Three years ago they celebrated 70 years of marriage, and the Simplex Pond Daily News sent a report to meet with the couple at Gilmore Hilton’s store.
Hannah and Joshua enjoyed a delectable breakfast while the journalist interviewed them. Within earshot of the conversation, Gil heard the discourse. “To what do you attribute your longevity in both life and marriage?”
Hannah answered, “Well, I was 19 and Josh was 21 when we exchanged our wedding vows. We have love and trust. Our five children and 14 grandchildren kept us busy. We don’t know know many great-grandchildren we have; the number keeps changing.”
“My husband never smokes, drinks or swears,” Hannah added.
Gilmore chuckled a bit. The store’s proprietor often split wood with Joshua, and the farmer always chewed a generous slug of tobacco. His spitting had both range and accuracy. Hidden in the wood shed was a jug of hard cider, the most popular libation among the locals who own a few apple trees. A devout Baptist, Joshua still made a less than holy reference to his Savior if the maul missed the wedge while harvesting oak and maple for his wood stove.
The reporter continued: “Today we have movies, computers and televisions. The twenty-something crowd vacations on exotic islands. Some jet to New York City, dine at expensive restaurants, shop at Bergdorf-Goodman, view an opera, and fly home on the same day. What did you do?”
It was Joshua’s turn. He looked at his wife and smiled. “We never had much money. It may sound strange but working hard and doing a job well are entertaining. At night she liked Emily Dickinson and I chose Robert Frost. Then we went to bed.” Both blushed.
Hannah died last week. Deeply religious, she felt a spiritual obligation never to wear makeup. The funeral home, however, painted her face with every color in heaven’s rainbow. Offering his condolence, Gilmore stood beside the widower as both viewed the remains. Joshua sighed, “She looks young, don’t she?”
Morton Soule is a Latin teacher at Cape Elizabeth High School.