Rare special occasion: Arthur couple to celebrate 70th anniversary on Feb. 19

Marjorie Waters doesn’t recall the exact moment she met her husband Milton, but she has fond memories of dating him during the Second World War.

The couple got acquainted  through mutual friends, one of whom was Milton’s sister, during what otherwise were routine Saturday night outings.

“You didn’t do too much in war time,” Marjorie said.

They dated for several years before marrying on Feb. 19, 1942.

And this weekend they will celebrate their 70th anniversary at a small gathering with their family, which has grown over the decades to include three children, seven grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.

“We’re very lucky. We’re very blessed,” Marjorie said. “We have a wonderful family.”

She can hardly believe it has been 70 years since the wedding, which happened to fall on her 19th birthday.

“My husband has no trouble remembering my birthday,” she said with a laugh.

Daughter Linda Thompson, of Elora, said her parents remain in their own home in Arthur and are relatively healthy and independent for ages 91 and 89.

“I think it’s absolutely amazing,” Thompson said of her parents’ coming anniversary. “They deserve a medal.”

However, the couple remains as humble as always.

“We’re not that important,” Marjorie said when first questioned about the significant milestone. “It’s been a long haul, but we made it.”

Marjorie grew up in former West Garafraxa township, while Milton was born and raised near Kenilworth.

After marrying they lived on several farms and raised their three children, daughters Linda and Eileen (the latter now living in Kitchener) and son Les (now in Paris, Ontario).

For many years Milton also had a rural mail route in the Damascus area, which he took over from his father, who inherited the route from his father-in-law.

“I helped out when I could,” Marjorie said of both the farm and mail route.

But her true passion, as much then as now, is art.

“I love painting,” she said, adding years ago she also instructed others in night school and even from their own home.

In 1978 the couple moved from the farm to a bungalow on the north side of Arthur, “And we’ve been here ever since,” Marjorie explained.

Thompson said to this day, her father is known as “Mr. Clean and tidy” in the neighbourhood, due to his insistence on a well-maintained property.

Marjorie added her life partner has always been “very hard-working,” in addition to his many other positive attributes.

“He is a true, true man. He is a wonderful husband,” Marjorie said.

She noted Milton has even taken over as the “primary cook and bottle washer,” after she had a fall late last year.

If anyone should know what it takes to have a long and happy marriage, it’s the Waters. But Marjorie initially hesitated when asked the question.

“I often wonder what the secret is,” she joked, before giving a more sincere and succinct reply.

“Mutual understanding … and mutual work,” she said.

It’s the type of honest and humble response friends and family will surely say they’ve come to expect after 70 years together.

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The family hopes to host a larger celebration marking the special occasion in the spring.