I love you truly, truly dear,
Life with its sorrow, life with its tears
Fades into dreams when I feel you are near
For I love you truly, truly dear.
— Lyrics, “I Love You Truly, 1901, Carrie Jacobs-Bond
“You’ve been married 59 years. What’s the secret?” I asked Grandma and Grandpa Stingel.
It was the spring of 1984 and I guess I was a little nervous about my own wedding set for that fall.
“Well,” Grandpa started, with a grin and shooting a look across the living room at Grandma, “it takes a lot of work.”
Married in 1925, they weathered the Great Depression, tough years on a dairy farm near Sugarcreek Ohio, and raising six children. Together, they survived surgery that left Grandma with a impaired voice that could only speak above a hoarse whisper for the last 15 years of her life.
Life with its sorrow, life with its tears.
Grandma and Grandpa didn’t make it to their 60th anniversary, dying nine days apart that June, just months after I asked my question.
It takes a lot of work.
This year, my own parents (that’s them pictured above in 1952) will celebrate their 61st anniversary in August — a number that’s almost incomprehensible in today’s divorce-riddled society. And if I asked them, I’m sure I’d get the same response that Grandpa gave me.
All this talk of relationship strength was triggered by our staff brainstorming ideas for Farm and Dairy’s current feature, a Celebration of Love.
“We’re like a part of our readers’ families,” we said. “Just look at all the ‘Vacation With Us’ photos. They take us everywhere: honeymoons, anniversaries, family trips…”
So what if we had a feature where we asked our readers to send us photos of them in love — more specifically, couples. You know, rockin’ the whole Valentine’s Day idea.
I immediately thought of photos of couples who have been married a long time, but my smart coworkers broadened that to include couples who have been together for any span. And who am I to turn down photos of folks in love?
Spread the love
So we need your help to spread the word. Send us your photos. Send us your parents’ photos, your siblings and their spouses, your daughter and her boyfriend. All we ask is that the couples are still alive, because while we value the tribute to those who are no longer with us, this particular feature is celebrating the love around us today.
You can use our online form to upload a photo, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Old school prints can also be mailed to us at: Celebration of Love, c/o Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 (if you want them returned, you’ll need to send a self-addressed, stamped enveolope).
We’re creating one big family photo album online. In fact, we’ve already received a few photos.
To the right, that’s Jim and Betsy Rust, who were married Feb. 12, 1977. They met in Sunday school at Bethany UP Church in Mercer, Pa. (We’re like little kids when one comes in, interrupting everyone else to show off the latest family photo!) We’ll share a few in this space, and will be able to publish a few in the print Farm and Dairy.
And we’d love to hear your “how we met” or other love stories, too, but we’re not sure what space we’ll have to print them.