70 years of marriage: Humor, faith and tolerance

When Ed Davis first saw his wife-to-be Eleanor, “It was like getting a 200-volt shock.”

Little did he know that her last name was actually Schock.

The Haddonfield couple, now 92 and 90 years old respectively, recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary surrounded by family.

As they look back on their lives together, there are plenty of reasons why they say their marriage has fared the trials of time.

The pair’s sense of humor stands at the forefront.

At the beginning of their marriage, which coincided with the era of the Great Depression, Ed and Eleanor would exchange sizable checks for Christmas.

A couple days later, they would tear them up.

“We knew we couldn’t cash them,” said Ed, adding, “Now, when she gets a check, she doesn’t tear it up.”

It all began with a Roxborough dance.

Ed was 19 years old to Eleanor’s 17.

Since Ed could use his father’s car to drive to school, his friend asked him to stop in the Roxborough of Philadelphia to ask a girl to be his date to a dance.

“In those years, quite a few of us weren’t going steady with anyone since there wasn’t much money around,” said Ed.

Thus, the boys would scout wherever possible for a date, he said.

“Thanks a lot!” replied Eleanor, sitting next to him at their kitchen table.

“I was just nonchalant,” Ed continued, as Eleanor’s now late sister Joan ushered them into the living room of their home.

Until, of course, Eleanor came into view in a two-piece dress suit.

“I wanted to see this girl again,” he said, firmly.

Quickly, he realized that he didn’t know her last name.

In Roxborough, he said, there were four girls who were telephone operators at the time. Luckily, one of them just so happened to be his cousin.

He called and she quickly gave him Eleanor’s phone number, recognizing her street address.

Soon enough, Ed called, Eleanor agreed to go on a date and off they headed to the movies.

“The movie was banned by the Catholic Church, and we never realized it,” said Ed.

“I realized it,” Eleanor rebutted.

The more he saw her, the more Ed just wanted to see her again and again.

The hardest times of their marriage came with World War II and the Korean War.

Ed, a retired colonel with the Marine Corps, was called to active duty his junior year of college, six months prior to Pearl Harbor.

To marry, the pair got three dispensations in order for the ceremony to be on a Sunday during Advent in the afternoon.

In the early years, they went from one base to another, from California to North Carolina to South Carolina, where one of their sons was born.

“The separations were difficult,” said Eleanor, citing the wars.

“We had a beautiful marriage when we were together,” she added.

How?

“Tolerance,” said Eleanor. “For both of us, really.”

The Davis’, who grew up in Roxborough but didn’t meet until the dance date proposition, had four children, Pat, Ed, Jr. of Mt. Airy, Pa., Chris and Sue.

They now have 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Even better, three of the adult children live in Haddonfield, close to their parents.

“When the fire siren goes off in downtown Haddonfield, there’s four households that hear it,” said Sue, their youngest.

Get-togethers, said Eleanor, are “a crowd.”

“A hungry crowd,” added Ed.

To celebrate 70 years together, a family dinner was held on Thursday, Dec. 20.

Faith has been a binder in their lives, said their daughter Pat.

“My parents are also members of Christ the King parish in Haddonfield and have been since 1959, the year they moved to Haddonfield,” said Pat. “It has definitely been a guiding principle in both their lives.”

Good health has reigned supreme for the couple.

“Even today, we’re very fortunate, mentally and physically,” said Eleanor. “Very, very blessed.”