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Saturday, February 26, 2022
Leap Year Couple Welcomes 18th Wedding Anniversary Despite Being Married for 74 Years
Jim and Margaret Maxwell of Shelbyville welcome their 74th wedding anniversary Monday. | photo by LuAnn Mason
by LuAnn Mason
Relaxing in their Shelbyville home, Jim and Margaret Maxwell realized they hadn’t even thought about how they would celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary Monday.
“It snuck up on us,” said 92-year-old Margaret. Not having plans didn’t matter though “as long as we’re together”.
In past years, “we’d always go to Red Lobster for our anniversary,” said 94-year-old Jim. “I suppose we could go to Cracker Barrel.” A warm, caring smile appeared on each of their faces as they shared a gaze.
The Maxwells danced into each other’s lives in 1947.
“We like to dance,” said Margaret. “We met at a dance club (Club Rendezvous on State Road 44 in Connersville). We are both twins. My twin told me that Jim is a good dancer.”
Margaret recalled that she sat at a table that night in Club Rendezvous and kept smiling across the way at Jim until he finally came over and asked her to dance. “He took the bait,” she said, then laughed joyfully about the memory.
“Yeah,” said Jim. “Hook, line, and sinker.”
The couple danced the Jitterbug back then, and according to Margaret, couples have danced the same dance through the years. The name has just changed.
A courtship ensued and it wasn’t long until 18-year-old Margaret and 20-year-old Jim were married on Feb. 29, 1948. It was a Leap Year.
Now, if you take into account that a Leap Year generally happens every four years, then despite spending the last seven decades happily as man and wife the pair will technically be celebrating only their 18th wedding anniversary.
The Maxwells are part of an exclusive club across the country. According to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, couples who make it to 70 years represent just one-tenth of one percent of all marriages. Couples who make it to 75 years are so rare, there aren’t even statistics for it.
“One of our biggest blessings is having each other this long,” said Margaret. “So many of our friends are alone. That’s one thing the Lord has spared us. We still have someone to talk to, care for and spend time with every day.”
In addition to each other, the Maxwells said they are blessed to spend time with their three adult children – Marsha Mings (husband Greg) of Shelbyville, Diana Cameron of Rush County, and Greg Maxwell who lives in the Warsaw area – seven grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
“We’ve seen a lot more than we thought we’d ever see,” said Margaret.
They have maintained active lifestyles albeit slower from the days when Jim, an Army veteran, was sales manager for Moorman Seed, and Margaret was a secretary for a farm implement company, worked in an auditor’s office, was the owner of two Christian Bookstores named Gateway in Connersville and Rushville, and was a real estate agent for 25 years. They both still drive and remain independent.
In fact, until shoulder surgery in December, Margaret played the organ every Sunday in the church they attend, the Church of Christ in Rushville. When she completes her recuperation, Margaret said she would love to get back to playing music.
Her mother played piano and Margaret has played for possibly 70 years. “She taught herself mostly,” said Jim. She also sang second soprano at church, weddings and wherever else she was asked to sing. “My voice isn’t strong anymore,” she said as Jim chimed in with “Strong enough to holler at me.” They again exchanged a loving smile.
So, just how has that love remained strong for 74 years?
“We fuss a lot and we’re going to stay together until one of us wins,” chuckled Jim. As expected, the couple exchanged another love-filled smile.
Margaret added that being a Christian and loving the Lord has guided them through their marriage. “I would not have gotten this far without the Holy Spirit,” she said. “If God is your center of life you’re going to make it. He doesn’t make it easy for you just because you’re His children. You have to take the rough road.”
Admittedly, there are difficult parts to marriage. It isn’t all laughter and happiness. Margaret offered some tips for getting through the rough times. “It’s getting your (spouse) to think like you think..and that never happens,” she said, followed with laughter. “You wonder, ‘why can’t he think like I think?’ It’s about blending. You have your way of thinking and he has his. I do things quickly and he is slower.”
A bit of mischief seemed to enter Jim’s appearance as he said, “I think things through and then do it.”
“That’s where the Lord comes in, too,” said Margaret. “You pray about it and pray about it and he helps you through.”
They used the same approach to handle any trials when raising their children. In the end, “You just keep loving them no matter how they turn out. They’re yours.”
Rick Moorhead, 61, a 32-year employee at the J. Kenneth Self Shelbyville Boys and Girls Club, told GIANT fm he is retiring. He said he was proud to be one of only a “handful of full-time employees (at the Club) since 1954.”
Yesterday, the state reported 3 new positive coronavirus cases from the previous day in Shelby County, and 135 new tests. The number of deaths for Shelby County remained the same, at 164. The State lists the fully vaccinated number for Shelby County at 23,271, an increase of 5.
HOOSIER NEWS: House and Senate lawmakers appear poised to perform a resurrection act with legislation that eliminates Indiana’s handgun carry permits. A Senate committee late Wednesday gutted the bill after eight hours of testimony and debate. But Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said that change violated Senate rules, forcing him to stop HB 1077 from moving forward in the Senate. However, Bray said the House and Senate will look for a new landing spot for the bill’s original language, which would eliminate the requirement to get a license to carry a handgun. There’s no indication yet which bill the handgun language will be moved into. Advancing the permit carry elimination goes against the wishes of the majority of law enforcement in Indiana, highlighted during Wednesday’s committee hearing. Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter sharply criticized Republicans, saying they were acting out of political concerns and not in the interest of public safety. (Indiana Public Radio)
This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.
