Friday, June 19, 2020

On 70 years of marriage and counting...

By Emma Bennett
Special to The Windham Eagle

“There’s gonna be a lot of valleys, gonna be a lot of mountains and you’re gonna go through valleys and then you’re going to climb a mountain.” - Mr. Street

On Wednesday, June 1, Alden and Betty Street renewed their wedding vows after 70 years of marriage. They decided to hold this special ceremony at Ledgewood Manor, a nursing home in North Windham, where Betty Street is currently residing.

Betty and Alden Street renewed their marriage vows on
their 70th wedding anniversary on June 1 at
Ledgewood Manor in North Windham.
Kim Bennett, Kathy Bennett, and many other helpers from Ledgewood contributed to decorations, creating a beautiful setting for this remarkable event. Special thanks to Dolby, Blais, & Segee for providing chair coverings and the whole staff of Ledgewood for making it memorable.

A safe place during the current pandemic, they were joined by only close friends and family, including three of their four children and grandchildren, to the outside patio area where Ledgewood staff and residents could watch. At first a little overcast, the clouds parted as soon as the bride came down the aisle.

To begin, everyone bowed their heads while the minister from Eastpoint Church led a prayer, giving thanks for the love and strength of faith that bound them together. A close family friend stood up and sang a beautiful song acapella for the couple. All were moved and all felt the joy radiating from Betty and Alden.

A few days later, in an interview, Mr. Street recounts the first time he saw Betty. He explained that he had been working at a filling station. (That’s a “gas station”.) With a cute grin, he said, “She used to walk by with another girl going back and forth to the academy - a real nice-looking chick going by! And she had the prettiest slacks you ever could imagine and they fit her beautifully.”

Betty was sixteen and Alden was eighteen when they got engaged and eventually married three years later. (That was normal for that time.) They started from nothing. “I don’t think I had two dollars,” he said.

The two began working, Betty at a typewriter company and Alden at Swearingen Motors, earning $18 and $25 a week respectively.

Alden later joined the Navy reserves and served a total of 28 months. He shared that during his time on active duty, he came down with acute meningitis.
“I was in the hospital for four months and she used to come and see me every weekend,” he said.

Betty would drive down to Newport, Rhode Island to make sure he was all right.

After serving in the Navy, Alden went into the car business, selling cars for 16 years. He bought into a trucking company, ran that for six years, and sold it. He worked for Rockwell Distributors as general manager, and then started his own business, Street Cycles.

When he retired, they moved upcountry for 20 years where Betty began working for Mount Abram High School as a secretary. The first two years, they had no running water and no electricity at the camp where they were staying. The rain and the pond nearby were their only utility for bathing themselves and the children.

Alden went to work for a company, driving trucks all over New England. In the 10 years that followed, he drove a school bus from Salem, Maine to Lac Mégantic, Canada, enjoying every minute.

“I had the best kids,” said Street.

For a period, Betty and Alden felt overworked and decided to take a trip together across the country. They went across countless times in different vehicles: by travel trailer, twice on motorcycles all the way to British Columbia, and one time in a big RV for eight years traveling year-round. They have many fond memories of the people and places they visited.

Besides visiting every state several times, they have been to every Canadian province and to Newfoundland three times with their children. They’ve traveled around places in Europe including Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. As if that wasn’t enough, they took cruises to Hades, Panama, Jamaica, Belize, and Costa Rica with grandchildren alongside them.

One of Mr. Street’s fondest memories of Betty was the time he drove down to Daytona, Florida to the racetrack with a friend of his. Betty and their son, Eric, flew down to meet them.

“I think one of the nicest moments was to see her get off the plane as beautiful as she was,” he said. “I can’t say enough good about her.”

Their memories and stories together would fill volumes. They’ve lived the fullest life together that some can only dream to have; they created a family, they traveled everywhere, experienced different cultures, all the while supporting each other through better and for worse.

There are so many aspects of what is considered “true love.” When it comes to Betty and Alden, it is committing yourself to another person, staying and facing challenges, making an effort on both sides, but still enjoying the good that comes out of it, even through hardship. It’s taking care of the other person when they are sick, listening and trying to understand the person when disagreements arise.

“She’s just been a wonderful woman,” Street said. “She’s brought up four wonderful kids and they’ve all turned out excellent. I have eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren and they’ve all turned out good so what else can I say?”

What else is there to say?

Happy 70th Anniversary Alden and Betty Street! <

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