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The Boops: A Love Story

By Lauren Mckinnon

 

The Boops

The Boops

As World War II ended, the troops made their way back home to The States and back to their assigned bases. Many of them would spend their evenings at the local USO, a place where they could write letters home, eat, play games and even dance. This is where Rose first laid eyes on Ray Boop. It was 1947.

Seaman First Class Raymond Boop was a sailor in the Navy serving in Operation Crossroads. He had been out to sea for months in 1946 aboard the USS Presque Isle in Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands where the US military was testing atomic bombs.

Rose was a hostess at the Charleston USO, and every evening that she was there, she should would look for Ray and hope to see him.

“I had seen him on the beach a couple times and realized he was the same cute boy I had seen at the USO,” said Rose.

Ray was shy but when they finally met at the USO, he asked Rose to play ping-pong downstairs.

“We played a little, but we spent most of the time just talking,” said Rose.

boop fountain“Then we took a long walk, from the USO on Calhoun and Meeting Street all the way to The Battery. He tried to get fresh with me,” Rose giggled as Ray gives a sheepish grin.

That night he walked her home and as she shut the door, he knocked. When she opened the door he apologized and asked for a date.

“He took me to dinner all the time, from the time we met until we got married,” said Rose.

“He would hitchhike and save his money instead of using it for bus fare so he could afford it.”

They would also go to the movies at old theaters like The Majestic in downtown Charleston, but the first real date Ray ever took her on was to church. Ray and Rose began to sing in the church choir together every Sunday.

boopkiss2After a six-month courtship, Ray and Rose were married by Judge Matthew, a friend of her father. They couldn’t afford a honeymoon so they celebrated by going out to dinner with a friend who was their witness at the wedding.

The Boops moved into their first apartment together in Charleston. It was a small one-bedroom with a bathroom in the hall that was shared by the neighbors. They didn’t have much, but they had each other.

“We would go dancing at the USO even after we were married,” said Rose.

“One evening he had promised to take me out dancing after he got home from his watch on base, but when he came home he laid down and went to sleep. He broke his promise, so I called a taxi and went anyway. Well, when he woke up he knew where I was so he came for me. I was dancing with a young service fellow and Ray just pulled us apart and said ‘Let’s go.’ He was jealous and I thought it was sweet.” Rose gave Ray a wink.

Ray had one year left in his four year commitment to the Navy and when he retired the two moved north to Mansfield, Ohio, where they lived with his parents until they bought their own home. It was a quaint three-bedroom house on a hill where they would soon start a family.

“It looked like a doll house,” said Rose.

boopnoteLater that year Rose gave birth to surprise twin girls, LaPaula and LaDonna. The couple was not aware that they were having twins. Ray was the first to see the two baby girls and ran as fast as he could through the hall, jumping down the flight of stairs to announce the exciting news to family in the waiting room.

Two years after the girls were born, the Boops moved back to Charleston for the milder climate since one of the girls was suffering with asthma.

“I always wanted to live in Charleston but I knew when I married him that I would follow wherever he went,” said Rose.

“Although I hated that my baby had asthma, I was happy we were able to come back to Charleston, I have a big family here. Now Ray says he wouldn’t want to live up north again because it’s too cold. He loves the warmer weather.”

The Boops settled nicely back in Charleston and continued to grow their family. Rose gave birth to three more girls over the next few years: Betty, Janet and Robin.

Ray and Rose took their girls to church every Sunday from the time they were in nursery school until they moved out on their own. Ray and Rose sang in the choir together for 52 years.

“Ray was such a wonderful father to those girls growing up,” said Rose.

“He was strict but loving. He would do anything for his girls. He took each one of them to work with him, one at a time. He owned his own candy business and he would show them what a day’s work was. Our girls were raised up in the church, that’s what gives you balance in life and they got to know the Lord. That’s what it’s all about.”

Ray and Rose have been happily married for 66 years and are just as in love now as they were when they met. Ray, 86, is a resident at the Veteran’s Victory House in Walterboro now. He is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and some days is barely able to speak, but he still tells Rose, 88, that he loves her when he can.

“I asked him the other day if he still loved me,” said Rose.

“He just smiled and said ‘you know I do, my little watermelon.”

The sisters take turns bringing Rose from Charleston to see Ray several times a week. It is clear the two don’t like to be apart from each other.

“Did you know Charleston is one of the most romantic cities in the world?” Rose asks, and she grabs Ray’s hand.

The two share a smile and, for a moment, they are 22 again and dancing at the USO to the big band playing a Glen Miller tune.

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