In the spirit of Valentine's Day...
Not one, but two stories of long-lasting loves!
The year was 1927. The setting was rural Nebraska, on the eve of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. She was 14 years old, a little shy and "too young to date," she recalls. He was 19, an outgoing, blue-eyed farm boy who made his living picking corn by hand.
"We met on the dance floor," he remembers, then turns to her for confirmation. "Wasn't it at a dance?"
Yes, she nods and smiles.
They married in 1930, just five days after she turned 17. "A neighbor told Grandma, 'That ain't gonna last,'" she says.
"Everyone who knew us and our families," he adds with a grin. "They all said it wouldn't last."
But Elza and Vivian Moses surprised them all. He is now 102, and she is 97. They have become minor celebrities in central Illinois since September, when they reached an astounding milestone of marital longevity: their 80th wedding anniversary.
It goes to show you never can tell!
When the couple were introduced by friends in 1954, he was a devout bachelor and she was a devout bachelorette. They both were older, had never been married and never thought they would build a life together that has been anything but routine.
Henry Hines, who turns 96 on Saturday, is fit and trim and still walks with his back straight. Mattie Hines, 88, is petite and soft-spoken. On the day I visited them, she wore a magenta jogging suit. The Hineses admit they have no secret to their longevity in life or love. Just a story:
"You look at the statistics today, and it seems some people don't stay married 55 minutes, let alone 55 years," Henry said. "Maybe it's that I used to run on the road and absence makes the heart grow fonder."
"But, Henry," Mattie said, "you've been retired since 1980 and I've been retired since 1988 and we've been together ever since. We enjoy each other."
"We really do," he said. "We've never had major arguments. We disagree sometimes. But we've never been too set in any particular way."
"When we go out, you see one, you see the other," she said. "We're always together. At home, we watch movies or we go to our separate rooms, but we always come back together. We enjoy each other."
"We really do," he said.
How lovely is that?
And those stories, my friends, are my Valentine gift to you.