WAXAHACHIE — She was a flight attendant. He was a co-pilot. A destined layover brought the two lovebirds together with the Waxahachie Courthouse sealing the deal.
Returning to the place that meant so much to Frank and Suzanne Maddock, the Arlington couple has reminisced about the cherished location since their wedding day 50 years ago.
“I just thought that going back to see something that meant so much to us 50 years ago was really special,” expressed Mrs. Maddock about revisiting the historic downtown courthouse.
Their timeless tale all began in Memphis, Tennessee on a connecting flight with Braniff International Airlines.
“My crew had just come back from dinner, and we were in the motel like ships passing in the night and there was another Braniff crew that had just checked in,” Mrs. Maddock began their love story.
Since the captains knew each other, both crews were quickly introduced, sparking an attraction between Frank and Suzanne.
“I got introduced to Frank, he was the co-pilot for the other captain,” she grinned at him.
Mr. Maddock explained, "We met and said hello, but I knew flight attendants weren’t supposed to be married, and she had a ring on that looked a little bit like a wedding band."
The next day, both crews ironically had layovers in Colorado when the Maddock’s decided to spend an evening at the movies.
“So I asked my crew if they were interested in taking in a flick and they said, ‘Nah.’ So, I thought I’d just go by myself,” Mrs. Maddock recalled. “About that time I saw the other crew checking into the lobby, and only meeting the night before in Memphis, I saw Frank standing there and I asked him, ‘I’m going to a movie, do you want to go with me?’ And he said, ‘Sure.'"
Mr. Maddock admitted, “At first it didn’t dawn on me that she was single because I saw this band. But when I saw her later, I realized it wasn’t a wedding band, and the more we talked, the more she confirmed it."
As the evening unfolded with a showing of "Flight of the Phoenix" and a late night cup of coffee, the couple talked for hours.
“I kept her up until three in the morning giving her my life story,” Mr. Maddock laughed.
Going back to their base in Dallas the next morning, Mr. Maddock searched high and low for Mrs. Maddock’s phone number, playing one clever move after another.
“I didn’t think to ask for her phone number or anything, but I did find out the apartment complex where she was living,” Mr. Maddock said. “So I went to every mailbox, found her name and the names of her roommates, and called information with the names. I asked, ‘Do you have this listed?’ They said, ‘Yes, we do.’ So I called that number and asked if she was there and she was."
Asking her out on a “Coke date,” since neither drank alcohol, Mr. Maddock soon asked her out again and again until their relationship blossomed. During this time, Mrs. Maddock, along with the help of Mr. Maddock, purchased her first 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, not knowing it would be their faithful chariot throughout the years.
“He was suddenly in my life, totally unanticipated, and I had never felt that way about anyone before. I knew he was a keeper,” Mrs. Maddock smiled.
Although the Maddock’s fondness for each other grew, the airline’s tolerance frowned upon married employees, making it difficult to keep both job and spouse.
“The airlines were right at the cusp of having to accept married flight attendants. It was very different 50 years ago,” Mrs. Maddock acknowledged.
Through the social issues of the 1960s, workplace discrimination was teetering on change with the Maddock’s caught in the middle. So, wanting to make their relationship legal, the couple seriously considered the notion of marriage as a real possibility.
“We didn’t want it well-known that we were getting married, and kind of breaking company rules. They couldn’t stop you, but they had other ways of getting rid of you, so we kept it low-key,” Mrs. Maddock explained.
Avoiding the wedding announcements in the Dallas County newspapers, the Maddock’s chose Waxahachie to be their official officiant.
“I told her, ‘Ellis County is the next county over. Why not Waxahachie?’ I mean, we could’ve gone to Parker County or Johnson County, but Waxahachie was just the right place,” Mr. Maddock divulged.
Matching up their flight schedules, the adventurous duo spontaneously made a day trip in their red convertible to the Waxahachie’s Courthouse on April 12, 1967.
“It happened to be lunch time and the judge wasn’t in, so we went and had lunch on the square and went back to the courthouse and as they say, ‘the rest is history,’” Mrs. Maddock recollected.
Since then, the years have sailed by for the happy couple. From world trekking cruises to Harley motorcycles and Derby airplane races, or even countless close calls, they have continued to live life to the fullest.
Repeating the day they never forgot, the Maddock’s returned back to their favorite town to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, April 12, 2017.
“It’s such a nostalgic community,” Mrs. Maddock expressed. “I remember how beautiful the Courthouse was - and still is.”
“As far as the community, it has grown so much,” Mr. Maddock chimed in. “I don’t remember what the population was, but it was just a small community compared to Dallas, and now it’s much bigger.”
Reliving the best day of their lives, the Maddock’s returned in their red chariot, toured the courthouse, and stopped for a bite to eat on the square.
“This community is very welcoming like it was years ago. Everybody knows everybody, there are no strangers, and it’s got a nice feeling to it,” Mr. Maddock complimented.
“Yes, everybody is very sweet and it has that ‘hometown feeling.’ These are ‘salt of the earth’ type people here,” Mrs. Maddock grinned.
Though visitors come and go, one principle is absolute – people may be taken out of Waxahachie, but Waxahachie cannot be taken out of the hearts of people.
“We couldn’t have made a better choice for our marriage,” she finished with Mr. Maddock nodding in agreement.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer