By Carolyn Marnon – Can there really be too many Judy’s? According to Judith Shelton, yes there can be, which is why she prefers to be called Judith. However, to her doting husband, Stan, there can only be one and his Judy happens to be the apple of his eye.
Stan Shelton was attending the University of Michigan with Judith’s cousins. Her aunt was familiar with Stan for about a year and said that she had someone she wanted Judith to meet. When Judith’s cousin got married, Judith and her mother went to the wedding. Stan happened to be in attendance, and so they finally met.
Judith’s cousins invited her to United Artists to see a movie. She didn’t know that Stan would be there although she told her mom she thought he would be. He knew she would be there. Their first date was that group date with her cousins. Stan has been the only person she’s dated since!
Judith worked at Detroit Edison where she did one-line diagrams. Stan happened to be a computer programmer who worked there too. “I always said I wouldn’t marry anyone who worked for the same company I did, but it was too late. I liked him.” The reason she didn’t want to date anyone in the same company was because she didn’t want people in her business, she says.
Stan was quiet. “I had to make him talk. Now he talks too much!” Judith laughs. “He listened to me. I just enjoyed his company. He had a very pleasing manner. My brother was just crazy about him.” She adds that her brother told her ‘he’s the best for you.’ She’s sad that her dad never got to meet Stan. “He’s a lot like my father” who died.
Stan Shelton grew up in Mississippi. “A southern hick,” he says. He was the oldest of 8. His folks were sharecroppers. When he was 10, his family moved to Inkster. Judith mentions that her dad was also from the south.
“I always liked tall men,” she shares.
“She was pretty. Not crazy until after we’ve been married 44 years! Dressed nice. Always gave me pointers on my dress,” he says. “Lots of pointers!” she insists.
The Shelton’s have three children. The oldest is their daughter, a psychologist, who lives in Westland. Their middle child, a son, is in the Army. The youngest son “works all the time,” Judith says, for an auto supplier. “He’s a good catch, if you can catch him.”
When asked about their most memorable date, Judith replies “Oh my goodness. We went on so many!” “Eastern Market” Stan says. “He liked food,” she says. “We still go sometimes.”
The secret to their amazing relationship? “Anytime you put God in the relationship, He keeps us together,” shares Judith. Neither wanted to ever be divorced.
They share several funny moments. Stan tells a story. One Thanksgiving, he was cleaning chitlins. Black people cook chitlins, he says, which happen to be the intestines of a pig. (According to a 2014 Portland Observer article “Most people of color believe that Chitlin’s were “invented” by slaves who received the last of the unwanted meat from the annual hog killings of their slave masters.”) Judith told him that the next time, she would clean them. He laughs that she gagged the whole time. She says the time after that, she put gloves on. They playfully bantered over whether there was a next time.
Judith shares her funny story. She was home with her mom making chili. Stan said it was too hot because she had poured too much pepper into it. Stan looks at her while she is sharing her story. “Your story’s not even right,” he says.
The Shelton’s have been in business together since 1989 running J&S Portrait America Photography. Judith says she once worked at JC Penney taking photos. She mentions that she wanted to be a videographer and took a class once. Stan got his first camera when he was 10 years old.
Judith had to take a step back in the business when she got sick with kidney issues and was in and out of the hospital. She got two new kidneys in 2015. She says Stan was always right there. He was attentive to her, not chasing other women. When she broke her leg, she says he was attentive then too. “He’s always protective.” She grew up an independent young woman with parents who “encouraged speaking up.” She had to learn to accept help from Stan. “I like him being there and being the husband I married.”
Stan is currently the President of the Wayne Chamber of Commerce. Judith helps out at the Chamber offices three days a week. In April, they will be celebrating 45 years of marriage.
Councilman Jeremiah Webster met Amara in the fall of 2010 when they both worked at Walmart. He was working there while also working as the property manager for a senior community high-rise, a job he still has. Amara’s sister-in-law knew Jeremiah and arranged for them to meet. They were friends for a while and, it wasn’t until after Christmas that they went on their first date: dinner and a movie. “We’ve been to a lot of movies. We love going to the movies,” says Jeremiah.
On the day after Christmas the following year, Amara discovered she was pregnant with their son, Nolan. When she and Jeremiah met, she already had a daughter who was then 1 ½.
The couple became engaged on Valentine’s Day 2013 and married in October 2014. They say there was no honeymoon. The kids stayed with their parents while they went to Frankenmuth for a few days.
On their 5th wedding anniversary last October, Amara’s dad took the kids while she and Jeremiah went to dinner.
