A Marriage Story

by adustyframe ~ October 10th, 2016

I found this sweet story in a newspaper from 1979. It was folded underneath a game I purchased at the thrift store.

I enjoyed looking at the 70s fashion in the ads and the prices in all the ads. There was something about the hostages in Iran and someone saved from a shark attack.

Then I turned the page and found this sweet story.

Art and Lucy celebrated the 70th anniversary of their November 1909 wedding at a local supper club.

A dear friend wrote a poem in honor of their long lives together. When you’re in your mid 90s such a gathering is a testimonial to an ability to make and keep friend.

“You’ve outlived your guaranteed issued life insurance policies, and all our friends we used to play cards with. They’re all gone. So many of our friends are in nursing homes now. It’s sad. We used to visit but it’s hard now.”

There are new friends and they are still playing cards pretty regularly–at least they were until her recent poor health. Art plays with a men’s group and Lucy’s group meets with a member who is housebound.

The young people in their neighborhood are all grown up with their own families but they still visit occasionally. There are friends at the church down the street. The third generation of their own family is growing.

They have lived in the same area all 70 years of their marriage. They moved to a farm three miles north of town to set up housekeeping. They farmed until they moved “to town” in 1952. Their three children were born while they were on the farm twin daughters and sixteen years later, a son.

In town, they chose their home because the church was just at the end of the street and there was a grocery on the corner.

The store has moved but the church is still there.

Five wars and the Great Depression have helped to mold their lives and so have technological changes. They bought a surrey and wrapped up in bear robes for winter travel when the twins crowded the buggy. They bought their first car, a Ford, in 1917 and continued to use the robes in season. Framing went from horses to tractors and marketing from farm market to co-op and agri-business.

They have always tried to keep up with developments. Today, they comment on Iran and third world conditions and speak about those with presidential aspirations.

“For us, the depression was the worst. We had 100 acres and hung on and hung on and finally came through it” he remembered. “We had plenty to eat and made over our clothing, patched it and made it do.” Lucy said, “If I got a pair of silk stockings, I turned them over to the children. They cost about .29.”

Art recalls receiving $15 for 2 milk cows that today would be worth $700-800.

They sold the farm equipment in 1952 when the prices were high and moved to town and rented out their farm land. The farm land was sold in 1955.

Art worked until he was 80, finishing his working days as a custodian at a teacher’s college. He had to quit when the steps got too high for him.

For Lucy, the move to town meant opportunity to attend vocational school classes, something there had been no chance to do on the farm. “I just loved it.” she declared. Her upholstering, caning, aluminum and leather tooling and advanced sewing embellished their home and provided gifts for friends and relatives. It was during this time that Lucy crocheted 20 afghans for weddings and showers for her grandchildren.

When Art retired at age 80, they bought a house trailer and began spending time at the lake. They used it for weekends until driving it became to be too much for Art at age 90.

The most exciting thing that ever happened to them was the birth of their son and the worst was the death of their daughter in a car accident. Lucy was left with artery damage that required surgery.

“Lucy inherited a dishwasher when I retired.” Art likes to say. Together, they operate their own home, almost without assistance. They share the housework and tend a large garden. Produce is canned for the winter and surplus is shared with two neighbors who don’t have gardens.

Art vacuums; Lucy cooks and does the laundry. She still hangs the washing out of doors when the weather is nice.

“My kitchen is just right for me to get around in. I can sit for lots of things. Lucy stopped making rye bread a year ago. “I don’t bake cakes anymore, but I’m still making cookies.” She’s been baking since the days of the woods stove. “We had bottled gas before we left the farm though.”

Art is still putting on the screens and storm windows, but he’s going to have help this year with snow shoveling and lawn mowing. He painted the garage last year.  He still drives his car, “daytime only!” They need the car for groceries and shopping and church. He has always managed his own finances and continues to do so.

“We’re doing all right. There’s only two of us and my wife is economical.”

In all his life, Art says he hasn’t spent $100 on doctors bills for himself. He and Lucy are pleased with the weekly visit of a student nurse arranged by the county.

“We’re on our third one now. It’s part of their training we can help with and we get our pulse and blood pressure taken.”

Art reads two newspapers and several magazines regularly. Their daughter keeps him supplied with books. Reading is probably what Lucy misses most. Her vision is too poor to read or watch television any more. “I used to read every night until the book dropper. Now I just lie and wait for sleep to come.”

Art credits clean living and hard work for their longevity. He does this with a twinkle in his eye. “I smoke a pipe. I’ve smoked since I was 16, and I drink a little brandy when I want it. I like wine once in awhile when somebody comes in but we don’t just sit and drink you know. That wouldn’t be good.”



4 Thoughts Shared to A Marriage Story

  1. Susanna

    Awwww. 1979 was a good year 😉

  2. Pam

    Thanks for sharing this sweet story of simpler times.
    I am a first generation removed from the Amish culture……I love their simpler life and reading about it. They are not perfect but there are many things to be learned from their humble lifestyle

  3. Esther Haggstrom

    I enjoyed reading this!

  4. Lisa

    Excellent commentary on how to live a good life. I feel for that lady–I hope someone at the time (my Senior year in high school!) got her books on cassette tapes or even the old books for the blind on records (hipster “viinyl”). Something tells me these folks might have a taken out a mortgage and possibly a car loan, but no other debt.

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