47 years and a 57 Chevy

Kathy + Gary. And smiles so infectious one is going to find itself on your face too.

These two graduated high school in June, and married in July. And here we are, 47 years later. They have a love that we all hope for, they are absolute goals. They are the epitome of what we see when we close our eyes and envision our future.

Kathy, to me, is like a movie character. You know, the small scene in a movie where the leading character is upset and crying in a hospital hallway, and she is the caring nurse that stops her day to sit with you. And then all of a sudden a relationship explodes and she’s a leading role in the movie, the one that’s just this giant radiator of love and helps guide you through your days with grace and understanding.  I met this gentle soul through photography – she’s a gifted photographer herself. She was stepping out of the wedding industry, and I was just getting started. I was this new, nervous, not-so-great newbie, and she saw potential in me. She referred a wedding to me and we shot it together, and she’s been one of my most treasured friendships ever since. I’ve done work for her family, for her grand-daughter, and photograph her great grand daughter. And finallllllllllly, I get to photograph her.

Her thoughtfulness is so endearing – she knows I don’t love to cook, and out of no where one day surprised me with crockpot meal ingredients and recipes with a sign that says “The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house.” When I shot her grand daughters wedding, she gave me gift cards to literally every place in Hardin County for food. And while she sure has kept my belly full and my pants tight, most certainly this woman is Chicken Soup for the Soul.

And no doubt, Gary is her perfect counterpart. I don’t want to leave out his big laugh and gentlemen’s personality – he may get a little jealous. ;) This shoot was so much fun – they danced to 60’s music in parking lots. They told me embarrassing stories and about their travels and retirement. And because they are the most amazing people on the planet – they let me interview them.

Q: What is your advice for a lifetime of love?
Always love and respect each other even on bad days. Gary says always say “Yes dear!”. And that certainly helps!

Q: What were the hardest things for you to overcome as a couple? 

The hardest thing for us to overcome was our crazy schedules with me being a nurse and he a railroad engineer. It was difficult to have time together.

Q: What brings you the closest to each other?
Retirement. We are together every day. Gotta tell ya that did take some getting used to.

Q: What has changed the most in the world from the time you were married, to now? 

Just about everything is different in the world around us these days. We remember black and white TVs and rotary phones.

This bracelet is the first gift Gary ever gave Kathy. My heart nearly exploded that she wore it.

Q: What would you do differently? 

We wouldn’t have done much differently.

Q: What are you most proud of as a couple? 

We are most proud of our family. Our kids, grand kids and now a great granddaughter. They have truly blessed our lives in unmeasurable ways.

Q: What’s most important in your day to day? 

Most important to us day to day is the fact we still have our health and each other. And as Gary says, “Any day you wake up on the right side of the dirt is a good day.”

Let’s talk about this car. This was Gary’s first car, and took them on their first date. Kathy said he pulled up in it, and she thought to herself, “what a clunker.” After they got married and were broke, Gary sold this car to his cousin. And many years later it came back to him full circle, still taking the two of them on dates.

Q: What were your dreams of your life when you got married. What are they now? 

We got married when we were 18. Graduated from high school in June, got married in July. We didn’t think much about the future except that we wanted to be together. Now that we are older we realize that our children and grandchildren are the best things we could have ever dreamed of.

And here we are, smiling over that lasting love that just won’t stop. A big cheers to these two, and a fast approaching 50 year anniversary I can’t wait to shoot.

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elainajanes@yahoo.comElizabethtown, KY
Always ready to travel