My in-laws Kay and Austin Lutz were married sixty years ago today, at Central Christian Church in New Albany, IN. Maid of honor was Kay’s high school classmate Berniece Wade (known to Martha and Ruth as “Aunt B”); by Austin’s side was Emory Willey, a Louisville dentist. Following their honeymoon, they settled in a ranch on Meadow Lane in New Albany, next door to Kay’s mother (with whom Kay had been living prior to the wedding), their first and last purchase of a home. As they were both at or nearing 40 at the time of their union, having children wasn’t really on the radar. Three-and-a-half years later, though, two baby girls with other ideas showed up.
Both daughters had long moved out and were well into their careers when I came on the scene in the mid-90s. By that time, a tradition of dining out someplace reasonably nice on their anniversary was well established. It was an easy thing to continue over the years, too, coming at a time of year when M and R could easily arrange to be in town.
I believe my first time joining in was 96, the year Martha and I married. It looks like we’re at the Claudia Sanders Dinner House, in Shelbyville, KY in this picture (if that last name feels familiar, yes, Claudia was the Colonel’s wife).
Two years later, on the occasion of their 40th anniversary, Austin and Kay held an afternoon reception at their home (conveniently, the date fell on a Sunday). Friends from the various, sometimes overlapping circles of their lives–church, square dancing, former students (Kay had taught business at the high school for a number of years while she was single), social groups–streamed through to honor a well-respected couple. I didn’t find any photos from that event, but here they are on their 43rd and final anniversary together, in 2001:
Austin passed away almost a year later, about three weeks prior to their 44th, but the tradition of the family dining out on 12/27 continued; I regret to say that Kay would often beat me to the check. I do believe we took special care to note what would have been their golden anniversary in 2008.
And you know, the four of us still celebrate the date (Kay left us in October 2011). Occasionally, our night out isn’t on the 27th, but this evening, we’re heading off for some fine Italian dining. Cheers, Austin and Kay–you’re missed terribly, but we celebrate your love and decades together.