Quad Cities, IL/IA

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A Holiday Filled With Love


Submitted by Ridgecrest Village

I have been blessed to meet a couple that are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this year. Their life has been full of ups and downs, yet they never lost faith and love for each other. Their faith and love have helped them through all the hills and valleys life gave them. Now, they live in a senior community that gives them support and encouragement at all times.

I would like to introduce you to Robert and Norma Pint. Norma worked at Northwestern Bell and had been since the age of 15. Robert worked at the factory in the same small town. There was a water well that everyone had to get water from down the road from where Norma worked. One day while getting water, Robert noticed her and made a silly comment to show off to his friends. Norma didn’t like the comment, so she decided to throw the bucket of water she had just filled right on him… it was true love ever since.

They were married that fall and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she found a job at Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph. She was able to work there for one year and then had to take maternity leave two days before their son was born. While on leave, Robert had a chance with his job to transfer back to Iowa, so Norma took a break from her career and became a stay-at-home mom. Six years later, Roberts’ factory had layoffs, so he had to find work in a sugar mill at Mason City, Iowa and drove back and forth 70 miles each day.

One day while Robert was at work, he noticed an ad in the paper that said “live-in operator” and it was in Hanlontown, Iowa (closer to the sugar mill). Robert told Norma about the job; she applied was hired immediately. It was quite a change for them; they lived in a very small house with the switchboard in the living room, a well out back, and the restroom even further out back up the path! This job was seven days a week, and twenty-four hours a day. The nice part was they were able to get to know everyone in that small town, including their cats and dogs. They blew the noon whistle (a fire siren on tip of the house), made out all phone bills, collected all bills, fixed their own switch board, took messages for anyone and everyone who wanted to go away for the day, took orders for the gas company stock yards and peat company, and so much more. If someone lost their husband or child, they would ask Robert and Norma to look up the street to see if they were up town. Since Norma was the only lady in town who was home all day, she became the town babysitter, she had lots of kids that would show up every day, announced or unannounced.

Unfortunately, the sugar mill closed and Robert was out of work again. By that time, he desired to get out of factories, but knew he needed more education to do so. He enrolled in the tenth grade at Hanlontown, Iowa and went back to school with all the other high school students. If Robert wanted to go to college, Norma knew she needed to find a better job as well, so she also enrolled in Hanlontown High School. Robert went to class all day, drove the school bus, and worked a full night shift in Mason City; Norma ran the Hanlonton office and cared for two children while completing her school work at home. Talk about a lot of things going on! During those  days, most people would have given up, but this couple just grew closer together. One and a half years later, they both graduated and Robert enrolled in the State Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls, IA. Norma, after being turned down in the Waterloo telephone office, thought of the office in Waverly, IA and a few days later she was called to work.

Six years later, the word was given that the Waverly office was closing, so she transferred to Charles City, IA and worked there for three years. God blessed them even more after that: Robert was transferred to Bettendorf, IA as a teacher and Norma came with him. Norma got a job at AT&T and worked another 21 years as an operator; Robert now had his B.A., M.A., Specialist, and PhD… so Norma quit working!
Norma decided it was time for her to do the things she had put off. She decided she would always have their camper packed and ready to roll. Roll they did too — they have been to every state and province. They loved to go to the downtown areas and explore the historical part of the areas and look at all the different architecture and museums.

After Robert retired, they decided to give back, so they volunteered for 15 years after traveling to many different countries and states. Off they went to South Phoenix, one of the many places that they made their mark in. Norma took it upon herself to make sure all the children were properly clothed, while Robert gave them a better education: he taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grade science to the homeless.

After 25 years of traveling, they finally decided it was time to settle down. Although they had a beautiful home in Bettendorf, IA, they wanted to find a permanent home, which led them to Ridgecrest Village. Robert and Norma moved into Ridgecrest five years ago and, as they say, “this is home!” This year being their 70th anniversary though, Robert wanted to do something special, so they took a trip to Hawaii where they have been going every five years for the past 20 years. They were treated as king and queen, and this is yet another memory they will keep dear to their hearts.

When Robert is asked how he made it last, he will just smile and say:  “The secret is, never say something you will regret, never say something that will hurt or belittle the other person, and don’t say anything you don’t mean because, although they will forgive you, they will never forget it!”

Ridgecrest started a forest of trees a few years back for one of our residents who couldn’t go to the Festival of Trees anymore due to health reasons. She had always been active in this event and it was every important to her, so it was decided we would make one for her. The following years, our residents requested we continue doing it because it brought extra joy to everyone. This year, our Forest of Trees will be on December 9th at 10am. Robert and Norma will be there as well, so please come meet them and enjoy a special Christmas story that will be shared by them. If you are unable to attend on the 9th, they would like to just invite you to come share a meal and see how great their life still is.

Call Mary or Karen at 563-391-3430 to RSVP or set up a time that works best for you. From our family here at Ridgecrest to you,  Have a very Blessed and  Merry Christmas this year!