Valentine’s Day is approaching and there has been no shortage of reminders through national marketing efforts, encouraging individuals to buy flowers, candies and cards. Underneath all the commercialized hype, there is a true meaning of love and commitment behind the holiday that reminds us to be thankful of the loved ones in our lives. Putting a faces to that reminder, Milford residents Janice and Dick Caldwell will be celebrating their fifty-fourth wedding anniversary this year.
College sweethearts at Lock Haven State College in Pennsylvania, the couple first met each other during a session of their college choir. Smitten with Janice immediately, Dick shares that as he passed her in the college’s social square each day he would always ask her when she “was going to give him a break.” Responding in a coy fashion, Janice would answer Dick’s question each day as she purposely mispronouncing his name during choir role call.
Dating off and on through college, Dick moved to Slaughter Beach in 1958 and Janice quickly followed. The two were married in 1960. During the early years, the couple lived a modest life and depended on their love to make them strong.
Dick taught at the Lakeview School in Milford while Janice was a teacher in Frederica for thirty-eight years. Dick moved on in his career serving as Assistant Secretary under Governor Russell Peterson for eleven years and the Director of Teacher Training for twenty years at Delaware State College. Today retired from both of their careers, the two work at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Delaware. Over the years they were inseparable, spending each day together.
“She is the kindest most gentle person you will ever meet,” commented Dick. “I want to look at her face every morning when I wake up and I want to see her face every evening when I go to sleep.”
After 19,710 days by each other’s side, Janice and Dick still feel the love that they began over fifty-four years ago. Their secret to such a model relationship comes from respect.
“You have to respect and share with each other and work together in a marriage,” commented Janice. “We still enjoy each other and being with each other after all these years.”
In addition to their wedding vows, Janice and Dick also made a promise to one another that they would never fight over money. They lived on the philosophy that if they had the money they would pay for it, if they did not, they would simply do without.
“I remember when we first got married, we went to Acme to get groceries that would last us two weeks; after that we had $3.28 in our joint bank account,” commented Dick. “That’s what you call true love, we had no money to go see our families in Pennsylvania but we had each other.” Their first year of total income was $8,100.
Their love of music has be a shared commitment ever since they met in the Lock Haven choir room decades ago. Janice still sings with the Sweet Adelines and Baseline Quartets as Dick sings with the First Presbyterian Church in Milford. Above all, the couple states that their strong faith has built a lasting foundation of love over the years.
“Our faith has sustained us through everything, we are both strong believers,” commented Dick. ‘We were both raised in church and it serves us every day.”