January 8th, 1963 found 16-year-old Charles and 15-year-old Mary seated outside of a courtroom in Lawrenceville, Indiana, awaiting their turn to be wed by the Justice of the Peace. In a moment that is already thick with anticipation, a police officer approaches the couple. He offers his gun to Charles, butt-first, saying “Here, son, this might be easier.” Referred to from that day forward as ‘the gun story’, the couple both still laugh at the encounter 54 years later.
Fast forward to January 8th, 2016. Charles and Mary take turns sitting in the chair at Mill Pond’s Beauty Salon, where he gets a fresh shave and she has her hair styled by beautician Lana Baaten. Earlier in the day, campus staff had taken Charles shopping. He looks dapper in shades of purple and grey. Mary wears colors to match. After being primped and pampered, the couple goes their separate ways; he to the front of a room filled with some 65 friends and family members, she just outside. Music swells from a piano, and Mary enters, walking down a white aisle scattered with purple flower petals. She looks beautiful.
The couple stares adoringly into each other’s eyes while Minister Buck Martin presides over their vow renewal ceremony. Behind them on the mantle, the name ‘Smith’ is surrounded by purple flowers. To the right is a three-tiered cake baked by Mill Pond nurses Staci Anderson and Amy Barger, with purple and white roses crafted from icing spilling over its sides. In front of a crowd of smiling faces, Charles and Mary share a kiss to mark their 54 years together, from that day in a Lawrenceburg courtroom where, according to Mary, “My mom was going to sign the paper saying it was all right,” to now, when Charles laughs after the ceremony and says, “I was expecting her to head for the door or head for the hills.”
Brooke Trissel, Community Services Representative at Mill Pond, along with Ashley Lawson, Community Service Specialist, spearheaded planning the special event. “They got married when they were 16, so they never really got a wedding. He wanted to make sure, before he wasn’t able, that he could have a real wedding for her.”
We’re honored that Charles and Mary chose to celebrate their milestone at Mill Pond Health Campus, and wish them many more years of marital bliss!
Watch the couple’s special day unfold.
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