Last week, Martha Mae Ophelia Moon Tucker was watching her favorite movie, ‘Coming to America,’ with one of her granddaughters when she murmured a long-held hope that she had never expressed aloud before.
“I’ve always wanted to try on a bridal dress,” Tucker, 94, murmured under her breath, as granddaughter Angela Strozier overheard.
Strozier requested Tucker to repeat what her grandma had just said, and Tucker did so.
“She said she never wore a wedding dress when she got married,’’ Strozier said. “I said, ‘That’s no problem.’ She kinda brushed me off. She didn’t think I would do it.”
Tucker’s desire was realized just two days later when Strozier and other family members paid a visit to David’s Bridal in Hoover.
The excursion’s Facebook post has been shared over 15,000 times.
“You know, I can’t even express how special it was. It was too special,’’ Tucker told AL.com Wednesday. “I’ve been wanting to do that a long time, just put one on.”
Tucker was born in Alexander City in 1927 and moved to Birmingham at the age of 15 to attend Parker High School, where she graduated in 1948.
She married the love of her life, Lehman Tucker Sr., in 1952.
Strozier explained that because Black women were not allowed in bridal shops at the time, the family she worked for gave her a navy blue “mermaid dress,” often known as a “Carmen Jones dress.”
Tucker went on to advocate for voting rights in Alabama with Civil Rights groups, and in 1963, he became a registered voter and poll worker.
After 57 years of election labor, she retired as a chief poll worker in November 2020. Her decades of service were recognized by the Birmingham City Council and Mayor Randall Woodfin.
“To say she is great is an understatement,” Strozier added.
Tucker had four children with her spouse. There are eleven grandkids, eighteen great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
In 1975, Tucker’s husband passed away.
Despite her claim that she has no desire to remarry, she has always wanted to see herself in a wedding gown.
Strozier went online right after their talk on Thursday and scheduled an appointment at David’s Bridal for 1:30 p.m. this coming Saturday.
Tucker was even given a makeover in the car by Birmingham makeup artist Pharris Clayton, who knows how difficult it is for Tucker to walk.
When they arrived at David’s and explained why they were there, the commotion about Tucker started right away.
“Everyone was so elated to help me do that for her,’’ Strozier said. “Everyone was catering to her because I told them her story.”
“When she walked out of the room and saw herself in the mirror, she said, ‘Oh, look at me,’’’ Strozier recalled. “One of the other brides that was in there started crying.”
“I felt like I was getting married,’’ Tucker said. “I didn’t want to take it off, but I knew I had to. I looked good in it though.”
She said she didn’t stop looking at the pictures taken on Saturday.
“I wondered what I would look like walking down the aisle,’’ she said. “I was like ‘Coming to America.’ It was exciting to me.”