June 18 is one memorable day for the Coles

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Bob and Betty Cole will celebrate 65 years of marriage, Betty’s birthday, their son, Mark’s birthday and four other anniversaries June 18. Heather Wright Photo

It’s not surprising that this June 18 is memorable for Bob and Betty Cole. The Petrolia couple is celebrating 65 years of marriage.

Betty remembers their big day like it was yesterday. They married on her 18th birthday.
“It was a disaster. It was 95 degrees in the shade,” she says as she sits next to Bob at their kitchen table Saturday.

While it was hot, the day went well and Bob and Betty started their life in the Chatham area.

Their first child, Mark was born six weeks early – on their second anniversary – June 18. “He was born on our anniversary, almost to the hour,” says Bob.

As the family grew, the Coles moved to their home on Petrolia Line. Bob worked for the railway and driving long-haul trucks. Eventually, he became a school custodian and could be home every night with Betty and the two kids.

As Mark grew up, he and Cheryl started dating. After he proposed, he floated the idea of getting married on June 18. Cheryl agreed. “We just thought it would be a unique thing.”

Then, Mark’s sister, Judy, decided to remarry. When she told Bob and Betty, she announced the wedding would be June 18. “My sister said it best; she said, ‘My God, that number can’t be that bad,’” says Mark.

The family, Betty says, has always been close – “close and nosey are sometimes the same thing” says Mark teasing his mom.

When grandchildren started getting married, the Coles were still pleasantly surprised by their choice of wedding date.

Bob remembers when grandson, Curt, shared his news.

“I was yakking about something and he said ‘Bobby, listen up …we’re gonna join the June 18th club.’ Okay, fine, I thought, so we’ll go have a hot dog party in the back just like usual,” he says starting to smile. “And then Katie comes round the corner and shows us her ring. Then yeah, then we caught on.”

And Mark and Cheryl’s daughter Miranda also got into the act, marrying her husband, Aric, on Sunday, June 18, just to keep the tradition.

The Coles say they often celebrate the day together, although with the COVID-19 restrictions, they’re trying to figure out how the whole family can get together for a 65th anniversary bash.

In the meantime, Bob and Betty continue on, Bob cutting the lawn each week and Betty keeping the house spotless with some help. They spend a bit of time apart each day – Betty says it is good for their marriage to have some alone time.
S

o, what is their secret to a long marriage – Betty says the loyalty that grows out of love.
And it’s give and take.

“It isn’t perfect, believe me, Betty laughs “No marriages are.”