Couple’s 60-year romance still shines
RIFLE A message displayed in the window of Dave and Bessie Paterson’s one-story apartment says it all.The painted wood sign reads, “This house may be small but the welcome is big,” from Scotland’s African Safari.The Patersons are a friendly couple who won’t take no for an answer when they offer a visitor candy from the glass jar on their dining table.They speak of their two daughters, seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Memories of life in Scotland, before emigrating to America and becoming U.S. citizens in 1974, are happily recalled.”There’s one thing, when we were in Scotland, we never missed a week’s vacation,” said Dave, who is 81. “We always had a vacation every year.””We always went seaside every year,” added their second daughter, Dorothy Finn, who lives in El Jebel. “We were always going on vacation.”Black and white photos show Finn and her sister dressed alike on family vacations. Other prints show the Patersons with their many brothers and sisters, and multiple friends.”We always had a house full on New Year’s,” said Bessie, who turns 83 Wednesday.Finn remembers her mom’s cooking – mostly her homemade soups – and how she always made English trifle for the holidays.”I always like to make soups … potato soup, Scotch broth, lentil soup,” Bessie said.
These days, Bessie doesn’t do much cooking. Standing too long can be painful. Frozen dinners are more convenient for the couple, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Oct. 15.The topic is cause for a chuckle between Dave and Bessie.”I remember when I was working and I came home and there was a frozen dinner on the table and I said, ‘You never put a frozen dinner in front of me again,'” Dave said, with humor in his eyes. “And now we eat them all the time.”Dave has always been drawn to Bessie’s sense of humor.”She’s good company, she’s real good company,” he said. “When we were younger and we would have friends over, she was the life of the party. And could she tell jokes. She could keep a party going. People would ask, ‘What you got tonight Bessie, what you got tonight?'”It’s the little things about Dave that Bessie fell in love with, too.”It wasn’t because he was a miner, or because he was a football player. He used to remember things about me,” she said. “He used to walk me down the road when I worked at the farm.”During World War II, Bessie was a member of the Women’s Land Army and worked on a farm.”I chose that instead of going to the Forces or ammunition factories,” she said. “I did everything on the farm. I even pulled a calf outside of a cow by its legs.”A coal miner, Dave was exempt from the war because of his occupation. He started working in the coal mines at 14, and spent the next 45 years mining before retiring from the Utah division of the Kaiser Steel Corporation.Although he didn’t go off to war, life as a miner proved to be just as dangerous.
“In Scotland, I had an accident where I got my foot caught in the machine,” he said. “It was crushed, but I slid my foot out of the boot. The boot saved me.”Dave also had his perils on the football player field but that led him to eventually meeting Bessie.”I broke my leg and I was on crutches for 32 weeks,” Dave said. “I could have played, but not for the senior teams.”Bessie remembers him limping by on his crutches while she was working on the farm.”I was sitting on the horse’s back when he passed by,” she said.Finn likes to look at the couple’s wedding photo, which shows Bessie in a blue dress suit.”He was handsome and she was beautiful,” she said.Six decades later, Dave and Bessie are as in love as the day they exchanged vows on Oct. 15, 1946.That shows in the little things Dave does for Bessie. Making her breakfast half a banana and cereal and walking the couple’s dog, Misty, three times a day.”I’m up at a half-past six in the morning to walk the dog,” he said. “And I make breakfast for me and Bessie. Then I make the beds.”For Bessie, there’s not really a secret to being married for 60 years, but compromise is key.
“You have to give and take all the time,” Bessie said. “I used to always say marriage had to be 50/50.”Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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