The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 14, 2014

Clinton couple married nearly 70 years

CLINTON — Recalling the memories of childhood can often be a difficult task for some people, but for Sam McKenrick, the memories of his days as a young boy are vivid images in his mind.

At 5 years old, Sam would help his grandfather, a carpenter, build and sand wooden chests, earning a nickel for his hard work. When he was finished in the shop, Sam would use that nickel to buy ice cream cones for his childhood friend, Evelyn.

Little did he know at the time that Evelyn would eventually become the love of his life, mother of his children and someone he would grow old with.

"We've known each other since we were old enough to know anybody," Sam said.

It seems the suave Sam and his ice cream offerings worked because in October, Sam and Evelyn will celebrate a marriage that has lasted 69 years.

And while a marriage spanning nearly seven decades is an accomplishment in itself, Sam says it wasn't always easy, but 60-plus years of anything seldom is.

As he told stories of his life with Evelyn, who sat affectionately at his side, Sam explained that while their marriage withstood the test of time, not every day was roses and rainbows.

He recalled one recent story in particular where he ended up with a large, red impression along the right side of his face.

"Last week I had a big red streak down the side of my face that I didn't even know I had," explained Sam, as he struggled to hold back his laughter. "Somebody said, 'what's that red mark?' and I said well, I was talking and Evelyn told me to shut up and I didn't hear her."

That jovial and sometimes humorous attitude toward each another is one way the two have stayed together for all these years. Escaping reality to enjoy each other's company during family vacations was another way for them to keep the flame burning.

Even shortly after the two had been married in October 1945 at the Great Lakes naval training station near North Chicago, Ill., they spent the month of January in Padre Island, Texas, to celebrate a honeymoon that was delayed by Sam's service in the United States Marine Corps.

It was actually soon after Sam had returned from overseas during his tour with the Marine Corps that the two were married at the naval base.

"I came home from overseas and the train came into LaSalle Street Station," recalled Sam. "My buddies and I started walking up the platform and one of them said, 'look at that lady standing over there,' and the other one said, 'looks like she's waiting for somebody.' I said 'she is — me.'"

Sam and Evelyn then rode the train back to the Great Lakes naval training station and were married not long after. Sam also added the only time during his career with the Marine Corps that he went absent without official leave was during the six nights after the two were married because of their separation at the base.

"She lived on one side of the Great Lakes and I lived on the other," he said. "I wasn't supposed to be over there but I got kind of an unofficial OK to go ahead."

Despite the challenges of their lives together and the squabbles that can often clutter a marriage, Sam's affection for his beloved wife was evident as he recalled the memories they created together, none more prevalent than raising their three children in their country home in Camanche.

And as the children grew and eventually flew the coop to other parts of the country, Sam did what he could to remind Evelyn of the love he had for her, often sending flowers as small tokens of his appreciation.

Those little mementos of love were one way Sam protected the long-lasting marriage that he and Evelyn built for themselves, but he added that the biggest advice he could pass along to young couples looking to emulate that accomplishment is that of a simple nature: "You have to love each other and trust each other. It's a game of give and take. And if you're a man you've got to learn to listen to your wife."

And while Evelyn didn't disagree with Sam's advice, she did add that the old stand by of winning a man's heart through his stomach still holds true.

Her suggestion to a young wife: "cook better than I did."

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Taylorville couple wins $20M lotto jackpot

    A Taylorville couple has celebrated winning a more than $20 million Illinois Lottery drawing.

    Steve and Wilma Durbin were presented with their winning check Thursday afternoon at a grocery store in the central Illinois city where they purchased the ticket. The couple took a lump sum payment of $8.1 million after taxes.

    The Taylorville Breeze-Courier reports the Durbins hit the jackpot in the April 10 Illinois Lotto drawing. That was just two weeks after they were married.

    April 17, 2014

  • Branstad signs school radon bill into law

    The Iowa Department of Education must gather information from schools about whether they are testing for radon gas under a bill Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law.

    Branstad signed the bill Thursday to require school districts to tell the department about radon testing by the end of this year. The department must then report to the Legislature by January.

    April 17, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

    The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

    April 17, 2014

  • Defend 'Obamacare' unabashedly, some Democrats say

    With enrollments higher than expected, and costs lower, some Democrats say it's time to stop hiding from the president's health care overhaul, even in this year's toughest Senate elections.

    Republicans practically dare Democrats to embrace "Obamacare," the GOP's favorite target in most congressional campaigns. Yet pro-Democratic activists in Alaska are doing just that, and a number of strategists elsewhere hope it will spread.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search for Chicago site for George Lucas museum

    As Yoda might say: A site for a museum you must find.

    Those are the marching orders Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is giving a dozen civic leaders as the city searches for a potential location for an interactive museum to house filmmaker George Lucas' collection of art and filmmaking memorabilia.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video