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Older couple drinking tea and holding hands

Tale as old as time

A love story 78 years in the making
Most people dream of a love so strong it stands the test of time. For Russell and Mildred Wright of Medicine Hat, Alberta, they don’t have to dream it, they live it. The couple has been married for 78 years.

The Wrights live at Revera’s Meadowlands Retirement Residence after moving in a little more than a year ago. Russell, who will turn 102-years-old in March, looks back at his romance with Mildred in simple terms. “We fell for each other. That’s all there is to it.”

“They will reach out to touch the other’s hand for reassurance without even realizing it.”
The pair met while working on the same ranch near Pincher Creek. However, it was at a dance that the sparks first flew. “I went with his brother and he and Russell got into a fight at one point,” says Mildred, 97. “I ended up leaving the dance with Russell. He was pleasant, charming and better looking than his brother.”

Dancing was a common passion for Russell and Mildred, and it was at another dance where Russell decided to pop the question. “He proposed the night of a dance when we stayed a little too late and ended up getting locked in all night. It was kind of romantic,” Mildred muses.

Their wedding took place on October 19th, 1940. It was a rainy-day Mildred remembers. Some say rain brings good luck, and it must be so for Russell and Mildred. Their marriage survived some daunting challenges including when Russell was deployed for five-years during the Second World War.

The years since the war have been fruitful. Their 14 children have produced 44 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, 22 great-great grandchildren and three great-great-great grandchildren. Mildred admits it can be fuzzy keeping track of everyone, but she wouldn’t want it any other way.

So, what is their secret to a long and happy marriage? “I don’t know. It’s just how it turned out,” says Russell. Mildred says it’s a matter of give and take, and not getting jealous.

No matter their formula for making their marriage last 78 years (and counting), they say little has changed about their relationship – except that “we’re a lot older” says Mildred. Their granddaughter, Gloria Meier, says they instinctively rely on each other. “They will reach out to touch the other’s hand for reassurance without even realizing it.”

Russell and Mildred are the stars of a love story that can compete with any other. They are proof that love knows no bounds, especially time.