December 2017

By JOE PINCHOT

News On the Green

After 70 years of marriage, the details are a little hazy for Alfred and Shirley Schmidt.

When asked what they saw in each other when they started going out, neither can recall. When asked when they started dating. Alfred said it was sophomore year in high school, while Shirley was sure they didn’t go out until after he got out of the service.

Whatever the answer to those questions, the Schmidts, of Masury, remain committed to each other.

“Somebody asked me, ‘Do you ever think of divorce?’” Shirley said. “I said, ‘No, but murder every day.’”

A sense of humor obviously is key for these parents of three – including a son who is deceased – grandparents of six and great-grandparents of 14. The marked their 70th wedding anniversary Nov. 8, two days before Shirley turned 90. Alfred celebrated his 90th birthday in May.

Alfred grew up on Superior Street on the West Hill, while the former Shirley Sherman was raised on Elm Street in Masury.

“We went to school together, Brookfield High School,” she said.

Alfred entered the Navy out of high school, serving from 1945 to 1947.

Like many of his generation, Alfred worked in a mill, spending 46 years at Sawhill Tubular Products in Sharon. Shirley worked for Gibson Insurance in Vienna.

Shirley said Alfred is “about the same” now as he was all those years ago.

“We just get along real good,” she said. “Sometimes we disagree, like everybody does.”

Alfred said it wasn’t hard to stay married for 70 years.

“We raised a family,” he said. “Never had any arguments. If we argued, I never talked. Sometimes, I didn’t talk for two or three days.”

Like his wife, Alfred never considered divorce.

“Probably couldn’t afford the divorce,” he quipped.

Alfred attributes his long life to hard work.

“I used to work seven days a week for years,” he said. “The only days I got off were Easter and Christmas.”

After Alfred retired, some 28 or 29 years ago, he turned to exercise. He still works out at the Buhl Community Recreation Center in Sharon two days a week, and often rides a stationary bicycle while watching TV.

Shirley said she’s put off by the way marriage is treated in today’s society.

“People should be married, if they’re going to live together,” she said.