Humans crave stories. We search for them, remember them, and share them. They’re an integral part of who we are and where we’ve come from.
Not all stories are heartwarming, and some are only good for learning a lesson or cautioning people from doing foolish things. But this story is one of our favorite kinds: a love story.
While many are suspicious of teenagers getting married, that’s exactly how this story starts between Malcom and Betty Clynch.
The two were just kids in 1945 when they tied the knot, and yet their marriage endured longer than some people live.
It wasn’t always easy, though. During their first year of marriage, which should have been spent getting to know each other better and gradually getting annoyed with the other’s behavior, they spent a significant amount of time apart.
It wasn’t by choice. Malcom had been stationed with the Army in New Mexico. Betty stayed in Texas.
Even on that all-important first anniversary, the two were separated. That didn’t keep Malcom from expressing his love and affection for his distant wife.
“Dearest Betty, Today doesn’t seem very much like an anniversary, just because one person isn’t here,” he wrote. “Honey, I’d give anything just to be with you for today. It just doesn’t seem right for us to be so far apart.”
The next 71 years gave the two plenty of time to work things out. They became inseparable companions, and everyone around them could see how in love they were.
“You could tell that they were in love,” Jana Elliot, the couple’s granddaughter said. “I always thought they never do anything apart. That’s something that struck me as different. They always did everything together.”
That is certainly different from many couples today. The world is a much different place today than it was then, but changing times couldn’t stump a steadfast love.
Betty and Malcom were known as talkers, and really got to know the people around them. And yet, said daughter-in-law Marva Clynch, “They just enjoyed being together.”
So when Betty and Malcom’s health began to fail and they knew the end was coming, Engle was convinced her grandfather knew he had to go first — but just barely, so they could still, in a way, go together.
“And I don’t think my grandmother was going to go anywhere without my grandfather,” Engle said. “I think he knew my grandmother was going, and he had to go first.”
“I’ll always love only you,” he used to sign all his letters to his beloved wife. “All my love. To the sweetest wife in the world.”
And that sentiment was proved by his caring actions and their faithful love.
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