They joke about how he locks himself out quite a bit. He once had to call her from work because he had locked himself out of his car. She had to drive to Taylor to rescue him. “She never lets me forget it,” he laughs. He has also locked his keys in his car while he was visiting a friend in a cemetery.
“We don’t fight very often,” Amara says. “We’re very good at talking everything out. We’re pretty level-headed and can talk through most stuff.” They have the same beliefs. “It’s easy when you both feel mutually,” says Jeremiah.
Jeremiah also jokes, “She pats me on the head and says ‘That’s nice. You’re wrong anyway.” He comments that he has to check the home office before doing anything. “I’m not really the boss though,” Amara replies.
The secret to their relationship is that they let things be equal. “I think we’re just a little boring,” says Jeremiah. They do lots of family stuff together with Nolan, now 7 who can play an energetic game of UNO with himself, and their 10-year old daughter. They agree that Nolan is a mini version of his dad. They generally do the same activities together: shopping, dinner, movies at the State Wayne. “We do more family things than we do couple things,” says Amara.
This duo will be expanding the family soon. Baby Webster is due to arrive May 15. And then there will be five.
Back at the turn of the century, when the internet was still new to many of us, there was a website called uDate. It was on uDate that Kim White and Dave Jenkins happened to connect. Neither seems to remember how they came to start emailing and calling each other, but Dave clearly remembers that women got to use the site for free while men had to pay for it.
Kim thought Dave was a police officer because he was wearing a blue lab coat and it looked like he was fiddling with some evidence in his uDate profile photo. She turns to him at her side, “I never told you that.”
Their first date was at Union Street, an art deco eatery in midtown Detroit. Kim was so impressed with Dave that she says she just wanted to tell someone she met someone great.
Kim and Dave are the owners of Helium Studio on Wayne Rd. in Wayne. Next month, they will have been married for 17 years. The secret to their relationship? They say it’s doing things together. They make jewelry together. They invested in their shop together. “We’ve been making jewelry together over ten years,” says Kim. Dave adds that “I say ‘yes dear’ a lot.”
Kim says they appreciate each other’s different styles. The way they communicate, their love languages, “leaning into the other person’s style and needs.” She goes on “You have to practice putting your self second and your couplehood first.”
“As we age, there’s more independence,” Kim says. She adds that Dave has other friends to do things with, like going to the shooting range. She comments that one of their first dates was also at a shooting range.
Growing up in a church that she describes as “solemn,” Kim admits that Dave is a social butterfly at their church while she is more laid back and quiet. Kim grew up as a Catholic schoolgirl, on the debate team with a strict upbringing as the oldest child of 5. Dave, the youngest of 4, was in the marching band and rode his bike for hours. “I do credit Dave and his family for bringing me back to the church,” says Kim. They share their faith life at Merriman Baptist Church where they got married in the gym. Kim walked the half-court line as her aisle because an addition to the church sanctuary was under construction.
Dave brought two kids into their marriage. Brian is now 22 and Liz is 25. For their honeymoon, they stayed at a bed and breakfast in Chicago for a few days. Later that fall, they went to Ireland.
The couple is currently binge-watching “The Crown,” a Netflix drama that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II, during their chill-time. Dave shares that “Her phone is going nuts while we watch it! She’s looking up historical facts” to see if what is on the show is true.
Dave admits, “She’s interesting. We always have good conversations. She’s fun to be around.” Kim turns around and says, “I tell Dave at least three times a week ‘how did you know that?’ He knows facts or how things work.”
“We like to hold hands. My sister thinks it’s corny,” says Kim. She also says Dave likes to “same-side sit” in booths at restaurants.
Kim and Dave’s wonderful adventures include purchasing their store in March 2015. “It took us seven months to renovate it. Dave was working and would come in at the end of the workday. We sold a lot of books while doing demolition and easy renovations,” says Kim. Helium Studio was formerly a bookstore.
They also camped a lot with the kids for several years, all trips in Michigan except for one stint in Kentucky. It was 100 degrees and there were no real beaches in Kentucky. Instead, there was a “pond” beach that just happened to be closed while they were there. A tornado came through, the tents got blown down and full of water. It was the most miserable time according to Kim. However, their daughter said it was the best! Kim admits to being a beach person who likes to read. Dave is more active, prone to off-road jeeping and metal detecting. Kim admits they do like to geocache together. Dave did add, “Mammoth Cave makes a great tornado shelter.”
Kim encapsulates their love in six words. “To me, it’s a God-ordained relationship.”