‘We’re still crazy about each other’

Will and Allison Allred each married their best friend

By Kevin Spradlin

* 1st place Allison and Will Allred
* 2nd place Helen and Clark Cox
* 3rd place Edith and William Griffin

Two science majors — Allison McRae in biology, Will Allred in environmental science — met during their senior years at UNC-Pembroke and while both their mothers noticed a spark, no one did anything about it.

Submitted photo Allison McCrae and Will Allred shown, at left, as friends in November 2007. The couple married on June 9, 2009.

Submitted photo
Allison McCrae and Will Allred shown, at left, as friends in November 2007. The couple married on June 9, 2009.

Unless, of course, you consider the start of a close friendship as something. After meeting in the fall of 2006, Allison and Will remained friends and nothing else. They fished together and took long walks in the woods. Nothing was missing.

“We continued to be friends for a year and although our parents could see it, I was blind to how great we were together,” Allison wrote in the Love Story contest with Creative Eye Photography and The Pee Dee Post. “One night, while we cooked dinner and walked to a local pond, we looked at the stars and I felt myself fall in love with him.”

The Rockingham couple’s love story was unanimously selected as the winner by a three-person panel. There were 10 entrants. The Allreds win a free photo shoot with Creative Eye Photography. The session will include up to 15 digital images and a print release. Photos will be placed on disc or made available for digital download.

Each of the 10 entries had its own special twist, but there was something unique about the story of Allison and Will — it seemed they both felt in love, but almost by accident. The world is a better place for it.

“I felt like I was there,” said Tammy Bundy, of Creative Eye Photography and a member of the three-person selection panel. “I felt like I knew them” from their story.

Allison put aside her fears of the possibility of losing a friendship for the chance at something more. They began dating in October 2007 and became engaged only four months later.

Allison, a Hamlet native, and Will, of Pineville, wed June 6, 2009. Late in 2014, they welcomed their first child, Lucas, to the family. Will teachers at Southern Middle School in Moore County while Allison teaches at Sandhills Community College.

“We’re still crazy about each other,” Allison said.

The couple celebrated Valentine’s Day on Friday night at Henry’s Uptown Cafe in downtown Rockingham. Allison’s mother surprised them by offering to keep Lucas overnight so the two could enjoy a rare night alone.

The story of how Allison and Will was the unanimous winner, but that doesn’t mean making the selection was easy. Perhaps what put their story over the top, however, is that the ending is not yet written.

For the second- and third-place entries, the ending has largely been written.

Helen Cox, widow of the late author and Richmond County Daily Journal editor Clark Cox, submitted a handwritten piece that could easily be considered a timeless classic. Panelists agreed Helen’s submission was easily the best written of any of the 10 entrants. Of course, Helen herself was a Daily Journal staff member for nearly two years. In fact, Helen and Clark met when Helen joined the staff there in 1973.

Submitted photo Helen Cox, second from left, met the love of her life at the Richmond County Daily Journal in 1973 — Clark Cox, far right.

Submitted photo
Helen Cox, second from left, met the love of her life at the Richmond County Daily Journal in 1973 — Clark Cox, far right.

“Clark was already an established staff member,” Helen wrote. “I quickly became impressed and amazing by this ‘older’ and worldly man. He was intelligent with a great sense of humor and quick wit — an irresistible combination for me.”

Even in the mid-1970s, it was out-of-the-box thinking for a girl to call a boy, but that’s what Helen did. Shortly after she’d left the newspaper to return home and work on earning her teacher certification, Helen called Clark and asked if she could accompany him to see a play he wrote that was to be performed at Richmond Community College.

A few days after the play, “Clark asked met if I would like to go to Mr. Flynn’s restaurant in Southern Pines. So began our courtship at this Chinese restaurant owned by an Irish, retired police officer from New York City.”

“Clark loved cooking, good books, music, baseball and dogs, but most of all, he loved me and our children, Candice and Tom.”

Clark died March 18, 2004, after a five-year battle with colon cancer.

“I cannot say he truly left us,” Helen wrote. “There are so many wonderful memories of our life together. I feel his presence when I hear him in thew words and expressions of our children and kind words about him from friends who knew him well.”

Placing third was the story submitted by Barbara Mozingo, who wrote on behalf of her parents, William F. Griffin and Edith Hines.

Edith and William Griffin

Edith and William Griffin

Like Helen’s story, this was one in which the ending was provided — along with a tug on the ol’ heartstrings. William met Edith prior to the start of World War II. She was 14.

“Not only was she pretty, but she could fight like a boy,” Mozingo wrote.

William was wounded and eventually sent to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Fayetteville. Mozingo set the readers up for a twist when it was learned Edith wasn’t the first woman to visit William in the hospital.

Edith, now grown, moved to New York City “and was living a single girl’s dream life” when contacted by her mom. William had written her mother, it seemed, with a simple message: “If you want a good man, come home.”

Edith returned home, “and they picked up where they had left off before the war. While riding down Clemmer Mill Road, Daddy asked Mother to marry him.”

Edith died 13 years ago. William, 94, hasn’t forgotten his one true love. Each night before going to sleep, he “looks at his true love’s picture and blows her a goodnight kiss.”

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