EATON — As Valentine’s Day nears, thoughts turn to love and sometimes, marriage.
On Tuesday, Oct. 20, 48 lovebird couples who have been married for 50 years or longer gathered at The Grange for the annual Golden Anniversary Celebration to celebrate their milestones in wedded bliss. Those couples are honored on these pages.
William and Nellie Fudge were in attendance, and were honored with the prize for being married the longest – tying the knot just over 72 years ago.
“We just live one day at a time,” said Nellie. “Time has flew.”
The two married when Nellie was just 16 and William was 19. The story is unconventional, with the marriage coming about because Nellie didn’t want to go back to school.
She had moved to Eaton from Lewisburg and had missed a few classes and had vowed to drop out when she was 16. The truant officer came around in mid-September and said she had to be back in school in 30 days or her dad was going to have to pay a fine or go to jail.
That’s when William came to the rescue, suggesting that the two should get married. They had been long time neighbors and sat across the aisle on the bus for two years prior. Her parents approved of him and they wed on Oct. 9.
“I liked her prettiness,” said William, who also admitted he was a fan of her mother’s cooking and figured Nellie could cook biscuits just like her.
Good news for him because she could and the two have been making it work ever since.
“I think I stuck with him because I was so happy he married me and kept me from going to school,” said Nellie. “I guess I fell in love with him after that.”
The couple has two sons, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
The key to their longevity is pretty simple and straightforward, though. Just take everything day by day – and always say yes, of course, joked William.
“It helps to like them a little bit, too,” said Nellie.
Now, they like to spend their time traveling the world, having been on 13 cruises together. It’s because of these travels that they have missed a few Golden Anniversary parties, but the two have made most of them since its inception 25 years ago.
The event was co-sponsored by The Register-Herald, the Preble County Council on Aging, Heartland Home Health, BrookHaven Retirement Community, Summit Chiropractic, Clear Choice, Preble County District Library, Greenbriar Nursing Center, and the HIT Foundation Senior Repair Program.
Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.