On the corner of Cass Street and Albion Road, senior residents of Albion gather at the Forks Senior Center, a place where they can catch an early morning exercise class, a quick game of bingo or a hot cup of coffee as they start their day. Many of the members know each other well, having spent years as friends, neighbors or colleagues. In the center, there is a sense of community and support that warms visitors right up as they step in from the cold.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I stopped by to talk to some of the members about their favorite Valentine’s Day memories, to hear stories of their family and to listen to advice they might have for college students who are celebrating this weekend.
Janet Humphrey has been married for 44 years, yet her favorite Valentine’s Day memory happened Feb. 14, 1980, when her daughter, Jennifer, was born. Humphrey smiled as she recalled that day, “We didn’t even think about it until the day of [and we thought,] ‘Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day!’”
Beth Williamson, Humphrey’s longtime friend, chimed in from across the table about her own family story. “My brother was married on Valentine’s Day. And Rosa Parks was his witness.”
However, it isn’t just past memories they cherish, but they continue to make memories with their own families.
“This Valentine’s I’m going to Soaring Eagle to play ‘The Price is Right.’ It outta be a crazy weekend, and I’ll be dragging on Monday,” Humphrey said with a laugh.
George Williamson, Beth’s husband of 38 years, said that for Valentine’s Day he’s going to do “whatever I’m told to,” with a twinkle in his eye. His wife laughed, “He follows instructions.”
They say that one of the secrets to marriage is listening to one another. “Things aren’t always pretty, we go through rough periods, but you just work together on those things. We saw our parents do it.”
And for young couples on campus, they all said two words, “Don’t rush,”
“Relax and enjoy it. Enjoy the getting there,” Beth Williamson said.
Humphrey said, “I knew [my husband] since I was nine years old. Kent and I started out as neighbors and then best friends. I wrote to him in Vietnam.”
Beth Williamson piped up, laughing. “Remember how he would go on dates and then make you drive!”
“Oh yeah, I could write a book,” Humphrey said grinning.
Despite the teasing, the genuine love from the Williamsons and Humphrey captures the spirit of the holiday and serve as a reminder, the day really isn’t about chocolates or flowers or expensive retreats and getaways. It’s about spending it with those whom you love.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons