Celebrating 50 Years of Marriage

I can remember celebrating my parents and their peers 50 years of marriage and it felt like they were old. It seemed like quite an accomplishment for older folks and in reality it was. I could hardly fathom that some day I would be there but suddenly, here we are, our time has come and I wonder, where has time gone?

I remember back to our big, highly anticipated day-June 24, 1972. The week of our wedding Hurricane Agnes, the largest June hurricane recorded in US history and the costliest at the time with an estimated $2.1 billion dollars in damage hit the entire east coast. The effects were widespread, from the Caribbean to Canada. Wikipedia

The James River begins in the far western corner of the state near Lexington and meanders 344 miles, slicing the entire length of the state through the middle and emptying into the Chesapeake Bay at Hampton Roads. The mighty James borders Powhatan County on the north edge. Powhatan is on the upper edge of the lower half of the state. To get to the upper half of the state where I lived, you have to cross the river at some point. Just weeks before the storm hit, Powhatan completed a brand new two lane bridge over the James at Maidens replacing the one way trestle bridge. The river flooded with the rushing water lapping the underside of the roadway on the new bridge, washing out the approaches. The flood waters gushing through downtown Richmond, 30 miles to the east, were devastating.

The water in the area of this bridge is typically about knee deep.
The old one-way trestle bridge. You could not pass on the bridge. If someone was on the bridge you had to wait until they crossed.

Gene called me with concerning news. He didn’t know if or where he could cross the river. After evaluating the situation, he left Powhatan early Friday morning, winding his way west trying to find a way to cross the river. He was coming to me regardless of how far west he had to go to get there! At Lynchburg the bridge was open and he headed north to Harrisonburg.

Our wedding day was beautiful and sunny. We could not have asked for a more gorgeous day and it was perfect in every way. And so our marriage began! Little did we know some of the other life storms that were raging to come ashore in the sea of life.

As our 50-year anniversary approached, our daughter and granddaughters decided to plan a celebration party for us. That’s what you do at 50 years, right? Well a little life storm disrupted our plans and we had to postpone it a month when several in the immediate family got Covid, just days before the event!

We finally got to celebrate this past Sunday evening and it was a lovely time with friends and family. We reminisced, took pictures, cut the wedding cake, and ate food. The family had set up a lovely memorial to our fifty years and three of the wedding party were present; Sharon Swartz Kisamore (maid of honor) and Elva Bowman Miller (bridesmaid) two of my attendants and Bob Hertzler (groomsman), one of Gene’s. My sister, Evelyn Heatwole Borntrager, also a bridesmaid, had family visiting from Indiana and two of Gene’s attendants; Oliver Hertzler, Jr and Ray Hertzler are deceased. It is a reminder that we are getting older and life moves on.

Below are pictures from the evening.

Memorial table representing our life.
Representing Gene: he enjoyed woodworking and made the bread box, played fast-pitch soft ball and was/is a farmer.
Representing Pat: Crocheting, sewing, homemaker & storekeeper. I combined my love of writing and family history and published a book on the Heatwole family history; “The Story of Melvin Jasper Heatwole and Mollie Grace Coffman”.
On each table was a vase of wildflowers and a copy of one of my printed blog books (Country Chatter) and my facebook Social Media books.
Karla Hostetter made the cupcakes
Thanks to everyone who came.
Pat and Sherill Hostetter-we were high school classmates and she is the mother of our son-in-law.

Story…. I was not allowed by my parents to attend any of our class socials or sporting events even though we were a Christian school. I was not one to disobey my parents-I was afraid to, but one time I decided to go behind their back and attend a roller skating party. I planned to go home from school with my best friend to spend the night. My guilty conscience bothered me and I decided to talk to someone about it and for some reason I chose Sherill. We were not friends but I admired her. I spilled my heart to her and she gave me wise advice, “do not do it”. Several days after I decided to cancel my deceitful plans, one of the guys in my class who went to my church approached my dad following the service and told him he was going to ask me to go skating. Dad was put on the spot and gave permission. I got to go with a free and clear conscience and with my daddy’s permission. I learned a valuable lesson that night. I never dreamed that Sherill would someday be the mother of my son-in-law. Isn’t God good!!!

Elva Bowman Miller (bridesmaid), Sharon Swartz Kisamore (Maid of Honor), Pat and Gene, Bob Hertzler (Groomsman)
The original picture of the wedding party.
Talking to my bridesmaid and maid of honor. Elva, Sharon and I have some good memories and stories!!!
Getting ready to cut the cake made by Lauren. She used my original cake topper.
Story time!
Folks that is a very mischievous laugh with a naughty thought!!! Would you believe he is being encouraged to smear my face!
He is still debating!
He was a dear and even resisted the encouraging chants of the group!
The cake was delicious.
Darrel Hostetter praying a prayer of blessing over us. Darrel and Sherill have been special to us. They were in my graduating class at EMHS and their son Obe married our daughter Jill.
Karla made the cupcakes.
Ryan, Poe Powell and Jill.
Jill and Gene talking with Lowell and Mim Haarer.

You could have a root beer ice-cream float or an ice-cream cone.

There was a story behind the ice-cream floats….. on our first date we went bowling and afterwards stopped at the food court to get something to eat and drink. I have never liked soft drinks, maybe detest them is a better description!!! Our family never bought soft drinks unless we were sick and the doctor ordered Ginger Ale. (Remember I was born a long time ago!) The only thing on the list was soft drinks and because our family also never ate out I was not very comfortable ordering. I didn’t know I could ask for water! I was to embarrassed to admit to Gene my dilemma so I bravely ordered root beer hoping I could handle it. It did not work and Gene learned my secret! So in memory of that first date, we served root beer floats but I settled for an ice-cream cone.

Cindy Rosen and her mother.
Mom and daughter
We call these two the Troublemakers,
or is it the Bobbsy Twins?
No, it is the Wonder Twins!

How many more years will we have? We do not know. We have weathered some tough storms in life; the hardest was the death of our two children. Each storm we have dug in deep and dropped our anchors in the depths of God’s care and faithfulness. It reminds me of the song, “I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know who holds our hand” by Ira J. Stanphill.

I don’t know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine,
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Refrain:
Many things about tomorrow,
I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand.

2 Comments »

  1. Barbara Gilbert Said:

    Beautiful story about your 50th! How exciting for you!

  2. I just loved reading your 50 yrs of marriage ,just beautiful. God is great !


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