Robert W. and Dorothy A. Houghtaling will be celebrating their 70th year of marriage on August 22. Over their years together 13 presidents held office, tastes in music have gone from Sinatra to Hip-Hop, and the Red Sox finally won the World Series – 3x’s times over! Bob and Dot, while living through numerous changes, maintained their relationship due to core/unchangeable values. They loved each other. They fought for each other. They forgave each other.
Born three days apart, in November 1931, it’s fascinating considering the many varied experiences these soon-to-be 92-year-old individuals lived through. Bob and Dot’s parents were born around the turn of the century, in either the late 1800s or the early 1900s–we are talking McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt here. Their childhood had no television or computers. Their childhood saw folks die from illnesses we now have eliminated. Finally, their childhoods witnessed the Great Depression, World War II and the cusp of the Nuclear Age. All of this helped create a world view for two young lovers so long ago. It has been an amazing journey and story.
Married shortly before their 22nd birthdays this young couple would soon raise a family that included a son and daughter. Way back in those days that meant mom was in charge of meals, and most of the childcare, while dad worked about 70 hours per week to pay the bills. Even though all of this was true, somehow, they still found time for friends, trips to upstate New York and playing with the kids. It was and wasn’t idyllic at the same time.
No family is perfect. No marriage is perfect. With all of this stated, Bob and Dot would eventually witness the birth of grandchildren and great grandchildren. They would own a home, maintain lifelong friendships, and support their family to this day.
Robert W. and Dorothy A. are my mom and dad. I am forever grateful for the sacrifices they have made for me. Because of the efforts of a hard-working Marine/paint salesman, and a stay-at-home mom, my sister, Elaine Cate, and I have had many wonderful moments.
My dad is presently recovering from a stroke and is receiving tremendous support from his daughter, wife, grandchildren, extended family and friends. It should also be noted that his strong faith in God, along with the prayers from Spring Green Memorial Church, have all offered hope and inspiration. It has been said,”What you give, you get back.” In this case – how true!
So, happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. You have been parents, role models, and friends to my sister and me. Would you have ever thought that one day, back in 1953, the legacy your marriage created would have been possible? I can never thank you enough. Your son, Bob.
P.S. Here’s to love. Here’s to family. Here’s to caring about our fellow human beings. We are all in this together.
Bob Houghtaling is the substance abuse prevention and mental health director for the Town of East Greenwich.