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Staying together for 70 years, laughing all the way

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond of Suncook recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 2, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond of Suncook recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 2, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond of Suncook recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 2, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond of Suncook recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 2, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond of Suncook recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. ABOVE: The couple on their wedding day in 1948. Sarah Pearson / Monitor staff

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond of Suncook recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 2, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Richard LaFond sits in his Suncook home's living room. He and his wife, Glorie, recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • A framed portrait of Richard and Glorie LaFond on their wedding day, June 2, 1948, hangs in their Suncook's home living room. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond on their wedding day, June 2, 1948. —Family snapshot

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond on their wedding day, June 2, 1948. —Family snapshot

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond on their wedding day, June 2, 1948. —Family snapshot

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond on their wedding day, June 2, 1948. —Family snapshot

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond on their wedding day, June 2, 1948. —Family snapshot

  • Glorie and Richard LaFond on their wedding day, June 2, 1948. —Family snapshot



Monitor staff
Monday, June 18, 2018

They met at a skating rink more than 70 years ago, a Vaudeville-like duo from Suncook whose act never grew old.

The jokes and ribbing kept coming, enough to expect a rimshot from an invisible drummer, punctuating each routine.

“I worked on the railroad,” 90-year-old Richard LaFond said. “You needed to do something like that to keep your body solid.”

“Yeah,” replied his 90-year-old wife, Glorie LaFond, “and look what ended up happening to you.”

Ba-dum, tshsh.

It went that way for 45 minutes Friday, back-and-forth banter that belonged on stage, with Richard bearing the brunt of most of the punchline.

And that was just fine with him.

They sat in their living room, with family pictures – of their daughter and grandchild and two great-grandchildren – on nearly every inch of wall space, and explained how in the world they’ve stayed together for 70 years. They celebrated No. 70 on June 2.

There are, of course, several ingredients to the recipe.

“There are three things, three secrets to a long marriage,” noted Glorie. “The lord, love and laughter.”

That last part filled their small living room and floated into all areas of their half of the duplex. Their daughter, Glorie Jacob, who lives next door in the attached home, had told me her parents reminded her of “Lucy and Desi,” a reference to the married couple from the 1950s show I Love Lucy.

Jacob also called her mother a “character,” and she was right. For every statement made by Richard, his wife had a counterattack, each filled with sarcasm, each delivered like a professional comedian, fast and improvised.

The secret to a long marriage?

“I wasn’t going to leave him and let him be happy,” Glorie said.

As for their honeymoon in 1948 in Barnstead, Richard shelled out a whopping $35 per week for two weeks at a camp near Halfmoon Lake, where the couple trolled for white perch.

Instead, they caught the bottom-feeding horn pout, and Richard blamed Glorie’s rowing for catching the wrong fish.

There also was some confusion as to where the lake was.

“It was Barnstead,” Richard said.

“Wasn’t it Alton?” Glorie asked.

“Barnstead.”

“Well, wherever it was, boy were we classy,” Glorie said.

They were both right: Halfmoon Lake straddles the Alton-Barnstead town line. But the episode was over.

Even their births took on a comedic tone. Richard was first, weighing in at 4½ pounds. Almost five months later came Glorie at a whopping 10½ pounds.

“You knew who was going to be boss right then,” Richard said.

Richard attended Concord High School; Glorie went to Pembroke Academy. They met at the local skating rink on a Saturday at St. John the Baptist Church. They were 16.

Richard knew immediately that he had found his match.

“I was in love,” he told me.

To which Glorie expressed indifference, saying “ehh.”

They went to movies on Main Street in Allenstown, meeting inside because Richard could only afford one 35-cent ticket. The usher used to tap Richard on the shoulder every time he stretched his arm around her shoulders. They both remembered the name of the usher.

“Mrs. Slater,” Richard said. “She acted like the National Guard.”

They finally kissed after 13 months of dating, the big moment coming during a game of Spin the Bottle at a birthday party.

Their official comedy act began in 1948, and it hasn’t slowed down since. The decades have seen Glorie work for the telephone company, where she lost her job after the phone dial was born, replacing the crank. She cleaned tables at Wendy’s and worked the cash register at Cubb Life.

Richard served in the Navy until 1948, did manual labor on railroad tracks, worked in construction and settled at General Electric.

The area in which they live now has been their home for 90 years. Glorie, in fact, was born in the living room – yes, actually in the living room – of the duplex next door, where her daughter lives with her husband.

“We didn’t go to hospitals in those days,” Glorie said.

They both still drive. They drove together to their great-grandson’s graduation this week. Of course, that discussion led to this conversation:

“I drive better,” Glorie said.

“If everyone had a mouth that big, anyone would go crazy driving,” countered Richard. “When I’m driving, she’s actually driving. When I come to an intersection I hear, ‘Turn left here, watch out for that car over there.’ ”

That was the tone during our conversation, as Richard rocked slowly in his rocker, Glorie sat a few feet away on the couch and a framed photo of the couple on their wedding day hung on the wall showing a pair of 20-year-olds, each with Hollywood good looks.

You could feel the ribbon that tied these two together in that photo.

“Love, yes,” Richard said. “That never ended.”

“We were so young,” Glorie said. “That’s a hard question. I just loved him.”

Then, more wisecracks and funny gestures. I mentioned their chemistry by clasping my hands together to illustrate a nice fit, and Glorie responded by pounding her right fist into her left palm three times, suggesting conflict that really didn’t exist.

Then we searched for more reasons to explain their success. Humorous reasons.

“A man has to learn to keep his mouth shut,” Richard said.

“Yep,” Glorie responded, “just keep saying, ‘Yes, dear.’ ”

Ba-dum, tshsh.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304, rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)