70 years and counting: Ed & Mary George Poss share a Rabun romance
Soulmates don’t always experience love at first sight. But love often has a funny way of drawing people together.
When Ed Poss met Mary George Barber in the third grade, she didn’t want anything to do with him. Ed was a mischievous class clown and Mary George was a prim and proper student.
Over the years, they warmed up to each other, and when they were in 10th grade, Ed gathered up the courage to ask her out.
“I’m not quite sure why she lightened up to me over the years, but I’m glad she did,” Ed chuckled.
It definitely wasn’t because he became more serious. Ed played football in high school and described himself as “rough around the edges.” His classmates voted him the noisiest student as a senior in high school.
Ed was drawn to Mary George’s beauty, he said.
“She was really pretty, I tell you what,” he said with a smile.
After graduating high school, Ed and Mary George decided to get married, although her father wasn’t too keen on the idea. To try and dissuade her from marrying Ed, Mary George’s father offered to buy her a convertible, but she resolutely refused the offer. In another effort to prevent his little girl from marrying Ed, Mary George’s father told her she had to wait until she turned 18 to get married. That sat just fine with her — Mary George married Ed just 10 days after her 18th birthday.
“He didn’t even mind me that much, because we got along fine,” Ed said. “He just didn’t want to give up his little girl.”
On March 20, the couple will celebrate 71 years of marriage.
As is often the case, the Poss’s relationship faced a bit of a strain when they went to separate colleges. Mary George stayed close to their home in Athens and attended the University of Georgia. Ed went to Auburn University to play football.
Despite the distance, they maintained their marriage. Mary George routinely took the train to visit him in Alabama, and he sometimes visited her, too. When he would visit, Ed often resorted to hitchhiking back to school.
“I didn’t really mind (hitchhiking),” Ed said. “That was a thing that happened back in those days.”
After a year at Auburn, Ed joined the U.S. Navy. He completed boot camp in Norfolk, Virginia, and was stationed in San Diego, California. He spent two or three months on his own at the San Diego naval base before Mary George flew out to live with him.
The Posses returned to Athens after a two-year stint in California. Ed began a career as a real estate agent and Mary George pursued a career as an artist.
Since moving back to Georgia, their relationship has been mostly smooth sailing, Ed said.
“We’ve never really had any big arguments,” Ed said proudly. “I know that’s uncommon for a lot of couples, but we never really had any problems; we’ve always been able to just sort of figure out what we were going to do and then do it.”
In the mid 1960s, the pair moved from Athens to Lake Rabun, and then moved to Clayton a few years later. The desire to move was mutual. For Ed, it was beneficial for business reasons. He initially spent a summer in Lake Rabun to see if he could sell any properties in the area, and he proceeded to have a better month of sales than he’d ever experienced before.
For Mary George, the desire was more personal. In her time in the area, she had grown enamored with the beautiful scenery and the friendly residents.
The duo have two children — Scott and Jamie — both of whom live in Rabun County. When their children were young, Mary George tried to instill in them a firm moral compass. She taught them to always do what they felt was right and not to worry about how others would perceive them for it.
During the past few years, Mary George has been in declining health and suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and poor hearing loss.
“I actually think the hearing is worse than the Alzheimer’s,” Ed said. “If you can get her to hear you, she’s still sharp.”
For years, Ed cared for Mary George alone, and just recently had to hire a home health nurse to help.
“She’s been a jewel,” Ed said. “The past 71 years have been great.”
The Clayton Tribune thanks the Posses for sharing their story of love in time for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, Feb. 14. From our family to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day, Rabun County!