70+ years together
... and still smiling
BELLEVILLE — William and Olive Troup were 15 and 14 years old, respectively, when they first met on the school bus. Now at ages 90 and 89, they’re celebrating 70 years of marriage on June 19.
June 19 is a special date for their family. Olive’s father was born on June 19, and her parents later got married on that date. William and Olive got married on the same date and, as chance would have it, one of their sons, George, was born a few years later– on June 19, 1951.
It was a simpler time in the 1940s. Olive was 16 when she went on her first date with William. But not alone. Her older sister had to chaperone them for the first couple of dates. They went to see a western movie and got a snack–a hot dog and a soda–all for a grand total of 50 cents.
After dating for four and a half years, they decided to get married. There was no big proposal as might happen today. William simply said one day, “We want to go get a diamond,” and they did just that.
“We just knew that we loved each other,” Olive said. “It was just a feeling he had and I did, too. It didn’t need to be anything special.”
They got married in St. Peter’s Lutheran and Reformed Church, with Rev. Stuart H. Lengel conducting the ceremony. Her wedding dress cost a whopping $19.98, and her veil actually cost more than her dress. To make sure they got the most out of it, she lent it to a few friends to wear on their wedding days.
The high school sweethearts then embarked on their day and a half honeymoon to Niagara Falls. They couldn’t stay long because William had to get back to his job. He was co-owner of Troup Brothers Store, an old country store that had since been in the family for more than 100 years.
William usually worked long days, starting at 6 a.m. and not getting home until after 9 p.m. But the store was right down the street from the house, so he was never too far from his family.
“In his older years, he said to me, ‘The reason that you accomplished anything in your life is because of her right there,’ and he’d point to mom. And I would say, ‘That’s very true,’ because she was the one to discipline us and everything, because he was close, but he wasn’t there,” said Mary Kathryn Miller, William and Olive’s daughter.
“But then … you know, it’s also true that we knew he was right down over the hill and if we needed him, he would be there in a flash. And if we wanted to see our daddy, we just had to go over the hill to the store,” Miller said.
From Seven Stars, the couple are the parents of three: George Troup, of Howard; Mary Kathryn Miller, of Millerstown; and William Troup III, of Harrisburg. They have six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Before Olive worked with William in the store, she worked in the state capitol in Harrisburg. She went on to beauty school with her sister, and they both opened beauty shops in their homes. To this day she fixes William’s hair, even after he’s been to the barber.
The two have shared a lifetime of memories togethers. From traveling to places like Germany, to being elected into the Voter’s Hall of Fame in Harrisburg for voting 50 years without missing an election, they have, and continue to, live a happy life.
After living together–and in the same house–for 68 years, in November 2015 William moved to the Memory Care unit of Valley View Retirement Community in Belleville. Olive applied to live in the assisted living unit shortly after, and was able to move in in January 2016. She goes to visit William every day.
Before they moved, they both attended church at St. Peter’s Lutheran and Reformed Church. Now Olive attends church in the chapel at Valley View, and again at a service in the Memory Care unit with William. Olive said she misses her church family and her neighbors in Seven Stars.
When asked what made their marriage so successful, their answers were good advice to all couples, new and old.
“Don’t go to bed cross,” Olive said. “You talk it out instead.”
“When you’re both interested in each other, what else do you do?” William said. He said you just have to keep working at it.