Wedding Photographer

For the Davises, it was love on the first call

Shirley Bradley fell in love with Pinky Davis almost from the moment she heard her voice on the phone.

She had been dating another young man for some time, even though it was a long-distance relationship. When Pinky called her to ask her out in October 1951, she agreed to go.

“I really had no intention of dating because I had a boyfriend,” Shirley said. “But I loved the way Pinky sounded on the phone. He just had the prettiest voice on the phone.”

Pinky had seen Shirley on the campus of Little Rock Junior College, now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, while on his way to lunch with a friend.

“I was with a boyfriend of mine, and his girlfriend and her friends,” Pinky says of the day he first saw Shirley. “I just thought she was cute. She had those dancer legs.”

Pinky is only six months older than Shirley, and they both grew up in Little Rock but attended different high schools – he went to the old Little Rock Technical High School and she went to Little Rock High School, now Little Rock Central High.

Almost immediately after Pinky and their friends arrived to pick her up for their first date — a football game in Conway — she realized it had been fair for her to accept his invitation.

“He was kind of love at first sight. He was really unlike anyone I’d dated before,” she says. “I loved going to school — I loved school — and he really didn’t care. He was kind of a party animal, just really fun and really outgoing, a lot less serious than me, and he had I been a lot more conformist. We just opposite in a lot of ways.”

She broke off her relationship with the other guy and started seeing Pinky.

“He just started calling me and we started going to the movies and hanging out,” she says. “And that was it.”

Shirley was in a sorority in college and he joined her for several of the duties through that organization.

“We would go to dances or meet other people,” she says. “There weren’t all the things to do like there are now.”

Pinky recalls that she was also president of the honors society at the time.

“She was smart,” he says.

The following summer, Shirley and Pinky got engaged.

“It was just one of those things that all of a sudden we were talking about getting married, and he bought me a ring and gave it to me on the 4th of July,” she says.

They were married on January 1, 1953 at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock.

“Our wedding was really pretty, and I loved it,” she says.

After a honeymoon in Hot Springs, they settled into a small apartment in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock.

“We didn’t have a car, but it was okay,” she says. “We were right on the bus route and we took the bus to work and we were walking distance to a grocery store and a pharmacy. And if we needed a car, we borrowed the car from my parents or his parents at the weekend.”

Pinky was an electrician when they first married, but the work was sporadic, so after their family grew three children in three and a half years, he decided to seek a more lucrative job.

He got a job with a photographer he knew in church. Later he bought this photography business and for 33 years he traveled the state taking photos of school, graduations and proms, etc. Shirley worked in the business with him, mostly helping in the office.

“We’ve always worked together since he bought the photo business, and we’re still together, which some people seem to find pretty incredible — that you can work together and live together,” she says.

The Davises had a cabin in Hot Springs for 37 years and spent much of their free time there. About 20 years ago, they moved to Bentonville to be closer to their daughter and her family.

They have seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

“We see a lot of family. What’s funny is that our family that lives around, or even when they come to town, we have the smallest house of all, but that’s where they always want to come,” says Shirley, who is happy to have them. “They always want me to cook and they always want to come here.”

Shirley says health and fitness has been a priority for her and Pinky for the past 40 years. They made it a point to exercise at a health club three times a week.

“We attribute this to our ability to continue leading active and busy lives,” she says.

For their 50th birthday, their children took them on a Caribbean cruise.

“They also offered us a trip to Italy once,” says Pinky, who turns 90 in November. “We had a good marriage. We always have a good time together.”

If you have an interesting story about our encounter or know someone who does, please call (501) 425-7228 or email:

[email protected]

The first time I saw my future spouse:

She says, “I thought he was very handsome. He was with our friends and they picked me up for our first date.

He said, “I was going to lunch and I saw her and asked my friend who she was.”

Our wedding day:

She says, “When we went to check in to Arlington for our honeymoon, I guess because we looked so young, they said they needed to see a copy of our marriage license.”

He says: “We had borrowed his grandfather’s car to leave the church, and nobody knew that we had taken the car. They had decorated my mother’s car. They were driving home from the wedding and of course my brother, who was nine years younger, was in the back.

My advice for a long, happy marriage:

She says, “I can’t take credit for it but it’s great advice: Every day when you wake up, you have to tell yourself that I’m going to love this person today.”

He says, “Have a good time together.”

Shirley Bradley and Pinky Davis were married on January 1, 1953. “The first gift Pinky gave me was a necklace with a mustard seed charm,” she says. “I’ve carried this charm with me in my purse for over 70 years,” she says. “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, anything is possible, and that faith has shown that everything works out as it should.” (Special at the Democrat-Gazette)