Sunday, May 25, 2014

57 Years for a ’57 Marriage

Tomorrow, June and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary. We were married in 1957, hence the title of this article.
Many of you remember the year 1957, although there are some readers of this blog who were born after 1951-52 and so don’t remember ’57. But for those who remember that year well, you probably also recall how then 1900 seemed like a very long time in the past.
Well, now it is as many years back to 1957 as it was in 1957 back to 1900!
Do you “old timers” remember some of the following things about 1957? The top two hit songs of the year were Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” and Pat Boone’s “Love Letters in the Sand.” (I liked the latter much more than the former.)
The movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1957 was “Bridge on the River Kwai.” Many of you probably remember the touching 1957 family movie “Old Yeller.”
Although it came out toward the end of 1956, Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” was popular in 1957, and June and I saw it on our wedding trip.
The New York Times bestseller list for May 26, 1957, indicated that John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” and Grace Metalious’s novel “Peyton Place” had been on that list for the most weeks in the non-fiction and fiction categories, respectively.
L & J Seat (5/26/57)
The most popular toys that year were Slinkys and Hula Hoops.
Many things were quite different in 1957 than they are now. After we married, we had only one landline, rotary dial telephone. Long distance calls were expensive—and rare.
And since we were students and didn’t have much money, we didn’t even own a television for several years.
The summer we got married, I worked at the shoe factory in Windsor, Mo., where I was also pastor of a small mission church. Most of that summer I earned only the minimum wage of $1.00 an hour—plus the $25 a week received from the church.
That fall after we enrolled in William Jewell College, I was happy to get a good-paying job in downtown Kansas City: it paid $1.17 an hour when I started, if I remember correctly.
Granted, a dollar went further back then. When we moved to Liberty at the end of the summer, we were happy to find a two-room apartment for $50 a month, including utilities. The average cost of a new house was just over $12,000 then.
Gasoline averaged about 24 cents a gallon—although I remember buying some for 17.9 cents during a “price war” in Liberty.
One of the top-selling cars in 1957 was the Chevrolet Bel Air—and the price of a new two door hardtop, like the one pictured, was $2,300. (The one in the picture is priced at $139,900 now!)
In January 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated for his second term as POTUS. In September he sent federal troops to Arkansas to provide safe passage into Central High School for the Little Rock Nine.
In October 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth. That event sent a shock wave through the American public, as it seemed to indicate the technologically superiority of the USSR.
Yes, it is interesting to look back to 1957 and to remember the way things were then and how different things are now.
But for me, personally, the best thing about 1957 was getting married to a wonderful woman who has been willing to put up with me for 57 years—and counting.


  1. From local Thinking Friend Thomas Howell:

    "The only possible comment is Congratulations! To you both. Takes two to tango."

  2. Here is part of an email message from Thinking Friend Keith Herron:

    "Would you trade minimum wage then for now? I don’t think you would come out better as it costs so much for minimum things these days."

    1. No, minimum wage was much better then than now. For example, in 1957 I could buy four gallons of gasoline for an hour's work at minimum wage. But now people earning minimum wage in Missouri can't get much over two gallons for an hour's work.

  3. Congratulations, Leroy and June!
    I can't imagine it! ;)


  4. Congratulations! And thanks for the trip down nostalgia lane.

  5. Congratulations, June and Leroy. The changes since 1957 really boggle the mind, and the memory. And for a marriage to endure, there has to be a base of understanding, tolerance and love
    Blessings on you both!

  6. And when I think of you both, I remember you as you looked during those two idyllic years that led to your marriage. I appreciate the life you've lived together and all that you have accomplished. I'm glad to have known you.

    1. Thanks, Rosanne! It was good to hear from you again. Yes, those were good years at SWBC in 1955-57. But I wouldn't want to go back to the narrow view I had of God and the world then as compared to now.

  7. Congratulations from us in NC as well. Only two years later you came to be my pastor in Ekron, KY. The enclosed picture brought back great memories as that image is how I remember you as a seminary student and June getting me started on my faith walk. The events you mention are some of my earliest. The night of the Sputnik launch announcement my folks were at the Biddle home in a Rook party with other families from the Ekron Baptist Church. I remember the feelings of fear that Russia was now looking down on us! Again congratulations on an event that happens too rarely, 57 years!

    1. Thanks for writing, Tom. Yes, we moved to Ekron not long after our second wedding anniversary.

      I guess 57 years of marriage is fairly rare now. But we are hoping to reverse those numbers and celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2032. That may be pushing it, though. Still, we would "only" be 93 and 94 then.

  8. Congratulations for two who recognized the value in marriage is for each to help the other become the very best! Now, a warning--is the 58th year the hardest? Well, Jan and I don't think so since we celebrated our 58th yesterday.
    Les Hill

    1. Les, good to hear from you. Congratulations on your anniversary yesterday! Glad you made it to your 58th anniversary, and I trust we will do the same. Blessings!

  9. This is horribly shallow to say to such a spiritually minded and high-brow couple, but, well, you are just a darned good-looking pair. 1957 and today. Congratulations.

  10. What I remember from May of 1957 is along the lines of "There are Dick and Jane. See Spot run." I was finishing the hardest school year of my life, I was in the first grade learning to read! But then I turned 7 in June, and second grade was a lot easier!

    OK, one other foggy memory came to mind, mill coins. I am not sure what we did with them, but I somehow associate them with first grade. Maybe we bought milk or saving bonds, I don't know! But here is a picture I found online: