90 just a number for newlyweds
Cutline: Newlyweds Media and Tom Brooks have known each other for than more than half their lives but married only three weeks ago, roughly four years after each’s first spouse passed away.
For The Record
At 93, Tom Brooks is too busy “running the roads” to slow down.
And for the last 20-odd days, the person riding shotgun on those trips is his newlywed wife, Media, 88.
Since they road-tripped to see a judge in Jasper last month, they’ve been traveling as man and wife.
“We started going places together and we liked it,” Tom said. “We’ve been running the roads for three years, going everywhere, doing everything. So we got married.
“There’s no use in going through life miserable.”
Both Tom and Media were married to their first spouses for more than 60 years.
Media’s husband, Marvin Sanders, died in 2013, just after the couple’s 65th anniversary. Together, they raised four children, three sons and a daughter.
Tom’s wife, Betty, died in 2014. The couple, married 64 years, raised two boys and a girl.
But Tom and Media have known each other – and their families – “50 or 60 years,” Tom says. They were all members of the Second Baptist Church in Bridge City.
“I knew his wife, too,” Media said. “We were friends.”
Tom was in a high school graduating class of 11 at Evans, Louisiana, shortly before he was drafted into World War II in 1943.
He was in the headquarters and supply company for the 82nd Airborne Division and was hospitalized with pneumonia after suffering the freezing cold of the Battle of the Bulge for 57 days.
But Brooks got back to his troops in time to witness the fall of the German army.
“The day it was over, on a road like [FM] 1136, they were coming through all day to surrender, because they didn’t want to get taken prisoner by the Russians,” he said.
“They passed through for 24 hours. There were stacks of their weapons piled as high as my house.”
Brooks won five battle stars and returned from the war to take part in a victory parade down Fifth Avenue in New York. More than four million thankful Americans cheered the 13,000 returning soldiers.
Then he found employment at Gulf Oil in Port Arthur. He worked at the refinery for 36 years, until 1983.
“I would’ve starved to death in west Louisiana,” Brooks said. “There’s nothing to do, so I came down here and put in an application.”
Media, a native of northern Louisiana, operated Media’s Beauty Salon for more than 40 years while her husband worked at B.F. Goodrich in Port Neches.
“After my husband retired, we moved to Mauriceville,” Media said.
Brooks and his wife moved from Bridge City to Mauriceville in 2009, after their home was demolished by Hurricane Rita.
They joined the First Baptist Church in Mauriceville, where Media and Marvin Sanders were also members.
“We know the same people. We have a lot of friends together,” Media said of her growing relationship with Brooks in the years after their first loves had passed.
“We decided we’re not too far apart. We were running the roads together. He was sitting on his porch. I’m sitting at home …”
So they married.
“We play dominoes twice a month at our church,” Brooks said. “My daughter’s church in Buna has dominoes every other Tuesday for two or three hours.
“We ain’t got nothing else to do. We just go places and enjoy. We have a good time and enjoy life, as long as we can go.
“We’re not no spring chickens, but we enjoy a good time. We have a good time.”