by Lisa Tome
The Miller offspring have outgrown the family home.
All of their homes.
So in order to celebrate both Christmas and their parents' upcoming milestone wedding anniversary, the family recently rented Cecil County's Community Center.
Melvin and Irene Miller, were married 70 years ago next month. The Millers, of Rising Sun, who wed January 26, 1948, met when Irene was 16 and Melvin, 17. Irene said they met as teens when a friend introduced them. They dated for two years and five months before marrying. Melvin used to walk from Oxford to Rising Sun in order to court his future bride.
The night before the wedding was memorable for Irene. Because of snow, she spent the night at her future husband's home, sleeping in bed with her future mother-in-law.
The Millers, now 89 and 88 years old, said there is no real secret to staying married so long. "Just love and forgiveness. I've never regretted it ever," Irene said.
Melvin said the marriage "has been a miracle" and she has been the girl just for him.
Their union has been a fruitful one. They had a dozen children - Diane Miller Davidson, Margie Miller Snyder, Linda Miller Clark, Thomas Miller, Jr., Jeanne Miller Fisher, Jesse Miller, Barry Miller, Rusty Miller, Myra Miller Belote, and David Miller. Their children, Beverly Miller Adams and Karen Miller, are deceased. They also have 30 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren.
During the recent party, more than 100 people turned out to wish the family well.
For work, Irene cleaned houses, but mostly stayed at home to tend the children. Melvin worked as a painter, often holding two jobs. Having such a large family requires people to be resourceful.
In 2001, Irene was honored by the Greater Elkton Jaycees as Mother of the Year. She was nominated for the award by daughter Myra, who at the time commended her mother for bringing her children up in an old fashioned way "with lots of love, respect, and teamwork." Belote also wrote how her mother canned at least 1,000 quarts of food per year from the family garden and packed eight to 10 lunches every day. "They are good Christians. They taught us to love our family and they taught us forgiveness," said Belote.
Margie Miller Snyder said that her parents have long been her role models. "We made the best of it with lots of love and church," she said.
The family has long been active with the Rising Sun Seventh Day Adventist Church. Now, the Millers don't often make it to church but they watch Seventh Day Adventist services on television.