As it has often been said, “Love is a many splendored thing.”
While Ardmore residents Teddy and Estelle Fite both grew up in the same town, went to the same school and both had parents who worked on the Santa Fe Railroad’s famous Mercy Train, the two wouldn’t meet until fate stepped in.
Estelle’s father was an engineer, while Ted’s step-father was a conductor. The fathers knew each other well and were even friends, but their children didn’t meet until they were in their 20s.
“I remember my mother used to always get up and make a meal for my dad, no matter what time is was,” Estelle said. “The train would come in all hours of the night.”
The Mercy Train — and all those who worked on it — has since become a symbol of heroism in Ardmore. In 1915, the train transported aid workers from north Texas to Oklahoma, after an explosion at the downtown train station killed 43 people and injured dozens more.
Ted and Estelle both remember riding on the Santa Fe Railroad as children, they received free passes because their family worked for the railroad. Estelle remembers the time her father stopped the train to give her a insider’s preview vividly.  
“We lived in the country about 5 miles out of town, and they stopped the train,” Estelle said. “We got on the train and they showed us the fire box. My dad grabbed my brother and pretended he was going to throw him in the fire. We all laughed.”
The pair grew up in Clovis, New Mexico. Estelle, now 86, saw a photo of Ted, now 87, in the local newspaper, telling of a soldier from Clovis who was wounded in battle during the Korean War.
“I told my girlfriend, this is the man I’m going to marry,” Estelle said. “I wrapped the photo in plastic and kept it in my wallet. He was so good looking.”
The two happened to meet through Estelle’s friend, and after a whirlwind of courtship the couple ended up getting married. Fast forward 66 years, and the couple is still happily married to this day.
In 1963, they moved to Ardmore staying close to the train that their parents both loved.  
“Well they didn’t call it the Mercy Train then, it was number 1108,” Estelle said. “When we would go to the Hardy Murphy Coliseum they (our parents) would both say, ‘oh I made a lot of runs on old 1108.’ I don’t think we met because of the railroad, but I don’t know, it was fate.”
“I get lonely to ride the train now,” Estelle added. “I wish we had more rails in our country than highways.”