Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize two of my constituents, Charlie and Marilyn Wallace, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony in my Texas district office this week. These two native Texans have spent half of a century together, and I am proud to honor them.
Charlie and Marilyn first met on April 6, 1963, at the University of Texas at Austin during its famous, festive tradition of Round-Up weekend. In a series of random events, some acquaintances conspired to set Charlie and Marilyn up on a blind date. Marilyn, a senior English major, reluctantly accepted Charlie's invitation to the Round-Up talent show and dance with great reservation because Charlie was an Aggie! Yes, prior to his graduate studies at UT, Charlie earned his bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M.
That evening, Charlie called Marilyn from her dorm lobby where male students were required to wait for their dates. He told her he was wearing a blue suit with a red tie and to ``look for the ugliest one in the room.'' [Marilyn mistakenly first approached the wrong guy, also wearing a blue suit and red tie, who gave her a strange look when she said, ``Charles?'' Fortunately, she found the right man soon thereafter.]
Midway through the evening, Marilyn had the uncharacteristic, passing thought: ``It might be fun to be married to a man like this.'' It wasn't a typical date for Charlie either: In addition to the talent show and dance, he gave Marilyn a tour of his chemical engineering research lab and even played his guitar for her.
Marilyn graduated in August of 1963 and went on to teach English at Houston ISD's Austin High School, her alma mater, but Charlie made sure she didn't get away before she finally accepted his proposal on August 1, 1963. Charlie presented Marilyn with an engagement ring on September 21, 1963, and they were married December 21, 1963, in Houston at the Epworth Methodist Church.
Upon Charlie's completion of his master's degree in August 1964, he accepted a job with Shell Oil Co. that started with an intensive training program and work assignments at Shell's locations throughout Louisiana. During the Louisiana years, Marilyn was a substitute teacher, and she also held various administrative assistant positions that included one at LSU's agronomy department where she was well-regarded for her outstanding work and professionalism. Of particular note is that Marilyn served as a volunteer teacher during the Integration of the Louisiana Public School System and taught typing to Special Education students. Charlie and Marilyn also were involved in a Prison Ministry that they started at Angola Prison. The couple bought their first home and settled in Slidell, Louisiana, in the summer of 1967, and their daughter Sheryl was born in New Orleans later that fall. Their son David was born in Slidell in the summer of 1970, just a few weeks before Charlie was transferred from New Orleans to Shell's Head Office in New York City.
In 1971, when Shell's Head Office Engineering was moved to Houston, the Wallaces were thrilled to return home to Texas. After 35 years of service to Shell, Charlie ``retired'' in 1999. However, Charlie immediately started his own full-time chemical engineering consulting business. His career has presented him with opportunities for international travel to Canada, The Netherlands, France, Hungary [when it was still behind the Iron Curtain,] China, England, Scotland, and Italy.
Marilyn has always been a supportive wife and mother and a committed homemaker. She is an ``independent agent of good'' who dedicates her time, resources, creativity, and advocacy to improve the quality of life for a diverse array of people including the seriously ill, the disadvantaged, the disabled, and the elderly.
Their children describe Charlie and Marilyn as fiercely committed to each other and extremely compatible. They enjoy travel, the outdoors, fitness and nutrition, and music. It is an honor to represent such decent, hardworking, civic-minded Texans. I want to congratulate Charlie and Marilyn on their 50th anniversary and may God bless them with many more years together. They are truly an outstanding couple from the second district of Texas.