Brenda Roberts, Virgil Roberts, and Hayley Roberts

Recorded November 14, 2009 Archived November 14, 2009 38:05 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: LMN001800


Virgil and Brebda Roberts were interviewed by Hayley Roberts to talks about their 30’ anniversary, married life and memories of the wedding day

Subject Log / Time Code

The couple talks about how they meet
(V) talks about how was when he went out for dinner with Brenda’s family
(B) talks about the time they moved together
(V) explains that being whit out children at home is like being married again
(B) talks about the wedding a fun and an special moment , a house party


  • Brenda Roberts
  • Virgil Roberts
  • Hayley Roberts

Recording Locations

StoryCorps Lower Manhattan Booth



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00:07 My name is Kaylee Roberts. I'm 25 years old today is November 14th 2009 where in lower Manhattan and I'm interviewing my parents.

00:19 And hello, my name is Virgil Roberts. I am 62 years old God. I can realize that today is November 14th 2009 where in lower Manhattan and I am the father of Hayley Roberts.

00:39 My name is Brenda Roberts. I'm also 62 today's date is November 14th 2009. We're in lower Manhattan, and we're being interviewed by our daughter.

00:55 Take me to start. Okay, well happy anniversary. You guys my first question to both of you who ever wants to answer first when you were little what did you imagine about the person you're going to marry?

01:17 What did you think that person was going to be like?

01:20 Well, I can tell you what I hoped he would be like romantic somebody romantic in the wood.

01:31 Very intelligent and you know a manly man and that's why I got up but when I was when I was young, it's been so long since I've been yet that I think the only thing that I really thought about was I was going to marry. Hope you're really beautiful intelligent sexy woman and I did so then moving forward. How did you guys meet cuz I've heard a couple different stories that I want to hear from the horse's mouth.

02:17 Well, we first met I still remember the first time I met your mother. Was that a fundraiser for Tom Bradley and she was working at the fundraiser for our time? And I remember she had this wonderful smile. I thought she was so cute that if I hadn't been married, I would have caught it made a play for her but I was married. So I just thought was when we first met. Yeah, Tom Bradley is you know as mayor of Los Angeles and when I I noticed your dad and that first meeting too, but I knew he was married. So I just, you know, it wasn't but I couldn't help but notice him though, cuz he was standing over in a corner. I never will forget he was standing over in a corner with his arms folded.

03:18 And he had on a well-cut dark suit and he was like taking everybody in but just kind of amused at every turn. That was so intriguing so you guys didn't you know hook up then so then how did you eventually like arrange a date and get together and start dating? Your mother was was one of her friends and after she died there were number of women who would come by and try and consult me and stuff at at the house and we have a Charolais drive and eventually what happened is is how we used to have parties at my house.

04:18 Every night and then we had a subscription service Earth before cable. There was something called on TV and before movies with the video. They would be on on TV and they were going to have this popular movie that was out with the boys from Brazil. And so I invited your mother to come over to watch the movie and she came over and after and we watch the movie and then there was another girl that I was dating who was there that I took to the airport are you never told me you were dating her I never said that all was like it wasn't like a girl for me and I figured it out. It's just that you never told me so I took her to the airport cuz she was

05:17 While I told you the airport, my best friend was talking to your mother and when I came back because I I had decided that I was never going to get remarried and when I came back from the airport Frazier was there and is very ugly and he said you should talk to this woman because I think she's really special. I think you would really like her. So then your mother and I stayed up talking until almost of the sun came up and then she went home and I said, you know, I think I think that's the woman that I want to think about marrying. So then I called her up and ask her to go out later that day and she wouldn't go out with me.

