In June 1948, Ron Bock took Doris Brodrecht on their first date: a screening of the film ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.’ The Cary Grant movie depicts the tale of a couple moving from the Big Apple into a gigantic home in the country, but Ron doesn’t remember a single thing about it.
“I can’t tell you anything about the movie, I’m afraid,” said Ron. “I wasn’t really paying attention; I was too excited that she was there with me.”
This week, the Elmira couple is celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.
Their relationship started, fittingly, at a wedding. Ron and Doris had each come alone to their friend’s Kitchener nuptials; as fate would have it, they were seated next to each other at dinner.
“Some people call it love at first sight,” Ron said this week. “I believe in that now.”
Details of their conversation that night have been lost along the way, but both Ron and Doris remember spending the night chatting and laughing and dancing together.
“I was smitten,” said Ron, who mustered up the courage to ask Doris if she would like to go out on a date with him. To his delight, she agreed. A short while later, the two of them took taxis – Doris from her Bloomingdale home and Ron from his home in Kitchener – into town and went to see the film.
Ron decided soon after that if he was to keep seeing a girl from Bloomingdale, he needed a better way to get to her than taking a taxi, so he enlisted a friend to teach him how to drive and purchased his first vehicle, a Pontiac coupe.
On July 22, 1950, the two wed at St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Kitchener in front of about 60 friends and family members.
“It wasn’t a big wedding,” noted Doris.
“I wasn’t a Romeo or a Don Juan or anything like that. I dated other girls and I never once thought of them as a potential wife,” said Ron. “When I met Doris, it was altogether different. Right from the day I met her at the wedding I knew, that was the gal I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It was just a chemistry I guess.”
Ron spent many years working as an optometrist in Elmira, and Doris stayed at home with their children.
Throughout the years, they had their share of everyday struggles, said Ron, but nothing that love and a strong faith couldn’t get them through. The couple is now proud parents to David, Rhonda and Cindy.
They are grandparents to eight and great-grandparents to another three children, with one more on the way.
“Being a grandparent is a whole lot easier than being a parent,” said Ron with a laugh. “The kids come over for a while and you can spoil them if you feel like it and then send them home. We were very lucky: we have great kids and a great family.”
These days, the couple is living separately; Doris lives in the long-term care facility at Chateau Gardens in Elmira and Ron is only a few blocks away in a townhouse. Originally, they had bought the townhouse and were planning to live there together, but about five years ago Doris began showing signs of Alzheimer’s, was admitted to hospital and eventually transferred to a place where she can get the kind of attention she needs.
Each afternoon for the past three and a half years, Ron has come to Doris’ second floor bedroom; he visits with her in her room filled with photographs of family and other touches of home. Each evening, he kisses her goodbye and returns to his house just down the road.
“Theirs is a very loving relationship,” said the couple’s son David, who worked with Ron as an optometrist. “From them I learned that marriage is hard work, but if you can persevere, it is definitely worthwhile. The togetherness they have is incredible.”
For the couple who hope to get the family together to celebrate at the end of the summer, the recipe for a good marriage is simple: listen, love and be patient – always.
“I have somebody who loves me,” said Doris.
“That goes both ways,” echoed Ron. “We all search for that, don’t we?”