EATON — On Tuesday, Oct. 23, 18 couples celebrated 50-plus years of marriage at The Grange, when The Register-Herald, in conjunction with Preble County Council on Aging, hosted the 28th annual Golden Anniversary Celebration for couples who have been married 50 years or longer.
If an individual had lost their loved one recently, they were still invited to the celebration to share in their memories. Couples were treated to refreshments and played bingo for door prizes. Fun and fellowship was had by all.
This year, 18 couples came out to celebrate their long and happy marriages. William and Nellie Fudge of Eaton were again regaled as the longest-wed couple, having reached 75 years.
This year featured speeches from The Register-Herald Editor Eddie Mowen, Commissioner Denise Robertson, Senior Center Services Manager Stacey Fullmer, and District 43 Representative J. Todd Smith.
“I just wanted to stop by and meet everyone and tell them congratulations. My husband and I have only been married 18 years and I want to know how it is done, how did you do it? I did get true confessions from a few of them — it is work. I got that,” Robertson said.
“I am so happy to be here and I want to wish you a happy anniversary and more years of wedded bliss. I’m glad I got to serve the cake and I will see you next year.”
“Let me say congratulations to you, because this is a beautiful thing. You endured, you survived. We are in a disposable culture. One of the old preachers I’ve preached for has had the same ink pen for 40 years. I have tools that came from my grandfather. There used to be a time, as Americans, we expected things to last, but we are in a disposable culture,” Smith said. “My father-in-law a few years ago had a weed-eater. He asked me to fix it and I took it home to look at it. It cost $64 brand new, to fix the carburetor would cost $52. You know what you do when you buy a weed-eater today? You throw it away and buy a new one. That is a sad thing. We have this mentality that every couple of years we have to get a new car and every two years we need a new phone.”
“We have this mentality that we want the newest, the flashiest, and the fanciest,” he added. “Let me tell you the things that really get beautiful: things that have endured, things that last. There is something beautiful about this, because what you have, it took time to build. I don’t think that people today, in our culture, know what real beauty is, because they don’t stay around long enough to explore the depths of what it means to be in love.”
He continued, listing three things which have made these couples last for as long as they have.
“First, you have to learn to remember. As we get older, that gets more difficult. In order to make things last, you have to learn to remember. How do we build a lifetime of love? You have to learn to remember. When times get difficult, you have to learn to remember those beautiful times. If you will endure, if you will just hold on, the sun will rise again and it will get better. The longer you stay, the better it will get,” he said.
“Second, you have to learn to forget. There are things that are just so bad and negative, you have to learn how to forget. I council people in marriage all the times. This one guy said, ‘My wife, when she gets made, she doesn’t get hysterical, she gets historical. She’ll bring stuff up from 27 years ago.’ It is hard to get through today, if you’re going to bring things up from way back then. You have to learn how to turn the page and forget those difficult times.
“Lastly, learn to love. Hold it. That’s not how long works. Love is just a fuzzy feeling down in my heart. No, that’s indigestion. That is not called love. Love is a commitment. Love is a decision that you make. You have to learn to love that other person the right way.”
Ann and Jerry Cooper have been married for 60 years. According to her, the secret to a long and happy marriage is trying as hard as you can and putting effort in every single day.
“We met in school. We went to school from fourth grade on together. We went to Lanier. We were in a very small class and I liked everything about him,” she said. “We had three children together. We have seven grandchildren.
“When we were married 25 years I thought it was so long and I never dreamed we would get to 60 years married. We celebrated our anniversary at a family gathering this year. Marriage is not easy, but it is something worth while. You have to try as hard every day after the marriage as you did before the marriage. It has been exactly what I hoped for.”
Lois and Jerry Feix have been married for 64 years, staying strong and in love through hardships and joys alike.
“We met at the Dairy Bar here in Eaton, at the corner of Barron and Somers. It is no longer there, now it is a eye glass place. He had just come home from service and we started dating. We fell in love and we married in July of 1954,” Lois Feix said. “It is not always easy, but you don’t always have to be right.
“We have two sons and our oldest is a Realtor in Miami, Florida. Our youngest son passed away 28 years ago, he had cancer,” she continued. “Our church family is who saw us through the difficult time. It is through our faith in God that really got us through. We turn to prayer, our friends, family, and church. They see you through.
“In marriage, you have to forgive and forget. There are difficult times that happen, but you must go on and trust the Lord that he will turn things around. It is your faith in God that gets you through.”
Sponsors and door prize donors included: Greenbriar, Maple Gardens, VanCrest, Your Flower Shop, Eaton Floral, Suggs Family Orchard, Brubaker Grain, Preble County Chamber of Commerce, Lewisburg Bicentennial, Eaton Hometown Furniture, Country Charm, Yankee Clover Merchantile, Ace Hardware Eaton, and Ace Hardware Lewisburg.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH