DOVER – Blake and Eunice Morris of Dover celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, they were willing to sit down and retell the story of how they met ... and how they were engaged a day-and-a-half before catching a midnight train to Kahokia, Mo., in 1943 to elope.
The couple first met in passing at a nightclub in Spring Valley, but it took awhile before they actually had a first date.
“He was so shy,” Eunice said. “He had his brother ask me for the first date.”
Shortly after, Blake went into the service, but their relationship continued.
Eunice said she always teased Blake saying he would have to ask her mother, who was a “strong woman” for permission before proposing.
“He never did,” she said. “He just said, ‘Someday we’ll be marred,’ and that’s it.”
As the couple thought back on this memory they chuckled, Blake especially.
“She was old enough,” he said as Eunice remembered being 21 when he finally popped the big question.
Blake proposed during a short break from the service. Within days before having to return, they quickly decided to catch a single-car train to Kahokia.
“It had people; it had chickens; and it had eggs and cream on it,” Eunice laughed.
They were married by a Methodist minister in his home. Afterward, they ate asparagus and sauerkraut for lunch, took a taxi to the train station where they caught a train back to Kewanee. When they arrived, they hitched-hiked to his sister’s home in rural Kewanee where they spent the night before getting a ride back to Princeton.
“That was the honeymoon,” laughed Eunice. “It was wartime, and gas was rationed.”
In September 1944, Blake returned from the service and worked a bit before purchasing a farm west of Tiskilwa. Throughout the years they moved five times, but spent 32 years on a farm in rural Princeton.
Blake said they always had “good neighbors.”
“It didn’t matter where we lived, we had wonderful neighbors,” he said. “We didn’t have any trouble with them at all. We enjoyed them.”
“We farmed all our lives, which I thought was a very good living,” Eunice said.
While raising their three daughters and keeping up with the farm, the Morris family kept quite busy throughout the years.
“When I was first married, it was wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday. Wednesday you shopped for groceries. Thursday you cooked, and then there was Friday and Saturday … There was mending somewhere in there, too. It was a regular routine,” Eunice said.
What’s their secret for 70 years of marriage. Eunice said there isn’t one.
“Not in our case anyhow,” she said. “You take one day at a time, and be happy.”
On Wednesday, the Morrises ate coconut cream pie and played cards with their good friends, Joyce and Jerry Linker of Malden.
“They are such good friends. They take such good care of us,” Eunice said.
Joyce said one thing she admired about the Morrises was once a week they used to visit every resident in the area nursing homes ... even if they didn’t know them.
“They did it for many years and put a spark in a lot of peoples’ lives,” Joyce said.
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