Jack and Copie were married July 18, 1946. Their 71st anniversary is approaching fast and I'm so thrilled and honoured they agreed to participate in this project.
They met during their high school years at Provost. Jack says Copie left a big impression on him the first time she pitched a softball at him. It was so fast and hard that he felt the sting right through his glove! She was not a typical girl then and from what I know of her, she is still an exceptional and unique woman. After completing school, Jack signed up to serve in the Navy during World War II and Copie became a teacher and taught a couple of years in country schools, then in Barrhead, Provost, and St. Albert High Schools. Despite the distance between them, their friendship blossomed into love. Jack headed back to see her every chance he had. On one such leave, he presented her with an engagement ring (it was way too big but wrapping string around it prevented it from falling off). Both of them remember with extreme clarity the war ending on May 6, 1945 but it was another 10 months before Jack was discharged from the armed forces. In July 1946 they were married and a year later their first child arrived. They have three sons and a daughter who bring them much joy. They are always grateful for the conversations and visits with their children and their grandchildren.
Jack (age 94) Copie (age 97)
During their marriage they found common ground enjoying both Square and Ballroom Dancing. They remember people stopped to watch them as they moved in perfect harmony. Jack reminisced about the Viennese Waltz and then out of the corner of my eye I saw Copie grinning, "We also really had fun doing the 'Jitter Bug'." she interjected. Their faith and church is an important component of their lives. I could tell from talking with them that their faith journey, even now, is a work in progress learning, growing, and developing new ideas as the world changes. They were founding members of Kirk United Church in Dovercourt and being great organizers tackled some challenging events while serving on the board and various committees. They also created some cherished memories with family and friends at their lake lot nestled among the trees. Then there are the overseas trips, journeys to Israel, Greece, Egypt, Norway, Spain, Portugal to name a few and a wonderful vacation in the Maritimes. These things make for a rich life well lived.
I asked them what was the key to having such a long marriage?
Jack and Copie Married in 1946 approaching their 71st anniversary July 18, 2017
Their reply: Forgiveness, acceptance, and family. Copie remarked "you forgive as much for yourself as for the other person". Over the years they discovered they were actually very different from one another but with respect they worked through those differences and knew they could always rely on each other no matter what. During the times married life was hard they said they stayed together partly because of their children, and grandchildren and partly because they had so much history together, they knew they didn't want to give up but rather find a way forward, together. When I asked Copie what their differences were she thought for a moment and then with a shrug she laughed and said, "I really can't remember anymore." Jack, his eyes filled with love and fighting back tears, finally moved his gaze from his wife of 71 years to look at me, I asked was there anything else they wanted to say about their marriage? With deep emotion he spoke. "I've never loved her more than I do today." Jack and Copie Jack and Copie gave me a card with poetry by Barbara Cage which they felt summed up their own feelings about marriage. Due to copyright I cannot share the entire poem but in summary:
Commitment, Loyalty, Hard Work, Listening, Compromise, Respect, Learning from Mistakes, Acceptance of the Other's Faults, Willingly Adjusting Behaviours that need to be Changed, Patience, Forgiveness.
Marriage is unconditional love at its most understanding and vulnerable - love that supports, comforts, and is determined to triumph over every challenge and adversity.
Marriage is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals... they are even better together."
Note: For many years Copie was my go to whenever I needed a proof reader or editor. She was an avid reader and I depended on her immense knowledge of grammar and spelling to correct mistakes in newsletters and long annual reports. I cannot imagine how she dealt with losing her eyesight during the past years but I have never heard her complain and she amazes me with her determination to remain as independent as possible. I count both Jack and Copie as dear friends and thank them both for sharing their story in this Love Stories Project.