Today Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, at approximately 11 p.m. is our 59th anniversary. This date was on a Saturday in 1953.
My one and only wife, Mildred Lois Archer, was born in Harlan County, Ky. She moved to my hometown in 1946. Although she lived only a few blocks from me, I never met her until the winter of 1952 when I was on leave from the Army due to a broken leg from a motorcycle accident.
My reason for not meeting her was because she was a very nice person who believed in working starting at age 16. I wasn’t very nice and was very lazy and still am.
Getting out of the Army in January 1953, we went together until I left to make my million in this area in July.
I had the promise of a job in Oak Ridge, Tenn. on Thursday, but I promised a new friend, Jack Parker, I would come to Norwood in a couple of days.
On the job
I got a job the first day on the afternoon shift at the Chevrolet plant, which was the best place to work in Norwood. I worked a week and two days with overtime.
I took the two days pay, jumped into my 1940 Ford opera coupe and blazed south to get the love of my life.
We had to drive 25 miles to the hospital in Jellico for blood tests which was required in those days.
After prior arrangement, we met the justice of the peace in his office.
Our witnesses were our buddy Howard Kitchens and his future wife, Loretta. They now live in Dayton, Ohio, although I haven’t seen them since 2005.
The following Monday, I took my bride to Norwood and got a furnished three room apartment on the third floor of a neat old house at 4115 Forest Avenue. The rent was $85 per month which was roughly a week’s pay.
After marriage, our movie-going waned. I remember the only movie we went to see in those days was a 3-D film at a neat theatre I forgot the name of on Seventh Street in downtown Cincinnati.
The film was RKO Radio’s Devil’s Canyon (1953), which was a bad western starring beautiful Virginia Mayo (1920-2005) and Dale Robertson (1923).
The film was in Technicolor and 3-D. The cardboard glasses wouldn’t stay in place, which meant watching was a pain and we never went to see any 3-D films afterwards.
As the kids got older, we took them to see the Disney and other films they enjoyed.
I remember our oldest, Laura, wanting to see the Disney film about a real live squirrel, Perri (1957), after seeing it advertised on TV.
We went to the Esquire Theatre on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton and parked across the street in a supermarket lot.
The Esquire still is there, but I’m not sure about the supermarket. The movie was dull and boring. Laura was three and I think she slept through the whole thing.
Our journey through married life seemed typical to us but might have appeared exciting, exotic or even dull to others.
Although I say I’ve been married 49 happy years out of 59, actually all 59 haven’t been too bad with the usual ups and downs.
In the late 1960s, the camping craze started with KOA and other campgrounds popping up.
Most of our friends had the fold-up trailer campers. We converted a bus we named the Silver Ghost, which wasn’t the norm at the time.
A toll booth tender in New York called the Silver Ghost a motor coach which sound good to me.
Actually, our lives got better after we moved to Miamitown 50 years ago.
At one time or another, we belonged to the area PTAs, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts, 4-H, volunteer fire department, life squad and ladies’ auxiliary, ladies’ club, Methodist men and women groups, although we didn’t belong to the church, and perhaps other things that slips my mind.
Writing in The Harrison Record and The Harrison Press for roughly 40 years truly enriched my life, and even made me a few enemies. And my dabbling in politics as trustee a couple of times was an education and made a few more enemies.
People who knew us didn’t think our marriage would last because we were so different.
We were married by a JP and it endured. We know some who had a church wedding who didn’t endure. If I had it to do over what would I change? Not very much!
Bill Baird is a Whitewater Township resident who writes a weekly column about old movies and Hollywood trivia.
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