't want to go with him because we are totally opposites. He just was not my type," Billye says. "He's always been real quiet and he was always a perfect gentleman, but I liked a little more action than he did."

Doc wasn't deterred by her initial rejection.

"I said, 'OK, that's fine, I'll call you sometime later,'" Doc says. "But about 15 minutes later she drove up in front of our station and I went out to the car and she said, 'My mother told me to cancel my plans for tonight and to go with you.'"

They went to a movie that night, not exactly as exciting as the dances and parties she went to with her friends.

"That just wasn't his thing," she says.

Doc didn't have his own vehicle then, but his father always had a new car and Doc always had access to it, unlike most of their friends.

"During that time no one had cars," Billye says. "Many times someone had to double-date with us because they didn't have a way to go and he always had a ride."

They went out almost every weekend, either to a school event or to the movie theater.

"We were watching a Christmas movie the other night and I said, 'Let's get over here on the sofa and watch this," she says. "This is a lot like when we used to go to the movies.' I said, 'The only thing that's lacking is the popcorn and a Coke and a Baby Ruth.' That's what we always got when we went to the movies and we went to the movies real often, I guess every weekend."

Doc gave Billye an engagement ring when she was a senior in high school. He had graduated by then and was working with his dad at the service station. He joined the Air Force, and left for training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio before being stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas.

Billye started nurse's training after she graduated.

"But knowing all the time that he wasn't going to wait the full four years for me to finish that didn't last very long," she says.

They changed their wedding plans a few times because it was difficult to predict when Doc could get leave and make it home. They exchanged their vows on Dec. 30, 1952, in the living room of Billye's parents' home in Hampton.

"My mom went downtown and bought me a little dress and a little hat and we had a really nice wedding there in my parents' living room, with candelabras and flowers," she says.

Billye had gone with Doc's family to visit him in San Antonio but she had not been to Austin before they married and went to live there together as newlyweds. They moved back to Hampton a year and a half later, where Doc took over the service station for a while and then got a job as a rural mail carrier. Billye was a clerk in the post office.

The Porters moved from Hampton to Hot Springs eight years ago to be near their daughters, Jennifer Jennings and Cindy Dudenhefer. They have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

As newlyweds, they ate most of their meals out.

"At that time I wasn't real interested in cooking," Billye says. "Everyone says I'm a pretty good cook now but I learned on my own. My mom never wanted me in the kitchen in my last few years of high school. My parents had a business so we had a maid who came in and did the cooking and cleaning. I didn't cook, I didn't make beds, I didn't do anything like that. I was rotten."

These days they enjoy eating out with friends, or just with each other.

"We've always had a very close relationship and we've never been the kind of couple that he went one way and I went another. We always went together," she says. "He goes to McDonald's every morning to visit with some guys, but other than that when the vehicle leaves I'm usually with him for no other reason than we just like to be together."

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High Profile on 12/03/2017