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Editorial

Home Town Heroes


70 Years of Love and Commitment



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10/01/2009 - Each of us has a small handful of people in our lives that have impacted, molded, and influenced who we have become. Their lessons are taught through example and demonstration. Their guidance is invaluable and sought without reservation. They lead by going before you, revealing sage and wisdom along the way. My grandparents, Bob and Mary Wilkes, are included in my small handful.

Bob and Mary were married 70 years ago on October 7th 1939. They made more than a commitment or a promise to one another on that day. They made a covenant. Now both at the age of 95 they still live out and keep that covenant made so many years ago. Not many couples have lived to see or can boast 70 years of marriage. Fewer yet can boast 70 years of a robust marriage.

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My grandfather is a shining example of patience. He is quick to listen and slow to anger. I have seen him show great restraint in frustrating situations. I have watched him remain calm when those around him come unraveled. His gentle understanding with my grandmother is something I can only hope to emulate with my own husband and children. I have often wondered if this patience was learned while on the U.S.S. Tripoli during "World War II" or if he was born with it.

My grandmother exemplifies perseverance and selflessness. I still stand in awe when I think about how she took care of her father-in-law after his stroke. She had a toddler in tow, my father, and her husband was gone to war. She did so much for others, putting them first. When I talked with her about this season of her life, I was shocked by her modest reply, "You just did what needed to be done." I try to think about my grandmother and what she did for others when I feel overwhelmed, overworked or stressed.

My father once told me that growing up with my grandparents was much like "Leave it to Beaver" or "Father Knows Best." He and his brother would watch these shows and think that's how everybody lived. It was what they knew and experienced in their house. It was not until later that they realized just how blessed they were and how exceptional their lives had been with my grandparents at the helm.

This loving couple has: raised two fine men, supported and encouraged three grandchildren, and have enjoyed sharing time with two great-grandchildren. They put family and each other before themselves. They still hold hands, give each other kisses, and make each other a priority. They may be older now but they still teach me something new every now and then about marriage, love, and what it means to live life to abundance.

Happy 70th Grandmere and Granddad! Thank you for your years of love and commitment to each other and to those of us around you. You are a shining beacon to us all.

Submitted by Erin Wesnitzer in love for her grandparents

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