A celebration of 100 years of marriage doesn’t come around every day. It took the Youd-Hudgens-Beard family 61 years.
Bill and Pauline Youd were married on June 25, 1955, in Merced, where they’d dated a few times while attending Merced High School.
After Bill graduated, “the (Korean) War started in 1950 and I went over to Hawaii, went to the University of Hawaii for a year and a half, played a little football over there, and then the free board and room left and I had to come back,” 84-year-old Bill said, standing with his wife in East La Loma Park on Saturday morning.
“Meanwhile, I went to Fresno State, and we kind of corresponded while you were overseas” serving in the Air Force, said Pauline, 83, looking up at her husband of 61 years. “We got married when you got home from Korea but were still in the service ... We went and lived in Utah because you were stationed at Hill Air Force Base.”
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Then it was her turn to leave. She signed a contract to teach elementary school in Los Angeles so had to be there six months by herself before Bill’s service was over and he could join her.
As Bill made a career in pharmaceutical sales and Pauline – who’d majored in music – taught school, performed in musical theater and directed five or six church choirs, the couple slowly made their way back to the Valley over the years and have lived in Modesto the past 31.
This is Marian the Librarian (from “The Music Man”), this is Lady Thiang of “The King and I.
Bill Youd, recalling with admiration his wife’s performances with the Starlight of Kern light opera company in Bakersfield in the mid-1960s
They were in the park Saturday to meet with their daughter Sue Hudgens and her husband, Tom, and granddaughter Jennifer Beard and her husband, Spencer. The couples gathered to have their combined century of marriage captured on camera by Scot Woodman, a professional photographer who’s a friend of Jennifer’s.
Thirty-three years ago, Sue and Tom married in Walnut Creek on the same date as her parents’ wedding. “Tom, actually, when he proposed had thought about that date, and I said, ‘Wait, that’s my parents’ anniversary. Do you mind?’ And he said he didn’t,” Sue said. “Then (six years ago,) Jennifer thought it would be cool to be married on the same date.”
At her Modesto wedding, she had parents’ and grandparents’ wedding pictures on the cake table. Last year, at the celebration of the Youds’ 60th anniversary, all three couples’ photos were on display. “Somebody did the math,” Sue said, and realized that this year, the couples’ anniversaries – 61, 33 and six years – totaled 100.
He says often how crazy it is that there’s this awesome example (set by her parents’ and grandparents’ marriages). They have so many more years of experience than we do, to help us through.
Jennifer Beard, also speaking for husband Spencer
Asked if they counsel the younger couples on getting through marriage’s ups and downs, Bill Youd joked that he has a lifetime of experience to share but no one asks. Pauline reminded him that he’s always believed a person shouldn’t offer advice unless asked. Yes, he agreed, “unsolicited advice is poison.”
The Hudgenses have learned from the Youds’ example, though, and in turn, the Beards have benefited from observing both older couples.
What she’s learned and has tried to pass onto her children, Sue said, is, “One, just be committed – those are vows you’re making. Marriage not going to be easy the whole time, so get help if and when you need it.
We’re just a bunch of committed people.
Sue Hudgens, speaking of the long marriages of her parents, her and her husband, and others in the family
“Tom and I just have a lot of fun together. Give somebody the benefit of the doubt, assume their good will toward you. It’s easy to assume someone doesn’t have your best interest in mind, and he always has.”
Spencer Beard said his parents- and grandparents-in-law have set “really good examples of long-lasting marriage, how to just stay together and be with each other and not give up and quit (in tough times) but carry on and keep moving forward no matter what.”
Added Jennifer, “My family has always shown that through whatever the hardships are, you don’t quit. My parents haven’t been shy about (sharing things like) ‘This year was a hard year, but here we are.’ ”
Both older couples, she said, are “great examples of godly marriages rooted through the Lord.”
Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327