Sweethearts still sweet after 1,383 years of marriage

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 7:21 a.m.

Brownfield Community Center's social room was filled with 1,383 years of marriage when the annual Sweetheart Luncheon was held. Twenty-seven couples married for more than 40 years celebrated the bond they vowed to hold for better or for worse.

“We really met when I was 5 and she was 2,” explained George Hixon, who will be 100 on May 25.

He has been married to 97-year-old Hazel for 73 years.

“We were neighbors in Dawson all our lives,” he said.

The couple started dating while they attended Dunbar Township High School. They married in Monongahela on Nov. 25, 1939.

George entered the Army and spent time overseas. Through the separation, Hazel kept busy managing by Norton's Department Store and finding a way to sleep without George by her side.

“George spent our fifth anniversary in Europe,” she said. “I worked and kept busy.

“I would usually sleep on George's arm, so when he was away, I had to roll up a pillow and sleep on it as if it were him,” Hazel laughed.

“I was stationed in both France and Belgium,” George said. “I was involved in the medical field with World War II.”

Returning from the war, George worked as a postmaster for almost 27 years before retiring.

The Hixons believe they know the trick to staying married:

“We stayed friends all these years. We keep active with the church, and our faith has played a huge role in our lives,” Hazel explained.

The Hixons have one daughter, Donna, who is married to Tom Dawson and is a professor at Edinboro University.

“We wanted to celebrate the longevity of marriage and those who we cherish as friends,” Emma Jean Davis, president of Brownfield Senior Citizens, said of the event. “My husband, Arnold, and I have been married 60 years. We have enjoyed each other, doing things together, traveling to all 50 states, taking cruises and venturing outside the country.

“The song ‘Side by Side' defines our marriage,” she laughed.

The couple have three children.

Entertainment for the afternoon event, which was held late last month, included the “Not So Newlywed Game,” which brought on plenty of laughter with participants reflecting on their honeymoon, their first date and how their life together is now.

Winners of the “Not so Newlywed Game” were Judy and Sam Keffer of Dawson, married for 47 years.

Don and Audra Davie of Dawson, married for 64 years, danced together at the Sweetheart Luncheon just like they danced together for the first time at the Florence Mine Dance Hall. The hall was hosting a USO dance. Audra was in the band, playing accordion. Don was home on leave from the Air Force.

“We are both Christian, and our faith has kept us together through thick and thin,” Audra explained.

The couple have two children who also live locally.

“These couples are a testament to longevity and what it means be in it for the long haul,” said Gwendolyn Ridgley, Fayette County Area Agency on Aging supervisor. “They have learned to understand their differences, and they complement each other.

“It is not bad to be individuals, but they have found a way to make it work, and this is why they are still together,” she added. “They've made a long-term commitment.”

Lori Padilla is a freelance writer.

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