06:07 So I went through all the days of the month tomorrow, not tomorrow cuz I'm done. So how about the next day about the next day and we went through all these days and then she finally said, well, you know, who and Maryland Board are having a party or are you going and I wasn't but I said, yeah I'm going so that I went to the party and she was there with your godmother Letty and somebody else and so I went to the party that's it while I'm here while we go to dinner. She said why I'm with these other people and I said, well we all go to dinner so to the restaurant I asked maitre, d' to put us at a table together and put everybody off at another table. So that was sore so that was sort of our first on the first date.

07:07 Turn on Bubba's Frazier talking to you about to keep you that I don't even remember. He was talking about your dad and what a great guy. He was and everything and you don't because I I knew your dad but I didn't know I'm like really well or anyting but Frey just asking me, you know, what kinds of things I like. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah, you know what he was telling me about, you know, they've been at UCLA together and just I think he was just anything that came to his head that way keep me there because the prior broken up and your dad is gone off to the airport with

08:03 An impersonal and so I was always really time for me to call but Fraser phrase did a good job for the door. You mentioned that through that conversation your kind of thing with this is someone special care. When did you guys both kind of realize but you know, this is a relationship that you wanted the last I realized that night. I realized that night. I really did. I was driving home and I looked up at the moon and I just I don't know I just how is it

08:56 Is this it? I remember thinking that to myself and I knew the answer to it. So then how come when he called you for a date the next day you're really was busy busy and he kept throwing the dates out. But I I just had other things I have to do so he took it as me trying to avoid him or anything. It wasn't that it was just so you know, I was busy.

09:23 I never did get too busy. Do what you want to do. You always amend your schedule to buy things that are important to you. That's right. Don't necessarily just wanted to jump at the first asked so he had to work a little bit interested because after my first wife that died, I did I did a lot of a lot of girls a lot of women and you know, I come to the conclusion most of them were younger than I was and I come to the conclusion. I really couldn't find my soulmate because you know, I grew up in in the 60s when I came of it. So the music in the social movements from that time, you know, you know, I was active a student in a certain values are really that we're really important to me.

10:23 And the way in which you see the world through things that you think are important if you're going to spend your life with somebody you want somebody who sort of sees the world the way that you do and I really wasn't find anybody that kind of shared my experiences and my values and saw the world way. I did Until I Met Your Mother and I'm sure that's what Fraser felt because you know, he's like my sidekick so we were dating different women at the same at the same time and saying everything that we sit down and talk. That's how I know. You know these women they are there okay to go out with but I'm not going to be spending my life with any of these people, you know, and they're afraid I think I found the one he was right. So thank you for Asia live together for a little bit before you got.

11:23 Married, how long are you dating until you moved in together? And then how long was it before you got married? We moved in together and I think it I need it coincided with about time. Your mother's lease was ending. Yeah, my latest WhatsApp on my apartment and they were going to turn it into a condo and I didn't feel I could afford it. I wish I had bought it now, but I didn't feel like I could afford it. So I was kind of mad at a Crossroads. So, you know, your dad's work makes perfect sense and we're spending so much time together. Anyway, just let's move in together go from one house to the other house. And so it just made sense to to take a solid eight plus, you know, our relationship was serious and I felt that we should

12:23 Good together before we get married. It has ever said, you know, you're at least you test drive a car and see if my mother gave me that advice. My mother said, you know, you got to marry somebody, you know, it's really you should get to know them because when you date you can always be on your best behavior. The question is, how do you feel about somebody when their hair is messy? Their breath is stinky. Do you know if you're not on your best behavior and stuff if you can still love somebody in the worst of situations, that's when you know, and there's no other way to know that other than to be with somebody like all the time.

13:18 Skip this is pretty much the opposite and she really really stressed. She wrote me this long letter and she laid it all out and she said well, she just she just was not going to be able to come down and stay with us or visit us anytime until and unless, you know fertile had at least pop the question. So that was like a seal deal. Otherwise, she just she's just didn't know she just could not.

