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Meet America’s Oldest Interracial Newlyweds: Edith+Eddie | Topic


♪ [music] ♪
– [Eddie] I was sitting outside.
They had a bench outside,
and she came and talked to me. She
gave me a number to play for her, and I
played it and played it and played it,
and it didn’t come out and I told her…
She said, “Don’t play it anymore.” So
I kept it in, and the number come out.
We split the $5,000. Yes,
we split it half and half.
My wife had passed away a few years before
with Alzheimer’s, and I told her a lot
of clothes would probably fit her,
and she came around to see them.
And that was another bonding factor.
She took some of the clothes.
Yes, it was love at first sight.
– [Edith] It was.
– Put them in your mouth.
♪ [music] ♪
First one, then the other. Up.
– Like that?
– Down, up, down, up, down, up,
down, up, down, up, down.
Then the next one. One, two, three,
four, five. Your head, one, two,
three, four, five. Twist the ankles.
– You said ankle.
– Twist your ankles.
– I don’t know about twist it
might break it like. [laughs]
– [Lesli] Eddie Harrison and Edith Hill
met after splitting a winning lotto
ticket together.
– [Male 1] Yeah. And last month they got
married, but as Mola Lenghi tells us,
some folks are already
trying to tear them apart.
– [Rebecca] She’s 96. He’s
95. Let them be happy.
– [Mola] Edith’s daughter, Rebecca
Wright, and Rebecca’s sister are
Edith’s co-guardians. The
sister is fighting Rebecca
for full custody.
– She wants to sell my mother’s house.
– [Male 2] Why does have to…
– She wants the money.
– If the sister wins, it could
be Eddie and Edith’s loss
as Edith would either have to move to
Florida with the sister or be sent
to a home.
– She’s not going to separate
us, this man and me.
– They couldn’t separate us.
We’re not going to let them.
– I think it’s ageism, I certainly
do. And I also think it’s race.
– Well, you know, a civil court hearing is
going to have to be held to decide who
gets guardianship over Edith Hill.
– Home Rehabilitation Loan Program,
City of Alexandria, Office of Housing.
That doesn’t sound good. I don’t
know if I can open that even
since I’m not her guardian anymore.
A third-party, Jessica Niesen,
was appointed her guardian and
conservator. The doctor said she had mild
dementia and that she needed a power
of attorney. Well, I was her power
of attorney at the time. My
sisters have had little relationship
with my mother. I’ve been with my mom down
through the years. They said that they
didn’t want Eddie because Eddie would
be not giving them what they want
for their inheritance, that
they’re counting on, you know,
before mom has gone.
♪ [music] ♪
My mom and her second husband,
my stepfather, bought this house in 1960.
He passed away in ’61. So my
mom had to bear the cost
of everything, including the
house. She worked and did that,
made that payment for all the 30 or
so years that she had to make it.
And, of course, this is where she wants
to be when she closes her eyes.
Now, my mom has been in love with
Eddie since the first day she met him.
He was in love with her.
– Look at that little old bird up there.
-What is it?
-Little bird.
They flied away now.
– Beautiful. Beautiful place.
– Here comes the bird.
– Here come what?
– Yeah, he’s taking off.
Going north, I guess.
– I like to be thankful for us, you know,
be able to see and see what’s out…
– Yeah, [inaudible].
– Yes.
– Well, it might be anything at
nighttime that kind of worries you.
– There’s what?
– Anything in the dark.
– Well, put it this way, I’m so
thankful to live in this world when
we came here. Now we’ve been here a long
time, and we don’t know how much longer
that we have. So I say we should
live and do the best we can.
– Maybe worry about falling in the water.
– And love is one of the
best things that…
– What about people coming to prowl
on a private day when you’re not there?
– Love everybody, treat everybody right
is one thing. Treat everybody right.
If you see somebody that
need help, help them.
– [Minister Drummond] We
have to honor each other,
and I come here today to honor
the oldest cousin in our family.
And I’d like for the daughter, Rebecca,
please bring them down front here so that
everyone can see the
newlyweds, Eddie and Edith.
I say praise the Lord . Let’s sing some more.
You know, people are always doing things
to try to break up a marriage or hinder
a marriage, and they got married.
God honors marriages.
And we are honoring this one here today.
So we thank God for this beautiful couple.
Lets stand, everybody, and give them
a good clap. Edith and Eddie.
