From The Archives: Golden Anniversary

My maternal grandparents were married 90 years ago today. Gran had graduated from high school just a few months earlier; Papaw was probably in medical school at the time. I’ve found among their effects a dance card from one of Gran’s high school social functions, and he’s among those who were on the card. Their first names were Wilbur and Lucille, but they called each other Jack and Sally. Here’s a photo taken during their courting days.


This past summer, I came across a picture taken on their 25th anniversary.


On the weekend before their 50th, they held a big celebration at Erlanger Christian Church. First came a reception on Saturday evening. Lots of family and friends attended. I was 13, the eighth of ten grandchildren. The first two great-grandchildren out of a total of thirteen–my son was the final one–had arrived on the scene within the previous twelve months. Shocking to report, I know, but one of my primary memories from that night is going outside to the parking lot at 8pm, transistor radio in hand, to catch the start of AT40–the week’s debuts were the first four songs played and included “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

The following afternoon, we all returned to the church as they renewed their vows in the sanctuary. My father conducted the service. I think my cousin Liz played the organ/piano. My mom kept a copy of a picture taken that afternoon on display in the den for the rest of her days.


Fifty years is a long time! I’m just over 40% of the way there myself. I think about the stories I’ve heard about their years together and the times I shared with them. It was a rich marriage full of love, laughter, tears, care, attention, health, sickness, and life, glorious life.

Their final anniversary together came six years later, less than two weeks before my grandfather died.

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