THIS DAY IN SHELBY COUNTY HISTORY
News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.
20 YEARS AGO: 2002
Friends and relatives said goodbye to 380 National Guardsmen as they prepared to leave Camp Atterbury on their way to a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.
Major Hospital implemented a digital x-ray system, one of only two percent of hospitals in the country to upgrade to the new system.
30 YEARS AGO: 1992
Gov. Evan Bayh brought his re-election campaign to Shelbyville. He and his wife, Susan, met with supporters at the Charles and Evelyn Smith home on R.R. 5 for a fundraiser.
Carlos E. Craven, a longtime civic leader, was named the recipient of the 1991 Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen award. Chamber president Rose McNeely presented the award, which has been given annually since 1959, to Craven at a banquet.
40 YEARS AGO: 1982
Sheriff’s deputies had arrested 54 percent more people in 1981 than in 1980. Speeding and drunk-driving accounted for much of the increase in arrests. In 1980, 162 motorists were charged with speeding; in 1981, that number increased to 614. Sheriff Westlake said the increase was due to federal funding putting patrolman on special traffic duty during their regular days off.
50 YEARS AGO: 1972
With a current prohibition of noisemakers, pom poms and mascots in effect for the 1971 sectional tourney, Triton cheerleaders showed their support with decorative jumpers. The girls were Ramona Asberry, Susie Phares and Cindy Miller.
The seven Shelbyville High School senior girls for May Court were chosen: Joy Campbell, Sally Grigsby, Janet Linne, Vickie Lux, Debbie McKee, Marian Thieman and Ana Yarling. Members of the junior class elected to the court were Debbie Hilderbrand, Dani Junken and Sherri Lawrence.
60 YEARS AGO: 1962
For the first time ever, Shelby County had two teams preparing for trips to different IHSAA regional basketball tourneys. Shelbyville and Morristown both won sectionals: Shelbyville beat Brown County, 86-70, in Columbus while Morristown eliminated Arlington, 59-51, in Rushville. Shelbyville had been given “only the darkhorse’s chance” to win sectionals, The Shelbyville News reported. About 300 fans had poured onto the floor to celebrate, and a dance was later held at the Rec. SHS and SJHS students were dismissed at 9:30 a.m. for a pep rally to be held at Paul Cross gym.
70 YEARS AGO: 1952
A Bill Holtel article outlined the history of Indiana Cash Drawer, started over three decades prior by J.R. Showers Sr. and located on S. Miller St., “at the edge of the city.” The company exported to most of the globe, with the exception of Russia. While selling adding machines, Showers had conceived of the idea of a cash drawer as an aid to merchants. He secured a patent on the idea and founded his company, Oct. 14, 1921. The company was originally located in the Fleming building at the northeast corner of Jackson and Harrison Streets. Officers of the corporation were Showers Sr. and his sons, Joseph R. Showers Jr., Richard Showers and William Showers. Celesta Fuller was office manager. The oldest employee in the plant was Clarence Cheshire, one of five foremen, who had been with Indiana Cash Drawer for 27 years. Other foremen were Alfred Aumann, Joe Woods, Homer “Bill” Gotcher and Francis “Bud” Hill. Other key positions were filled by Charles Cockerham, Carl Phipps and Fred Shelton. The two-story building employed 70.
80 YEARS AGO: 1942
A Shelbyville man who had lost track of his brother 44 years prior met up with him for the first time since the Spanish-American War. John Geer, 64, was reunited with his brother, George Geer, of Pennsylvania, through mutual letters to Congressman Raymond Springer. They were both born in New York and served in the War, but one was sent to a hospital during the war, and they lost track of each other. One of John’s daughters said the reunion was almost too much excitement for the brothers. “After greeting each other affectionately, she said that they just sat and looked at each other for a while,” The Republican said. John was a retired bag machinist from Kennedy Car Liner. George was a retired electrical engineer.
90 YEARS AGO: 1932
Officials at the commissary, located in the Administration building on West Broadway, said it would close within a week due to insufficient funds. The commissary had provided public charity to needy families throughout the winter. The commissary also had money held up in two banks that had closed.
The state highway commission announced State Road 44 would be extended, with the new part to be known as 244. The “Minute Man Route, which extended from Rushville to Martinsville through Shelbyville and Franklin, and the Milroy Road, extending from a point east of Shelbyville on State Road 29 through Milroy to Andersonville on U.S. 52, would be affected. The Minute Man Route would be known as SR 44 and the Milroy Road as SR 244.
100 YEARS AGO: 1922
A Greenfield man was arrested for violating the Prohibition law. It was alleged he had been providing “white mule” to numerous Shelbyville residents. Patrolman Earl DeBaun made the arrest.
Indecent exposure was reported in the 1600 block of E 1000 N, Morristown.
JAIL BOOK-INS: Cody A. Merrill, 26, OVWI-endangerment, possession of paraphernalia