And we want to thank God for Rebecca,
her children, her
grandchildren, everybody.
– What did I love about Edith? Well,
she was kind and considerate in talking
to me. Not the color of the skin,
but the heart. That’s what we decided.
Well, the heart is red, I believe.
– [Edna] She needed him and he
needed her, so God made her and him,
and He put them together.
– We went to Reverend Coles, where we’d
been going to church, and he married us.
And they tried to say it’s not legal.
They think they’re going to wear us down,
but they’re not going to wear
us down. We married for life.
– I was called by my lawyer and told that
my sister may come and pick them up.
I said “We can’t separate her from Eddie.”
Eddie does not want to go to Florida.
– [Robin] He’s never been on a
plane, and he’s saying that right now
isn’t the time for him to try it.
– Now they don’t want to take Eddie, and
my sister’s told me many times that her
husband is abusive, abusive, abusive.
I think the objective is to move mom,
separate mom and Eddie and me, and
sell the house or rent the house and
put them into an institutional
situation, to institutionalize them.
– I decided you just put it
in God’s hands and…
– [Reverand Coles] Bless you.
– God bless you. Both
of you all look so good.
– [Mrs. Coles] Thank you.
– Yeah, you’re looking well.
– You look well. Where is Eddie?
– Eddie is right here, mom.
– Oh. Well, I know,
because I know he had..
– He’s worried about Eddie.
– Where is Eddie?
– Yeah, where’s Eddie?
– I wanted him to see Elder Coles, Eddie.
– Yeah, you do?
– Yeah.
– I know you’ve been praying for us.
– All right, friend.
– So let us pray the Lord’s
Prayer. Our Father…
– [Together] Who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
– Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
– Thank you so much…
– And you pray for us…
– …for putting us together.
– ..that everything will work out fine.
– Everything will be all right.
– I know you and I know
when you pray, it works.
– I have trouble hearing over the phone.
– Who is this?
– That’s the guardian and conservator.
– Huh?
– Jessica Niesen, she’s the
guardian and conservator.
– Okay then. Have I met you before?
– They want you to go to Florida.
– I can’t go to Florida.
– We’re not going to Florida with
Pam. We’re staying here with Becky.
She’s taken good care of us so far.
– I can’t get her to go. She was
abused when she was down there.
Jessica, listen. It is not
inaccurate. It’s not inaccurate.
Mama, did Ray Phil push
you while you were there?
– Yeah, he pushed me
trying to make me clean.
– Did he put his hands on
you and push you?
– I put his hands on the rag or something
but it…when he started, he wanted to
make me do some work.
– I don’t need any authority to
be here. I’m here with my mother.
And I’m not going to leave her. No. Well,
our stepfather and Patricia can take care
of it. Right, no problem.
– What did they say?
She’s coming with police.
– [Rebecca’s lawyer] …and has the right.
Under the law, she’s got the authority and
the police will act on that. So,
you know, you can’t resist that
from [inaudible].
– No, I’m not trying to resist it, but
I don’t want them to put their hands
on my mother.
– What we can do…you know, all
we can do is to go into court and try
to change the order to say it’s not in
your mother’s best interest to stay
in Florida. So that’s all we can do, and
get a hearing on that to say, “Look,
they’ve separated her from her husband.
They haven’t given us a date certain for
her coming back.”
– You know how people are.
I don’t want my sister leaving.
That’s all I got.
– What’s that?
– I just said, “I love you. I
want to keep you with me.”
– Old as I am at my age and
everything, I don’t need to be…
– Going up and down the road.
– All right. They something else.
– But if they come into your house,
they’ve got to have a warrant.
Tomorrow’s Pearl Harbor day, December 7th.
We’re celebrating a little ahead of time.
– How old is who, Honey?
– Your husband.
– How old are you, Hon?
– How old am I? I’m 95.
– Ninety-five.
– I’m 95. She’s 96.
– And I’m 96.
– She don’t want to go with the other
daughter, Pam, to Florida for the reason
like I told you. They’re trying to sell
this house so they can get the money
out of it.
– [Man 3] Would you like to go to Florida?
– No, I don’t want to go.
– She don’t want to go.
I don’t want her to go.
Why does she want to take us to Florida?
– [Jessica] Because it’s a little vacation
time while we figure out how to get you a
little more appropriate care.
– She doesn’t want to go,
and I don’t want her to go.