13:52 Chicken condone it but he didn't tell her she was wrong Fight Club. I went through the letter W stressed out as well. She's wrong that I called the birth. I said your daughter is 30 years old and she's a full grown woman, you know, you'd already had five kids when you were that age you now you have to let your daughter make decisions for herself. And you know, we decided that we're going to live together. That's what we're going to do. And I'm sorry that you think it's the wrong thing, but my mother thinks the right thing.

14:52 Your daughter is is agreeable to it. So you should be supportive of our relationship. How's it going over to because you guys ask your question? Well, because I think she like Myrtle the first time she saw him and talk to him and she kind of okay this this was just an a new son another son to her. And so because when he came up, he never did really proposed by the way, we were so how did we were standing around a group of friends? And he just he was in conversation and he just said and when Brenda and I get married

15:40 And that was the proposed your friends to do the formal coming up and meeting with Bertha and all of her friends and my aunts and things like that. He really he talked about it came up and ran the gauntlet but I knew she loved him already and she was rooting for him. She just wanted everybody else to love him to which they did because it was all women my aunt died and we need a mrs. What's mrs. Jackson? Who else is there the real Michelle at room for the women and he had to come around the complex and he did Beauty but he charm the pants off everybody. They were all 11 and by the time you left the room.

16:40 My usual level with you know, I'm always very direct and honest and so she like that about him immediately cuz that's why she is so talking about when you guys are going to get married to and how did you set a date and to all Valley set a date? Oh, well, I don't know. I think my mom probably move that program tomorrow because of the weather now, we're going to get married so it works.

17:40 Remember exactly what it was but you know the tween my sisters and my mom and me, we got a date set and everything out and then everything go from there.

17:54 Okay, so I have questions from dissolved to what was the most surprising thing about the first year of marriage?

18:09 Komodo private question to Solace. This is our other daughter.

18:14 Wow, what? Will it be? I don't think it was I don't think it was a surprise because since we live together being married was a continuation what we're already doing. I think you know, so I don't really remember it is Friday. I think I surprised I think the biggest adjustment that we had to make was it was a personality kind of adjustment because I'm a private person and your dad is just the opposite and he was like come one come all and he would that he had a habit of inviting people just to come and stay weekend with us or stay a few days or come live with us. He wouldn't necessarily say anything to me about it. So this was beyond annoying for me.

19:14 But I'm a bad but bones but I think we're just that before we got married after this was after anyway, but that you know, we we that's what we learned about compromise because it has to be, you know, you have to give up something to get something. That's that's even better. So and it worked it out of my house used to be it was the party house because I was the first one of all of our friend on my close friends to get a house. So therefore that was house with people got married and was house we wed your birthday parties and as you were at the house, when is Charlie it was a big house and so we have lots of it. So, you know people like if you like my friend barbazzar, that's where you can stay here with you get a job and your dance day my brother stay with me for a while.

20:14 Before we got married, my first wife sister Connie. She stayed with us for a while. So I was just as you know, people need a place to stay see that we have been really stay downstairs whenever it's so people are always thought through who are all these people.

20:39 That sounds like fun in Sarasota. Next question is does the reality of marriage on your 30th Anniversary match what you thought it would be on your first anniversary?

20:52 That's an interesting question because you know, we've been married for 30 years, but doesn't seem that long, you know, and so I guess that the realities in year one, I would have thought 30 years is a long time to be with with one person but 30 years. It seems like 5, you know, I made it still seems like as I was saying to your mother this morning, I we never seem to have enough time together, you know, because even though we've been married a long time, we still really enjoy each other's company. We have fun together, but we don't seem to have enough time to have fun together.

21:38 Oh, yeah, as a matter fact, it's shocking to me shocking that we have two daughters were grown and out in the world and working and everything. You'd be my zip by unbelievably it's frightening how fast it goes. So you just want to be able to spend I would love to be able to have more time to spend with your dad because he spoils me rotten, you know, we're not only that is it, you know, it's it's so it's it's a romantic relationship still and that we really don't like to be separated from each other for too long. How did having kids change your relationship and your marriage?

