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The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Couples on Campus: Charlie and Pamela Bowen

Charlie+and+Pamela+Bowen+have+been+married+54+years.
Courtesy of Charlie Bowen
Charlie and Pamela Bowen have been married 54 years.

Within the hustle and bustle of college campuses, there lies the multi-faceted world of love. Love presents itself in many forms, and it appears to thrive particularly within the confines of Marshall. 

“She’ll have no pickles on the sandwich,” Charlie Bowen, adjunct professor for the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and journalist said. “She hates pickles.” 

The “she” in Charlie’s remark is Pamela Bowen, journalist, lifelong learner and Charlie’s beloved wife of 54 years. 

The couple’s communication transcends Charlie’s knowledge of Pamela’s sandwich preferences–it stems back to the early days of the Bowens’ relationship. 

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“I would host folk parties at my house on Friday nights,” Pamela Bowen said. “It made it easy for Charlie to stay late, and we would talk, play music and sing songs together.” 

The pair’s relationship progressed, but both Pamela and Charlie were bashful and lacked the willingness to muster up the courage and ask the other out, Pamela said. 

Despite being “cripplingly shy,” Pamela said she took charge and called Charlie–explaining she needed clarity on the trajectory of their relationship.

“I said we can continue being friends, or we can take this to another level,” Pamela said. “I have to know what it is going to be.” 

Upon receiving this phone call, Charlie said, “Well, I can’t get married until after I graduate and get out of the military,” Pamela said. 

Cheekily, Pamela went on to say, “I think that’s why he never had any dates.”

In spite of Charlie’s initial cluelessness towards navigating their relationship, the couple continued to nurture and deepen their friendship.

In those early days, Pamela and Charlie would grab a bite to eat and head to the floodwall and exchange life stories, Pamela said. 

“We just knew everything about each other,” Charlie said. “I had a better understanding of Pamela, and she understood me better than some brothers and sisters.”

Although Charlie was never a Marshall student, he visited Pamela so often that a picture of him ended up in the yearbook, Charlie said. 

“I made like half a page,” Charlie said. “I was carrying books on my way to visit Pamela, and the roaming photographer thought I was a student.” 

Being open with each other is a significant factor in the success of the pair’s relationship, Charlie said. 

“Resentment is the biggest poison,” Charlie said. “If you talk things through and get that out of the way, that poison goes away.”

Beyond communication, the pair is dedicated to being lifelong best friends. 

“Being each other’s friends first is really important,” Pamela said. “We laugh a lot and have a lot of fun together.”

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