“There’s a whole lot of love here,” said Virginia Moses, 89, gazing at her husband, Ed.
A whole lot, indeed. In October, the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and on Saturday, Ed turned 100.
They met in 1948 while Virginia was still in high school and Ed was attending Eastern Washington University (then Eastern Washington College of Education).
Ed’s education had been interrupted by World War II. He was drafted during his senior year at Western Washington University. After training in radio intelligence he was sent to Brisbane, Australia.
“I was a Morse Code expert,” he said. “But then they trained me in Katakana, the code the Japanese were using, and sent me to New Guinea.”
Attaining the rank of master sergeant in eight months, Ed finished his overseas tour in the Philippines. By the time he resumed his education at Eastern, he was ready to find a girl and settle down.
Enter 16-year-old Virginia Clark.
A student at Rogers High School, Virginia had reluctantly accompanied a friend to a dance.
“I didn’t dance,” she said. “But my friend wanted me to go with her to the Metronome downtown, so I agreed.”
That’s where Ed spotted her.
“I liked to dance – especially with pretty girls,” he said, grinning.
He knew immediately that Virginia was something special.
“A light came on when I saw her, and I didn’t feel the need to look around anymore.”
“He asked me to dance and I told him I didn’t know how,” she recalled. “He said, ‘That’s all right, I’ll teach you.’ ”
And he did.
Her parents weren’t dismayed by their 11-year age difference, but they did have one request.
“They said I had to finish high school before we got married,” Virginia explained. “So I went to summer school so I could graduate in January of ’49 instead of June.”
By that time, Ed’s pursuit of a master’s degree had been interrupted again – this time by a job offer in Woodland, Washington.
“I taught 44 fifth-graders and we had a blast,” he said.
Ed and Virginia were married in Woodland on Oct. 15, 1949.
It was a small wedding. Virginia’s mother made her a dress, but no photos were taken. No honeymoon was taken, either. They got married on Saturday, and Ed went back to work on Monday.
“The first place we lived was above a garage. We had a bed, a sink and a toilet,” said Virginia.
In 1952, the Air Force recalled Ed to active duty due to the Korean War. When he left for Japan, their first child, Charmaine, was just 6 weeks old.
Ed, having been promoted to chief warrant officer, decided to make the military his career.
“He had a big head,” teased Virginia about the promotion.
Her husband laughed.
“I had a high IQ,” he corrected.
Their son Eddie arrived in 1953, while the family was stationed at March Air Force Base in California. Another son, Marty, was born in 1955, and 11 months later a daughter, Cheryl, arrived. Sadly, she was born with a hole in her heart and lived just 2 months.
In 1956, they were transferred to England, and stationed at High Wycombe. The family settled into Cherry Tree Cottage and welcomed another daughter, Mava, in 1958.
They spent many hours sightseeing and exploring both London and the English countryside.
“We enjoyed it tremendously,” Ed said.
And finally in 1960, the couple enjoyed a belated honeymoon, traveling through France, Germany, Holland and many countries throughout Europe.
When they were reassigned to Larsen AFB in Moses Lake, tragedy struck. Their oldest child, Charmaine, 9, was diagnosed with cancer and died.
The devastated family found comfort in each other. In 1963, the news they were being sent back to England, where they’d made such happy memories, cheered them.
This time the family settled into The Abbey, at Bourne End, where son Jim completed the family in 1964.
“Our house was old, I mean really old,” recalled Virginia. “The front porch was from the 1500s.”
The home, which had been divided into two residences, was surrounded by a moat and reached by crossing a bridge and driving through iron gates.
“We didn’t want to live on base,” Ed explained. “We wanted the kids to mingle with the local kids.”
When they returned to the States in 1967, the children spoke with British accents.
After 27 years of service, Ed retired from the Air Force and returned to Spokane and his teaching career. He taught special education at University Elementary for three years, but spent the bulk of his 22-year career at McDonald Elementary, where he served as assistant principal.
“I loved the fact that I could be so helpful to kids at that age,” he said, referring to the fifth- and sixth-graders he spent so much time with.
Virginia raised their brood, and when they built a home on 5 acres in Spokane Valley in 1975, she continued to use her nurturing skills.
“She’s a first-class gardener,” said Ed.
Roses, vegetables, berries and a host of flowers thrived under her green thumb.
“I loved being outside and seeing everything grow,” Virginia said.
They took several trips to England, delighting in seeing old friends, and some of those friends visited them in Spokane Valley.
Ed retired from teaching in 1982, but when his brother told him of the severe shortage of teachers in California in 1988, he decided to teach a few more years. He taught in El Centro for four years, returning home each summer so Virginia could tend to her garden.
In 1997, they moved into an apartment connected to their son Marty’s home, and have delighted in watching their family grow over time with the arrival of 10 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
“We’ve always enjoyed things as they come,” Ed said. “We’ve enjoyed everything in the moment.”
As for the secret of their 70-year union, Ed said, “It’s simple really.”
“Just love each other with all your heart,” she said. “That’s what we’ve done.”
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