Valentine's Day, plus one: the Weddles
Ed and Vivian Weddle are this year's Valentine's Day longest-married couple in Goldendale. Joan and Pete Heming, recognized by The Sentinel last Valentine's Day, are the only couple married longer. Fortunately, they're all friends.
"They beat us by six months," says Vivian.
The Weddles were married on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 1949, at the Baptist Church in Yakima. Vivian lived in Oakland, California at the time, but Ed was in the Navy stationed on Bainbridge Island, and couldn't get leave.
Ed, a native of Dayton, Washington, met Vivian at a Navy dance in San Francisco. Vivian was a hostess for the YMCA. Ed danced with her, escorted her home, and came back to see her the next day. Vivian remembers calling a friend.
"I said, 'There's a sailor here. What do I do with him?'"
"Is he good-looking?" the friend asked. "If he's good-looking, keep him."
Within a week, Ed proposed.
The Weddles have lived an adventurous life. Ed has been to over 70 countries on six continents. Vivian accompanied him on most of those travels. Before moving to Goldendale in 1968, they lived variously in California, Arizona, and Hawaii. In Hawaii, Ed recalls, "the kids had to ride a Navy launch to school."
After 22 years of service, Ed retired from the Navy. He and Vivian went looking for a small town "far away from the city." Vivian says Goldendale "is still it."
In town, Ed worked as a mechanic, service station owner and policeman. He also served as scoutmaster and started a model railroad club. Vivian discovered a passion for teaching and volunteered with the scouts and Headstart. In 2016, she was awarded Presidential Volunteer of the Year. The award was signed by George H. W. Bush.
Together, the Weddles have built three houses-two for themselves, one for their granddaughter. In total, they have three children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. They also have a cat, "Sixpence."
When asked about the secret to their long marriage, Ed and Vivian identify two key ingredients: laughter and commitment.
"He took good care of me," Vivian says. "Now I'm taking care of him."
Ed adds, "If we get in an argument, I give up."
"I give up, too," Vivian replies.
After 68 years of marriage, they are still travelling together. Last year they went to the Taj Mahal.
"People in China and India wanted to take our picture," Vivian says. "They said, 'When people get old here, they stay home.'"
"It's been an interesting life," says Ed. "When you have a good wife, you get to do interesting things."
This piece, along with other Valentine's Day information, was scheduled to run last week. The Sentinel opted to hold it to the day after Valentine's because the Weddles were not available to be interviewed at the time. (Ed's broken arm is mending nicely.)