Chartwell Elmira was the scene of a special event this week, as Georgie and Bruce Hutchison celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
The two were married on Saturday, July 7, 1951 at 2 p.m. at the Baptist church in Springfield, Ont. They just happened to be the first couple married at that church, which is why Georgie was given a white Bible that she has kept ever since walking with it on her wedding day.
Staff at Chartwell wanted to make the platinum anniversary special for them.
Program support services manager Charity-Mae Votary says they’ll be setting up a special date for just the two of them, where they can relive the first time they met. Their daughter will be bringing in a tablecloth that the couple used to use at home.
“They met when she was working at an ice cream shop at the mess in their area. Bruce used to come over, and he used to stay a little too long – he paid for a single scoop and she gave him a double, and the rest just fell into place after that,” said Votary.
Inspired by her love story with Bruce, Georgie wrote multiple books about their relationship over the years, mainly for their children.
“However, as the years passed, we began to realize that many of our dreams were more likely to succeed because there were two of us to share them. When times were tough, there was someone close at hand to lean on; when there was joy in our lives, there was someone with whom we could share that joy,” reads a paragraph from one of Georgie’s book.
“Of course, everyone was certain that we were ‘too young’ – Nat King Cole’s ballad “too Young” was at the top of the hit parade charts at that time and we thought it must have been written just for us. Well as you can see, we did survive, not without struggle, but it was the struggle that eventually gave us a totally different meaning to the word ‘love,’” reads a favourite quote of Votary’s from one of Georgie’s books.
Many people living at the Chartwell residence and the staff who work there can easily see how in love Georgie and Bruce still are even 70 years later.
“I know that their love is vibrant and apparent when you see them together, which that sometimes fades out. After working at a couple of homes, I see some people who are just kinda there together. They still make sure they hold hands and compliment each other,” added Votary.
“The children are still very involved. They have a routine – she tends to stay in her room, she reads or writes, she loves chatting, she’s social, her husband’s a people watcher – he makes sure to bring the newspaper back to Georgie.”
Weddings 70 years ago were different than they are today, in many ways. The village of Springfield helped celebrate Georgie and Bruce’s wedding, giving them an abundance of gifts to help get their life started. Georgie was just out of high school when they married, and Bruce was in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“The generosity of the villagers was especially appreciated, in our case, because it enabled us to start our lives with most of the necessities for housekeeping and a few cherished extras besides. I can remember how embarrassed I was when, thinking that the last basket had been brought in, I rose to thank everyone and in came another load. You really don’t know how many people are interested in your happiness until special occasions give them the opportunity to show it,” wrote Georgie.
“As we left Springfield with an abundance of gifts to start a new life together, we also took with us many fond memories of a caring community who shared our happiness and gave us their blessing.”