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“He treats me like a lady, and he makes me laugh. It’s just hard to get mad at him,” said Betty Hawkins, glancing at her husband with smile.
“When she makes that funny little face at me when she wants something, I just melt,” Glenn Hawkins said, returning her smile.
Does that work, some asked.
“Oh, yes,” he said with a grin.
The Hawkinses, who live in Clay Village, were one of two couples married on Valentine’s Day in Shelby County 50 years ago today, Feb. 14, 1964.
The other couple, Sherry and Marshall Gash Jr. of Mount Eden, say what they love most about each other is their love of family.
“I like the way she treats people, especially our kids and me,” said Marshall Gash, as he took a break in babysitting for a grandchild. “She’s one of a kind. I love her so much.”
Sherry Gash said that love of family is also what endears her most to him.
“He’s loyal, sincere and he’s just a good Christian man who takes care of his family,” she said. “Just like today: He’s babysitting two of the kids.”
How they met
Both husbands say they will never forget the first time they laid eyes on their wives.
The ironic thing was, both couples were dating other people at first.
“It was a blind date, can you believe it?” said Marshall Gash with a chuckle.
He said he was out with two other couples from his high school – he was attending Western Hills High in Lawrenceburg – when they told him they were going to pick up his date.
“I liked her from the beginning,” he said. “I mean, I really liked her.”
Glenn Hawkins said the first time he ever saw Betty was when she was a child of 6 with golden curls and a frilly dress.
“I though she looked OK for a girl,” he said, laughing.
“Then when I was sixteen, she got on the school bus one day, and she had on a red-and-black dress. I will never forget that day. I thought, ‘Wow!’”
Then came a double date two years later.
“That’s when I said, ‘This is it,’” Hawkins said.
Both couples have remained in Shelby County since they married, raising their families. Glenn Hawkins was in sales in the clothing business for 33 years and then in excavating for 14, and his wife worked for the state in human resources. Marshall Gash worked at General Electric, and his wife worked at the state, in a job very similar to Betty Hawkins.
The Gashes have three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild; and the Hawkinses have one child and one grandchild.
The Hawkinses recently went on a cruise to celebrate their milestone anniversary, and the Gashes say they plan to take a trip this spring when the weather is nicer.
The couples do not know each other, and they expressed surprise that someone else actually married on Valentine’s Day.
In fact, records at the Shelby County Clerk’s Office reveal that, in most years, at least one couple marries on Feb. 14. Last year, there were three marriages, 10 years ago, there were seven, 20 years ago, there were two, 30 years ago, there was 1, and 60 years ago there was one.
Recipe for happiness
Both couples shared their secrets for an enduring marriage of half a century.
“When you’re together as long as we have been, you just become an extension of each other,” Sherry Gash said. “I know what he’s thinking, and he knows what I’m thinking.”
Her husband agreed: “The thing you have to remember is, don’t ever get mad and leave. Just bear it up and go on. I wouldn’t leave her for anything – not ever.”
Glenn Hawkins burst out into laughter when asked what was the secret for such a long marriage.
“I can’t help it; she’s making that little face at me again,” he said.
“But seriously, we have always been very compatible, and we never argued about money – we didn’t have any. We just respected each other.”
Smiling, Betty Hawkins said, “All I can say is, I could just never stay mad at him.”
She pondered the question of what she loves most about her husband for only a moment.
“Everything,” she said, giving him the little smile he loves so much.
“He’s one of a kind.”