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70 years, day by day

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

It was May Day more than 70 years ago when they first met.

A young William Mason spotted Sarah during May Day festivities and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, the Masons will celebrate their 70th anniversary.

William was so taken with the young woman he met that day, that later during their courtship, he would ride a bicycle from Eminence to Frankfort just to see her.

“One day, I had it in my mind that I really wanted to see her,” he said. He left Eminence at around 10 a.m., and wound up in Frankfort around noon. Sarah was working at a bakery, but that didn’t deter William. He waited.

“My father said he was crazy,” Sarah said. And that, she said, impressed her. “I thought he must be something, because I don’t think too many persons would do that.”

William joked that he had fun, and a good reason to get on that bicycle. “It paid off,” he joked. “He saw what he wanted, and he was willing to work for it,” Sarah added.

Sarah also was impressed when William came to see her while she was in church.  “My girlfriend came and said ‘your boyfriend is out there,’” she said. “I said he’ll have to wait until service was over.” William waited, and Sarah said there must be something to him.

So just how did William ask Sarah to marry him? “I would like to say that we had gone together for quite awhile,” he said. “And so I guess her father met me one night and asked ‘what y’all gonna do?’ I had to decide that way.”

And in April 1939, William and Sarah married. Neither thought at the time that they would still be together 70 years later. It wasn’t that they didn’t think it would last, but the thought just didn’t cross their minds.

“It’s just day by day,” William, now 91, said.

The secret, Sarah, now 89, said, is, quite simply, love.

William said the longevity of their parents’ relationships set a good example, too. “My parents raised 10-12 children, they stayed together, and that was one good thing. That means we do the same thing,” he said. “And long as you have love for them (your spouse) and your children, that’s the whole thing.

Through the years, the Masons had four children, and are proud to have six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

There have been ups and downs, and Sarah said the times when William was in the military were difficult.

Sarah offered simple advice to younger couples. “I think the main thing is you have to love one another, and as I say, no marriage is 100 percent,” she said. “If you love one another (you can handle) whatever comes up.”

William agreed. “It’s good to be joyful,” he said. “Good times overshadow the bad times. That’s what I’m saying about marriage.”

As the Masons come to their 70th anniversary, they’re not quite sure how they’ll celebrate this year. William said he was leaving plans open in case someone else had something planned. “In case it doesn’t (happen), I’ll take her out for a biscuit,” he said with a playful laugh.

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