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FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2007
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Mildred and Lester Wainscott celebrated their 75th anniversary recently.
Daily photo by Patrice Stewart
Mildred and Lester Wainscott celebrated their 75th anniversary recently.

Couple celebrate 75 years together; Their secret? Holding hands through journey

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com 340-2446

Long life will bring challenges, but you can persevere if you address them together.

That's the feeling of Lester Wainscott, 95, and his wife, Mildred, 91, who celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last week.

He has some advice for other couples who aspire to 75 years together: "Be happy, be faithful, and hold hands on your journey."

This couple were featured in The Decatur Daily five years ago when they marked their 70th anniversary as one of the area's longest-married couples who still lived in their own home and could talk about their years together.

That May 3, 2002, story told how the retired furniture maker still stayed busy in his shop, building doll houses for the great-granddaughters and other items.

In a follow-up visit this week, Wainscott shared how life in their 90s had changed for the couple, who have a few physical problems but are in good health compared with many their age. He's still in good spirits, despite having given up working in his shop and, just recently, driving.

These days, his life centers around taking care of his bride of 75 years, who is not nearly as talkative as her husband. He jumped up from his usual hangout, his easy chair, in mid-interview to get her afternoon dose of medication. He prepares most of their meals, too, and a pot of stew is his favorite dinner to make.

"I know when to quit," Wainscott said of woodworking and driving. "I don't trust myself around power saws any more. It's like driving — I don't drive any more because I don't trust my leg on the pedal." His car still sits in the driveway, "and I could drive it if I needed to, but I'm not going to."

She was 16 and he was 20 when they married in Jonesboro, Ark., on April 24, 1932. His joke is the same as it was five years ago. "She chased me and she chased me, until I finally got tired of running and let her catch me."

"We just take it one day at a time now and hope we won't leave this world too far apart," Wainscott said. "I can't complain at all. I get around a little slower, but I don't think anybody cooks any better than I do."

WWII service

Wainscott can still tell you all about his World World II service as a fireman first class on the USS Monterey aircraft carrier.

"You know, John Glenn, who became the first man in space, was a fighter pilot on my ship," he said proudly. "President Harry Truman decorated me five times with battle stars. I'm a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and I've got an original Social Security card from 1936."

He paused in thought and then said, "I don't think I would go through another war."

His daughter, Christine Peterson, told him, "You go through one every day, Dad."

He has a hearing problem and said he has "plastic in my legs" and his wife has a metal valve in her heart, but both have had those for years. AlaCare home health nurses come to check on her and get her bath each day.

When Brooke Bevis, R.N., arrived and asked Mildred how she was feeling, the reply was "Ornery."

"I don't think you're ornery — I think Mr. Lester's ornery," Bevis joked.

Peterson keeps a close eye on them from her home nearby and does their grocery shopping and other errands, assisted by their grandchildren.

Their other daughter lives in Missouri, where they moved from, but she and other relatives, including Mildred's 89-year-old "baby sister," came to Morgan County for a family anniversary dinner.

About 35 across five generations attended, including the couple's nine grandchildren and most of their 12 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

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