22:38 Why I think that your relationship changes when you have children because the first thing that that that nobody told us is all spontaneity is gone. Now, there's no such thing as coming home and tell you I was going to movies like because kids need a routine, you know, they have to be fed that you know it on a certain time and when you have children, you never sleep soundly because you're always listening for them and so it your whole life becomes schedule because if you're going to go somewhere you got a range for a babysitter in advance and I forgot to do something to do something in advance and so much of your time and that's part of why I say we still feel like we haven't been able to spend much time together so much of your time gets spent with your children.

23:33 You know doing things with him, maybe remember when when you girls were young like on a Saturday we would do a lot of things together. So I'd be with with you and Kristen and Brando. Yeah, we might go to the zoo and stuff. But I was with your mother, you know, and we have dinner, you know, a lot of it is around what but the kids are they being fed and then how to feed themselves schooling. I do homework with him and stuff. So a lot of your life revolves around your children and that affects your your relationship in the sense that it's no longer just the two of you having a quiet intimate dinner and stuff. You have a family, you know, and so now two girls are gone. It's more like when we first got married now because we come home you're not there and we're not worried about your homework or not worried about. You know, how you doing in college, you know, are you going up y'all?

24:33 Things that you worry about until your kids become adults, and so now you and your sister are doubts. We now have some of the same sort of freedom of time and freedom of mine that we first got married. Well, you know, I changed. Yeah, the the word I was going to use was with you and Giselle in our lives really enriching our our lives and the relation of necessity got deeper because we now had two other lives that were intertwined with ours and

25:22 So the worries and the pride and the Joyce that you have because I'm especially with you to it. It it. We feel we feel I don't know what it is. It's been deeper because of them because of you two having said that it's great to be able to to to be together and instead of M and having to be a little bit more just to have more spontaneity is true because you don't have to plan every minute out and having kids with only be as happy as your saddest child, you know, your kids are a part of you forever, you know, so that is if one of you if you're sick or you're depressed or something is bothering you then it's

26:22 Will for us to be happy because you're not happy and that's how you know, your kids really are an extension of you and I think that it does it does it change your relationship because as a as a couple you're now responsible for these are the lies, you know, and for to work you have to develop a relationship that's even stronger the Galaxy out to be a team as you're raising children in a way that you can have. Tony would have to be the same kind of team and I can't be a force thing. I like, you know, would you have to do this? Right? And you better do that, you know and them

27:05 You know, it's it's it's so much better for the family if everybody's just realizes what needs to be done and just picks up your part. Yeah. It's it's really like a team working together. So what were some of a goal or what are some of the goals that you have yet to reach as a married couple

27:33 But one of those we've yet to be just married couple is to be retired never get there, but there's a lot of traveling we like to do together.

27:54 Other things that we would like to see and do the required time, you know is we've gotten older we become more aware of the finite amount of time that there is, you know, when you're young often times you think in terms of infinity, I'll do that later you now in the later can be I have children later. I'll travel later. I'll get a house later. I'll get all kinds things you do later. When you get to be the age that your mom and I are you begin to realize that I can't keep saying what do it later cuz is already late, you know, and so that the agenda things that you wanted that you want to do require time and required resources, and that's where do I say? We haven't retired yet because you know, like for a retiree then you know, you're not working or you're not tied down to two.

28:54 Have you can say hey, there's a chance for us to get a discount on a cruise with leave tomorrow when you can do that. If you retire you can't do that, if you're working. So there places in the world that things we want to do that we want to do together that we haven't done in. I think that's so your Dad's life new quest in a fix our house up the way we would like for it to be for us as we get older and have more experiences that we sort of postponed because we had a family and stuff and we want to try and do that and our Salad Days.

29:36 So what were the happiest and saddest moments in your marriage so far?

29:45 Joey's Lee the saddest it was the one your sister became me out.

