As Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, draws near, thoughts turn to that age-old four-letter word … love!
Regardless of age, love is the universal language and continues to be the tie that binds, as the saying goes. This is true of three Kingston of Sylvania residents, who agreed to share their own special love stories this Valentine’s Day.
“I wish everyone could have a marriage like mine,” each of the residents reiterated at one time or another during the interview.
Clarence Condin and his late wife, Ada Lou, shared nearly 68 happy years of married life while Jeanette Kempter enjoyed 64 years of marriage with her late husband, Ronald. Sharon Welter and her second husband, Tom, of 37 years, currently live at Kingston sharing their life, love, and laughter despite his dementia.
Condin said he was painting the ceiling in the sanctuary of his church when his minister’s visiting sister-in-law walked in. “I knew when I first saw her that she was the one for me. And I think that is how she felt too.” Two and a half years later they married and raised five children who continue to live in the area. “Ada Lou never knew her father but she adored my dad, as did I. And my dad loved her until the day he died,” he recalled. “We had five children and we desperately loved all of them. Love without fault. That was what we had and that is what I want for my children.”
Following the death of her husband, Jeanette Kempter moved to Kingston from her home in Alabama last year to be near one of her daughters. She had lived in Sylvania previously for five years and feels as if she’s almost back home. “Love is a wonderful word. Love is a lot of things in life: spouse, children, pets, doing what makes you happy,” she said. She met her husband at the wedding of a friend. While it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, she was attracted to him and they hit it off. They were married a year later. He was in the Air Force and
the newlyweds were stationed in England, where they lived for three years. Two of their four children were born during their time there. “We had a fun life together … a really wonderful life together. I could hardly wait until Ron would get home from work every day,” she recalled.
“I wasn’t really looking for a husband when I met Tom at my church,” said Sharon Welter. “I had been single for such a long time. Both of my sons were adults and on their own. But Tom is such a great guy and has a wonderful sense of humor. He is also very sweet and thoughtful. I knew from the beginning he was special. We always have had a lot of fun together.” She said he had put her engagement ring in a box of Cracker Jack and she was amazed when she came upon an emerald ring, her favorite stone, rather than the usual plastic toy. Her advice for others is to look for someone who treats you well, is responsible, and is a hard worker.
Mrs. Kempter suggests you look at your special someone’s relationship with family. “Look at how other people respond to him or her. Does he or she like animals? What are his or her likes and dislikes? Are they the same as yours?”
Condin echos those sentiments and also encourages young people who are considering relationships to watch how their significant other treats their mother and father. Most importantly, the three agree, it is good communication … making sure you are both on the same page is key. They each believe in marriage and that it is a lifetime commitment. They also agree that a loving relationship makes for a happy life that celebrates each day as if it is Valentine’s Day!