A love that was just meant to be

Published 4:10 pm Monday, February 7, 2011

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

Love spawns in unusual places. The Moments (‘70s R&B vocal group) found love on a two-way street.

Pauline Ellison found love in April 1954 at Tallahassee’s professional baseball opening day.

“I was a high school senior,” Pauline said. “Our band marched in the parade. As head majorette, I stood at the front behind the players riding in convertibles.”

Pauline reminisced about the handsome man who kept glancing her way. She pretended not to notice, but the brilliant blue eyes under the ball cap were unavoidable. When she was caught looking, he winked. Pauline’s heart melted to her boots.

It was love at first sight for Dave and Pauline Ellison on April 9, 1954. (Special/Mollie Brown)

That afternoon, Pauline and friend Jean Williams went to the Rebel’s game at Centennial Field.

“We had a reserved box seat because Jean’s dad announced the games. Every season, Jean and I picked a player to root for. Jean decided on No. 14 John David Ellison. I looked for the cute one with blue eyes.

“John batted, hitting a homerun. The team ran out and caught him at home plate, knocking his cap off. Jean was jumping up and down screaming for ‘her John.’ When I saw his face I reached up, pulled her down and said, ‘I’m sorry Jean, but he’s mine.’”

Pauline attended home games, but she and Calera native Dave Ellison never spoke. The next month, he was traded to a team in Lake Charles, La.

Pauline stopped attending games until June 18. As she walked to the gate, Dave walked out. They stopped and talked as if they were old friends.

Dave joined her in the box seat each night and confessed he had returned to “meet the most beautiful girl in the world.” They discovered many common interests, most importantly their Christian faith.

On the third night, Dave said, “That sounds just right, just like it was meant to be. Don’t you think?”

“What?” Pauline asked.

“Your new name, Pauline Ellison,” he said.

Pauline drove Dave to the bus station that evening. His good-bye kiss and wink as he boarded the bus sealed her fate. They wrote each other and talked once by phone before he returned in October.

Pauline Kay Stephens and John David Ellison married on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1954. After retiring from baseball, they moved to Calera. Dave was employed by Abex.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 2008, they celebrated 54 years together. Dave passed away in her arms 33 days later, but their love grows. They are blessed with five children, twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Mollie Brown can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.