Widower builds museum of love to commemorate 60-year marriage

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Around Starkville, Mississippi, retired mail carrier Charles Evans is known mostly for his questionable taste in lawn furnishings.

But we came last year for something undeniably beautiful.

Charles met his wife Louise back in 1949. "When you looked at her it was like electrical shock," he said. "I guess it's love."

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Charles Evans

CBS News

To Charles, true love is so powerful that nothing can stop it -- nothing. Which is why, after she died in 2011 after 60 years of marriage, he decided a grave marker wasn't enough, that their love deserved more than a monument.

What their love needed was a museum.

And so, in a little outbuilding behind his house, Charles Evans built just that.

Inside, he's got the shoeshine stand he was working at when he met her. He's got all the music they used to dance to.

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Charles and Louise

Charles Evans

And he's got four walls packed solid with pictures documenting every significant occasion -- and most every insignificant occasion, like a few times they went out to lunch.

"She didn't like that one because I caught her laughing with food in her mouth," he said.

Needless to say, he wasn't getting a whole lot of visitors, which was fine by Charles. In fact, we got the sense he almost enjoyed his alone time more.

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Charles dancing with Louise

CBS News

On slow days, he would slow dance with Louise.

"I guess I'm trying to relive our life, wouldn't you think?" he said. "I don't know, it's so hard to explain, you know. But it's not a suffering memory. It's a beautiful memory."

Fortunately, a lot of our viewers could relate. Since that story first aired, 250 people from as far away as India have come to see the museum. Some even go for a spin with the curator.

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Charles dances with a guest

Of course, none of these new dance partners can hold a candle to his Louise.

But Charles says he's still happy that people are getting the message of his museum: That love can be never lost as long as it's savored.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.