70 years together

Andrew Wagstaff
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Local couple celebrates milestone

70 years together

Truemanville -

After 70 years of marriage, Clarence and Eva Reid have seen a lot together.
The Truemanville couple, who will celebrate their platinum anniversary on March 21, said there have been good times and bad times for them over the past seven decades, but their focus on the positive things has kept them going.
"We've had our ups and downs, but, thank goodness, we forget about the downs," said Clarence, 92.
Originally from Fenwick, Clarence later moved to Warren and grew up there, while Eva's family moved to Truemanville from West Brook.
The couple recalled the night they met at the Amherst movie theatre in 1939.
"My brother and I were going to the show on Saturday night, the 9 p.m. show," he said. "When we got there, we saw these two lovesick girls going in. To this day, I don't know what happened, but, for some reason, we bought tickets and sat right behind them."
Then, their stories start to differ.
"They kept looking around at us..." said Clarence.
"That's wrong!" exclaimed Eva, shaking her finger at him. "Your brother knew the girl that was with me!"
After the show, they all stopped for Tom hotdogs and hamburgers at Tom Gamble's stand nearby. Clarence remembered that the movies, the food and their drinks totaled a cost of less than 25 cents.
So began their courtship, but it wasn't long before they had to part ways. He had always talked about going west to seek work, and he couldn't turn down the invitation when a couple friends from Leicester decided to go and invited him along. He remembered going to Eva's house to deliver the news, and then seeing her run to the pantry with tears in her eyes. She later blamed this on the onions she was peeling.
But the west did not bring riches for the man from Cumberland County, and Clarence said he eventually decided to "hobo home," wondering if Eva was still there or if she had found someone else.
"I went up to see how she got along while I was gone," he said. "I borrowed my stepfather's truck and went up, and saw the house all lit up. That's when I turned around, because I thought there must be a wedding going on."
Deciding he would be brave and go inside to congratulate her, he knocked on the door, only to find a goose supper, and a girl very happy to see him.
Clarence and Eva were married on March 21, 1940. There had been a snowstorm that day, and they had to wait until the roads were plowed before he could send a taxi for her. The wedding took place at the Immanuel church parsonage in Amherst.
"The war was going on, so she was quite desperate," he joked. "Men were getting scarce, so she muckled on to the first one that came along."
Without work, the couple found out about a farmer in Warren who was moving away and looking for someone to run his farm for him. The Reids took on the job, and were paid $30 a month for their efforts, until they were later able to buy the farm with help from the government.
They worked hard, farming sheep and cattle, and soon had a family to raise. They had two sons and two daughters, but lost both sons, one to crib death and one to croup.
Clarence credited his wife for putting up with the "worst of the bargain," looking after the children and the household chores while he was in the woods, and helping with the hoeing in the springtime. Eva later worked for 18 years at the deaf school, looking after the children there. It was 30 years into the marriage before they had enough money saved to go on their honeymoon.
"We went to Washington State," he recalled. "We were there when man first walked on the moon. That was one of the best trips. We had never been away before."
All these years later, they are thankful for the life they have had, and consider themselves to be in relatively good health, although Clarence has had part of his stomach removed due to cancer, and is now battling prostate cancer. He had to give up farming at the age of 70 after being kicked by a cow and left unable to work. They moved to their current Truemanville home soon after.
Through it all, they stayed together. When Clarence wanted to take a trip to the Yukon only a month after his stomach surgery, Eva stood by his decision and went on the trip with him.
"I think maybe we were both born and brought up to the fact that, once you did something, you saw it through," said Eva.
Their daughters now live in Halifax and Saskatchewan, but their walls are covered with photos of their many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. No longer able to drive, they depend on taxis when they need to get out, and are considering giving up the home and moving into town.
While the couple keeps mainly to themselves, they do get out to the weekly card parties at Fort Cumberland Manor, for which Clarence always bakes a cake.
Recreation co-ordinator Virginia Spence said they are a very special couple, and a lot of fun to be around.
"They've been coming here ever since I've been here," she said. "They're a lovely couple. She's such a delight, giddy like a schoolgirl."
At this week's card party, the couple was presented with letters from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor-General Michaelle Jean, Premier Darrell Dexter, and other dignitaries.
Although the couple lost their original marriage certificate in a long ago house fire, Spence managed to create a replica of the certificate, thanks to some research on the Internet.
Clarence and Eva, who seemed surprised by the attention, summed up the success of their long marriage to one thing.
"Always look on the sunny side of life," said Clarence, with a tear in his eye. "Because you don't have to go very far to find someone who has it a lot worse than we have."

Organizations: Immanuel church

Geographic location: Truemanville, Warren, Amherst Fenwick West Brook Cumberland County Washington State Yukon Halifax Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • Eric & Marie Trueman
    July 06, 2011 - 14:20

    Congratulations on seventy years together.! Not many can beat that. All the best in the future ! Eric & Marie Trueman