MARYSVILLE — Maybelle and Marvin Johnson spent this past Valentine’s Day the same way they’ve spent most Thursdays since they first met nearly four years ago, by playing Canasta at the Ken Baxter Community Center and reflecting on how life has given them a second chance to experience the love of a lifetime.
Both Maybelle and Marvin are each other’s second spouses, since they both lost their first spouses within a week of each other in April of 2008 — Marvin’s wife of 44 years passed away on April 17, while Maybelle’s husband of 50 years passed away on April 23 — but in spite of Maybelle and Marvin both being the same age (71 this year), living in the same neighborhood and even depositing their pensions at the same bank, the two had never met until Maybelle came to the Ken Baxter Community Center in April of 2009, asking Center Director Maryke Burgess to help her find a companion.
“I didn’t want to get married again,” said Maybelle Johnson, who nonetheless got engaged on June 10 and married on July 18 of 2009 to Marvin. “I just wanted somebody to visit with who would pick me up for dinner. Maryke said, ‘Have I got the guy for you.’ When she told me that he played Canasta every Thursday, I told her I didn’t have a clue how to play Canasta, but she said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll teach you.’”
“Maryke set us up, but I was immediately attracted to Maybelle,” Marvin Johnson said. “She’s so well-kept, from her dress to her makeup. She always looks her best. I call her my sugar mama, and she calls me her sugar daddy,” he laughed.
On Feb. 14 of this year, Marvin put his money where his mouth was by buying Maybelle a new ring she’d had her eye on.
“The way Marvin treats me is so special,” Maybelle Johnson said. “He’s so kind and thoughtful that, when we first met, I just knew we were compatible. We’ve been inseparable ever since. We both loved our mates very much, but I’ve never been in love like I am now.”