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Time has taken a toll on couple's health, but not their love

February 16, 2008|By JANET HEIM

BOONSBORO -- The date was Nov. 20, 1942.

That's when Goldie Smith married Ora Delauter while he was on a furlough while serving with the U.S. Army.

The couple, who both live at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in November. They marked the occasion with a small family gathering at The Parlor House Restaurant in Waynesboro, Pa.

"It's a two-sided sword, with give and take on both sides," Ora said of their long marriage.

Both grew up in large families -- Ora was one of 10 children, Goldie one of 11. Although they had no children of their own, they raised Goldie's nephew, Harry Morningstar, after his parents were divorced.

"I consider them my parents," said Morningstar, who lives in Waynesboro. "We celebrate everything together. I guess we adopted each other."

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Time has taken a toll on their health -- Ora receives kidney dialysis three days a week and relies on a motorized chair for mobility, while Goldie struggles with the onset of Alzheimer's disease. She recently was moved from assisted living, where Ora lives, to the Alzheimer's unit.

Through all of that, they spend their days together, enjoying each other's company.

"It's amazing to see those two," said Harry's wife, Louise Morningstar. "It's still like they're on their wedding day."

Ora, 93, met Goldie, 89, on a blind date in 1937. He was from the outskirts of Myersville, Md., and she grew up in Cavetown. They agree that it was love at first sight.

"I think so. It must have been. She asked me back," Ora Delauter said with a laugh and a twinkle in his eye.

When Ora Delauter was granted a 15-day furlough, he headed home to marry Goldie. He never dreamed he would spend most of it traveling, leaving no time for a honeymoon.

The train trip from California to Maryland took five days. Afterward, he flew back to California, which didn't prove much faster because of bad weather.

After their wedding, Goldie made a few trips to see Ora while he was stationed in the states, but once he went overseas, they didn't see each other until 1945.

Goldie vividly recalls how scared she was when, at the end of December 1944, she received word in a telegram that Ora had been wounded, with no details of how serious his injuries were.

Ora's leg had been struck by shrapnel, and the injury required surgery in a Paris hospital. That old injury still causes pain.

Upon Ora's return, he and Goldie ran Delauter's Grocery on the square in Cavetown. They ran the store for 20 years, and bought a house in that community in 1947.

"We had no trouble working side by side," Goldie said. "I guess we are a special couple."

When the health department told the couple they had to put tables and a toilet in the store to meet code requirements, the landlord gave approval, but wouldn't pay for the upgrades.

The Delauters sought other employment. Ora worked for the Washington County Board of Education for 13 years, while Goldie worked as a cashier at the cafeteria at what then was Hagerstown Junior College, now Hagerstown Community College, for five years.

To make up for not having a honeymoon, Ora would take Goldie on trips. Every year, the couple would travel around the country to attend the reunion of Ora's Army unit, the 5th Armored Division.

They have been to every state but Washington state and Alaska, Ora said. They had planned to go overseas in 2006, but Ora fell and that trip never came about.

They agree that their love for each other got them through their many years of marriage.

"He's the best man a woman could have," Goldie said.

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