Barbara and Charles, both 74, met at Taylor University in Indiana. Charles and his roommate Jimmy volunteered to help incoming freshmen move into the girls’ dorm, with the motive of finding potential dates. Barbara caught his eye and the two dated on and off before getting married on June 6, 1959. They’ve traveled the world and now live near Lake Wylie. Charles tells their story.
Pushing curfew: Barbara agreed to a double date with me, Jimmy and his date, Mary. We planned to drive eight miles to an ice cream shop but along the way, Jimmy’s car had engine problems. We stopped at a service station where the mechanic told us it was likely the gas filter or pump. It took more than an hour to fix and we had to have the girls back before their dorm closed, so when the repairs were finished we had to drive straight back.
On and off: Over the course of that year, Barbara and I dated others and spent the summer writing letters. But we got serious that next fall and by Thanksgiving we had decided to marry in the spring. My parents were delighted but told me I would be on my own financially, as befitting a husband. Barbara worked as a waitress and paid for the wedding ring while I worked in the dish room to save money for a short honeymoon.
Middle ground: We were married in a church near campus with the reception in the college cafeteria to save money. Barbara and I learned we didn’t have a great deal in common other than a faith commitment, but we learned to adjust. I was late to bed and late to rise, she was the opposite. I wanted to travel and she wanted to be a homebody. Marital bliss does exist, but much of it is compromise. I adjusted to her time frame and she agreed to travel.
Since then: We’ve had 54 years of memorable experiences: we spent two years in West Africa with the Peace Corps, lived in four different states, traveled to Israel for work and leisure – with another visit planned for this fall – and went to Portugal over the summer. We raised a family that continues to multiply and at last count, we’ve got 21 grandchildren, four great-grands and two more on the way.
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