by Lisa Tome
Neither Jim nor Pauline Duvall can recall anything about their first date.
They are not even sure if they really had one.
"We've been together all of our lives as friends. We just started going together a year before we got married," said Jim.
Marrying your best friend worked for the couple who married in Jefferson, North Carolina 65 years ago August 19.
The two grew up in the neighboring states of Virginia and North Carolina, walked to school together at one point during their childhood, and attended the same church, Wolf Knob Baptist. They went to different high schools but reunited and at age 18 were married by a Justice of the Peace.
A short time later, they moved to Peach Bottom, Pa. and came to Rising Sun in 1953. They have been in Cecil County ever since. Jim originally came to the area to farm. He worked as a boiler fireman at both Bainbridge Naval Training Center and Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The couple has four sons - Tracy, Ray, Delmer, and Ronald. They also have 11 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Most of the family lives in the area and they get together often.
"Loving each other is the secret to staying together," said Jim. "People marry for fun now and it doesn't work out."
"We got married when we were 18 and they said it wouldn't work out," said Pauline.
"We try to set an example. Just about everything we do, we do it together," Jim said.
The couple loves to travel, particularly to go on camping trips. They've been to Florida and the Bahamas, and out west.
They frequent campgrounds in Pennsylvania and in western Maryland. Jim also hunts and fishes. Pauline joins him on the fishing outings. "We're in it for the long haul," said Jim.
The couple are also active with Nottingham Missionary Baptist Church, where they have attended since 1954. Pauline laughs that her husband sits in the same pew whenever he attends services. "She can't get rid of me, because I won't leave," he joked. "She sits and reads or crochets and I watch television. We get along good."
They don't have fancy wedding rings. Pauline said her original ring, which he forgot to bring to the wedding and had to go to the car to retrieve, "wore out" and has since been replaced. She bought him his first wedding ring in the 1960s and he still wears it.
The couple celebrated their wedding anniversary with a trip to Mt. Gretna, Pa. for ice cream. "We’re not much big on parties," said Jim. They had a big celebration to mark their 60th year together and opted for a more low key celebration this year. They'll likely celebrate on an upcoming family camping trip. "When we go camping it looks like a gypsy camp," laughed Pauline. "It looks like Woodstock," said Jim.