Bradley Martin was about five years into his journalism career at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis where he transitioned from a sports writer to news reporter. He worked long nights, his shift ending at 10 or 11 p.m. After a long day, he’d stop by a little cafe a couple of miles from his office where he met Alice Thompson, a young executive assistant at the home office of an international chemical company. “She used to beat me like a drum on the shuffleboard table,” Bradley remembers of those first few weeks of getting to know Alice.
When Bradley asked her to marry him a year later, he was met with an ultimatum of sorts. “She said, okay, but we have to go back to where I grew up,” Bradley recalls. “I want to go home,” she told him.
Home for Alice was Centerville, Tennessee, the birthplace of Minnie Pearl and a checkpoint off Highway 100, a road that used to be a main thoroughfare to Broadway for country musicians like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings.
Her family had been there for generations, and there was a job at the insurance agency they owned waiting for her should they make it that way.
Although she graduated with a degree in music education, Alice didn’t plan to teach. She was good at typing and she loved editing.
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