– But you know what? I have
to make the decisions for her.
– Well we prayed to stay in here.
– So let’s have a talk. All of
us, let’s have to talk, okay?
– Can you forcibly take
her out of her own home?
– I can, I can. But I
don’t want to though.
– Hey Pam, how do you feel, in your mind,
have to do this to your mother?
You’re going to get old
someday like she is.
– You know what? She has
done everything she can to protect you.
– How do you feel doing
this to your mother?
– Her husband is not what you think he is.
He’s not the man that you think he is.
– You need to remember with your mind,
with your memory being not so good,
you are very susceptible to stories
that people have told you.
– Well, my memory is good. But I’m
only saying I don’t like the way
Patricia’s husband treats me.
– Okay. Well, let’s not worry about that.
– Take me, put a wash rag…I mean a rag,
something in my hand, push me to wash
windows and push me…
– That sounds like somebody’s been
reading you stories of Cinderella.
The arrangments have already been
made. We don’t want to miss the flight.
– I don’t want nothing… [inaudible].
I don’t want to go near him. That’s it.
– Okay. But we do got to get going
because we’re going to miss the flight.
And do you want to be the kind of husband
that took the opportunity…
– When would you bring her
back if you take her?
– About two weeks. About two weeks, and
you can call her every single day on the
phone and talk to her.
– She lived here for all of her life to
take care of this place and raise
her children.
– I know.
But we got to do some things
sometimes that we don’t necessarily want
to do, you know, and this house just
isn’t working for her anymore.
– I worked for this.
– I know you did.
– Kiss me.
– She wants to give you a kiss.
– I have worked…I worked all of our life.
– I’m not doing this.
I want you to understand,
I’m not doing this.
– Okay. All right, come on, guys.
– I worked all my life.
– Let’s get up.
– Well, I hope you sleep good tonight.
– Eddie, you know why I’m going to sleep
good? Because I’m making sure
she’s protected.
– The devil’s will be under your bed.
– You know why? Because I’m
making sure she’s protected.
– I don’t want to hear any more from you.
– Okay, did you want to come
downstairs and kiss her goodbye?
– You’re evil.
– Did you want to come downstairs
and kiss her goodbye?
– You’re doing an evil thing.
You’ll never forget it.
– Okay, okay. Patricia, you’re up.
Make sure mom’s going downstairs.
– You got a mother, haven’t you?
You’ll remember this till your dying day.
– She’s going to a better place.
– You will remember this
until your dying day.
– I’ve had it in my mind for years and
years. An old minister told me to make a
short prayer with only 10 words,
“I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me.” That’s a prayer itself.
I feel that I can’t get out to do anything
to help her. I want her home with me
where she belongs. It makes me filled
with wishes of the times that we were,
before all this here nightmare happened.
– I believe when he found out that
she wasn’t coming back, that he gave
up all hope.
I’ve had the doctors appeal to my sister
and to the guardian, Jessica Niesen,
to try get them to get her back up here
to say goodbye to her husband.
And I think it’s a horrible thing to have
to even negotiate her coming back.
It should be that’s something that’s
automatic. And with the dementia,
sure, she forgets, but sometimes it’s as
important to forget as it is to remember.
And as long as she remembers who he is and
that he was her husband or is her husband,
then she should be afforded an
opportunity to say, “Goodbye. I love you.”
His hand is cold.
– Brother Eddie? Brother
Eddie? Can you hear us?
Brother Eddie, can you hear us?
Can you come back to us?
Miss Edith wants you to come back.
We want to see you all holding hands.
Brother Eddie, she loves you.
We love you too. Can you stay here
with us? Can you?
– Pray to bless this our brother.
– Yes, Lord Jesus.
– God. Bless him
and keep him in your care.
– Yes, Lord.
– In the name of Jesus for we know,
God, that you can do everything
and there are no impossibilities with you.
And so, we leave it in your hands,
your capable hands, your hands
of mercy, your hands of strength.
In the name of Jesus, the Christ
of Calvary who died and
suffered for our sins. Amen.
– Amen. Oh, Jesus, yes, Lord, Jesus.
– Trust in Jesus, in Jesus’ name.
– God rest his soul.
– ♪ When I take my vacation in heaven,
will you take your vacation with me ♪
♪ Sitting down on the banks of the river,
beneath the shade of an evergreen tree ♪
♪ [music] ♪

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