Eunice Thompson recalls looking at calendars with the lists of wedding anniversary gifts.
“I used to see 75 and it says diamond, and I thought, ‘who would ever live to be 75?’” Eunice said.
Well as it turns out, she did. Eunice, 92, and her husband, Tracy, 96, celebrated 75 years of marriage Sept. 9. They met as neighbors and were married in 1938 at a courthouse in South Dakota. The couple made their home in Elbow Lake until 1999, when they moved to Fergus Falls.
They’ve certainly seen a lot during their time together.
“Oh, boy, a lot of changes,” Tracy said. “Just in our lifetime, Eunice.”
Tracy worked as a custodian and bus coordinator for Elbow Lake Schools from 1950 until retiring in 1982. Eunice was a self-proclaimed housewife until their only son, Everett Thompson, graduated from high school. Then she worked 17 years at Schroeder’s Department Store and then six years doing bookkeeping at an insurance agency.
One of the fondest memories for them was a trip they took in 1979.
“The most fun thing we did, we went to Norway,” Eunice said. “And I had to take lessons in Norwegian.”
Tracy and Eunice remembered a variety of details from their Norway visit, including the lefse and waffles they dined on for lunches.
They visited what had been the home of Tracy’s mother. Tracy’s parents died by the time he was 4 years old. His mother burned to death after her clothes caught on fire while using a wood stove, and a year later his father was struck and killed by lightning. Tracy’s grandparents adopted him.
Now decades later, the Thompsons live independently at Park Gardens Senior Living facility, where they’ve been for the past six years after selling their house on Lincoln Avenue. Eunice still drives; in fact she just received new license plates for her van.
Their daily routine might be typical of anyone else, really.
“I guess it’s taking care of the house,” Eunice said. “We wash our own clothes and iron our own clothes.”
They also talk on the phone with their family; their son, Everett, 70, three granddaughters and two great-granddaughters, who all live in California.
It was their family that put on a 75th anniversary celebration for the Thompsons last month at Park Gardens. While they had parties at home to mark 25 and 50 years, this last one outdid the others.
“This was the largest amount of people that they’ve had for any event here (Park Gardens),” Eunice said. “I think they even ran out of cake. It was great. It was unbelievable.”
A 75-year marriage isn’t something that’s a common occurrence. But the Thompsons couldn’t really put their fingers on why they’ve made it this far.
“No secret at all,” Eunice said. “We just take one day at a time, I think. God’s gifted us with this many days, this many years.”
Eunice isn’t sure how they made it. Her husband helped her out.
“We overcome the bumps in the road,” Tracy said.
“I guess so,” Eunice said.