29:50 That was some that was very difficult to watch gazelle who's you know, young vigorous, you know, very outgoing woman all of a sudden to become you're basically paralyzed. If you don't have surgery didn't know how she was going to recover and what that was going to be in what our life is going to be in it was so difficult for her and that made it doubly difficult for us because in Europe are you would say why not me cuz I live the life, you know, your brother young said, of course, I think the most exciting thing was a for the birth of your girls. Oh, yes. I mean when your boss is it a high points both of you both of your your birth were really excited interesting moment, you know, giselle's it was found.

30:50 Am I still a long labor? We with the Lamaze and stuff and then you were born elated happened fast and unexpectedly, you know, we're rushing to get to the living room. And in the doctor said hold on. Hold on your had it already crowded and I wasn't working. There is like you were coming down sides are our wedding day, which was just a supreme joy to me really the birth of both Giselle and and you Haley those two and then of course in seeing you graduate every little everything that every joy that you had we felt it.

31:50 Yeah, I carry is thrilled. You're right question that I thought would be nice to end with but what's the one thing that you want the world to know about each other so Dad. What's one thing you want the world to know about Mom and Mom. What's one thing you want the world to know that Dad. Your mother is the the most amazing woman. She's incredible Rider extremely a deep thinker and the world doesn't know because she's she's basically a shy person so the hurt hurt. I don't like this stuff is not nearly manifested as much as as it should be and I don't think the world realize that

32:49 Well, your dad is a more public person than I am. So a lot of people already know this about him that he's very intelligent and giving and expressive marvelous attorney.

33:12 And but I but I think I want the world to know about him. Is that he's a good man good man from his heart out.

33:22 He's the best man that I know.

33:26 Thank you so much. Yeah, thank you so much. And I just want to say happy anniversary. And I will be back. Maybe you can tell me the story about your wedding date, LOL. That was memorable you have an aunt who is an anal compulsive. So she had everything scheduled down to the second and so the wedding day got started off and it probably Joe Carroll crazy because the airport was fogged in.

34:11 So the guys who are the groom's in a Fraser and Harper and stuff they couldn't get to Sacramento. So they're gone to the airport the night before cuz we had a wedding rehearsal the airport was closed. So they didn't they weren't able to come for the wedding. So we had a wedding rehearsal without you know, and so that meant we had also the rehearsal dinner without them and so the neighbor at the airport and they literally stayed there so they get the first plane out there. I think Fred lost his shoes. So they finally got the first plane that could get to Sacramento and it came in like in the morning like shortly before the wedding was scheduled start. So the guys got there and they told me the story about how they've been up all night waiting try to get a plane and stuff and I said, oh, come on, let me take you to breakfast. So

35:11 We got a breakfast as everybody else in the

35:16 Yeah, I know where I get my time and I'm not going to Coast dachshund show. So I think private moment with because I woke up that morning early and my sisters and my mother they they brought me a lovely breakfast in bed. And I mean they just the whole morning they made it just so it was so any bride would want that, you know to be really I felt like I was being prepared for nuptial. It was wonderful. It was some I want to do that for you guys.

36:16 But but but anyways up but I waiting was it was a lot of fun and because it was it was like it what I would call a family wedding, you know, like all of our friends were there the reception was like at your brother's house and we both really like cuz if it was his number one in and sees me it was different than if we've been in a hotel and a country club where to been a beautiful setting but it would not have been like a family said, you know, just a different field but the signs are all with us because I mean God was really blessing us because we didn't have all this fog and the weekend before it raining like cats and dogs. And so, you know, but the day broke clear it was so beautiful. We could even have the reception

37:16 Private was outside, you know, that was so nice and warm and it'll say in any of the most of our friends and stuff were there. So it was it was it was a it was a fun wedding me to get that was really a joyous Day Joyce 30 years. I hope you give me a great example of what I want my marriage to be in the future and what I want to be as a person so we love both of you girl.