OK, so maybe it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but Girard and Edith Myers’ love has definitely stood the test of time as the Indian Head couple celebrated their 75th anniversary Jan. 28 at the Metropolitan United Methodist Church.
More than 50 friends and relatives celebrated at the Indian Head church with tributes, speeches, a buffet meal and a cake-cutting ceremony.
“I’m very excited,” said Merton Myers, the couple’s eldest son. “You don’t often see couples together for 70 years, let alone 75 years.”
Girard, 97, and Edith, 92 — who also have a son, Vernon, and a daughter, Sheila — have been together through the terms of 15 presidents. The same month they married, Warner Brothers screened the first colorized Rose Bowl and the day before their marriage Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated and the St. Moritz Olympics got underway in Switzerland.
Edith said the two “grew up going to church together” and Girard admitted that in the beginning he “paid no attention to her.” Edith said that as time went on, “We got older we started talking more.”
The couple — he was 22, she was 17 — married Jan. 31, 1948, in a small ceremony at their preacher’s home.
“If I had to do it again I’d wait a little while [until I was older] to see what life was all about,” she said.
“I am very excited for them,” said Del. Edith J. Patterson (D-Charles), who attends the same church as the couple. “I moved to the county in 1974 and thanks to Edith and Girard I was able to get a footing in the county. But more importantly they spoke of how [my family and I could be] impactful. They were also role models. They are stalwarts and respected individuals. I admire them.”
The Myers were also awarded proclamations by Patterson, the Charles County commissioners and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th).
“I can honestly say that I’ve seen that love they have for one another,” Reginald Johnson said of his aunt and uncle. “I’ve seen it grow over the years and seen it blossom into this beautiful relationship we see here today. And they shared that love with themselves and with each and every one of us that are here today.”
Johnson continued, “This reflection of love, companionship, relationship and the understanding and respect they have for each other has evolved into unwavering love that has withstood the time of 75 years. Seventy-five years ago a couple of you weren’t even a twinkle in your mother’s eye.”
Girard served in the U.S. Navy and is a World War II veteran who also spent 34 years working for the U.S. Postal Service. Edith worked for the federal government before she went back to school to earn her degree in early childhood education.
They have seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Girard said the secret to the couple’s longevity is to “try and do right by each other and we try to understand each other.”
As for what advice they would give new couples, Edith said, “Counseling might have a good effect. Having a minister talk with you and explain what marriage is all about, the love and patience and what to expect. Be patient with each other and communication is critical.”
The 74-year-old Merton said he fondly remembers the family vacations they took, including one to Key West in 2004 in the family’s Chevrolet Astro van. Sheila was scheduled to have her gall bladder removed but insisted on having the surgery after what she called a “memorable vacation.” In 2017, the family traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate Merton Myers Jr.’s retirement from the U.S. Air Force.
Sheila also recalled Christmas with her parents, which would include a giant wooden white star and blue lights throughout their home. And every night before bed, she, Vernon and her parents would gather in her bedroom to say the Lord’s Prayer and munch on snacks.
“It’s been a ritual for many years now,” said Sheila, 65, “and one we look forward to each night.”
But she said things have not always gone according to plan. Last year both her parents had COVID-19 at the same time, which she said “was very scary.”
But she said life with her parents was always fun.
“Our house was always open to everyone and anyone who wanted to come in,” she said. “They always got it done by relying on each other and praying through it. They set a great example.”
Merton said his parents ran a strict home that included church every Sunday and no cussing, alcohol or tobacco products.
“He was strict but in a caring way,” Merton said.
“We had a good time growing up,” Vernon said, “but I went to mom if needed something.”