ON THE COVER
Robert J . and Mary Lewis
One couple ’ s dream comes true after years apart
For Mary Atterberry-Lewis and Robert J . Lewis , dreams do come true — even if it takes half a lifetime . As a teenager , she had a crush on Lewis , who would often travel with his family to visit relatives in Meridian from their home in Michigan .
“ He was so handsome and still is ,” Atterberry-Lewis said . “ I used to tell my mom how cute he was every time they would come to town .”
The two actually met as children when Lewis was growing up in Quitman before moving to Michigan .
“ His family and my family have always been closely intertwined ,” she said .
When his family visited Meridian , the two often caught glimpses of each other . Like any teenage girl , Atterberry- Lewis had a dream of marrying that boy one day . Lewis , meanwhile , felt like most teenage boys . “ She was cute , but at that time I was older , and I just thought she was a young girl ,” he laughed . The two grew up and lived their lives . She married and raised 10 children . He married , too , and has a son who still lives in Michigan .
Fast forward a few decades and Lewis would see Atterberry-Lewis when visiting Meridian , but she would disappear before he had time to talk with her .
He assumed she was married and even believed that after he started following her profile on social media . Likewise , Atterberry-Lewis assumed he was married . In reality , she had been divorced since the 1990s . He divorced nine years ago . In 2019 , the two reconnected when Lewis was in Meridian for a relative ’ s funeral .
A few sparks flew when they saw each other , but both still thought the other was married . With a group gathered , one of his cousin ’ s happened to ask about her marital status .
“ I said I was not married and that I was waiting on the
Lord to send me that special someone ,” she recalled . She heard a voice respond , which turned out to be Lewis . “ Your husband may be standing right here ,” he said . They all laughed it off and she walked away because she thought he had a wife . The next day her phone rang . “ If I had known she wasn ’ t married , I would have met her and talked to her sooner ,” Lewis said .
“ She is just such a happy person and good to be around . She has always had a good spirit . I have always been attracted to her because of that and the way she carries herself ,” he said . continued on page 16 14 • TIMELESS MERIDIAN