Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2006

Couple celebrates 74 years

August 31, 2006

Ralph Sader liked the look of Doris the first time she walked through the door. He was 20-years-old and working in an Inglewood, Calif. grocery store.

He didn't know it then, but Doris liked him too.

"She said 'That's my man,' when I saw her for the first time," Ralph said.

Despite her words, it took support from one of Ralph's colleagues ---- a bread man at the store who knew them both ---- before Doris agreed to go out on a date, he said.

"We went together for six months," Ralph said.

Ralph sat in an easy chair Monday inside his room at the Eudora Nursing Center. Next to him, his wife, Doris, dozed. She is recovering from a fall she suffered at the end of July.

Leaning back in the chair, Ralph remembered the early days of his dating life and marriage to Doris. The couple will celebrate their 74th year together Sept 4.

"We got married on the fourth because that was the only day I could get off," Ralph said.

Despite her illness, Ralph remains positive about their life together.

"We had fun," he said.

The fun began the day of their wedding. With the help of Doris' brother, the couple foiled an attempted prank by Ralph's brothers.

"They were going to fix my car so I couldn't get out," Ralph said.

His brothers blocked in his 1930 Ford coupe. When Doris' brother saw it, he parked his car to the side of the church and offered Ralph the escape.

The couple married during the early years of the Depression and stayed close in the middle of the hard times.

At one point, the couple had only 10 cents to their name.

Ralph walked nine miles to find a job in Long Beach for the day, bought groceries and walked home, he said.

"She'd fish a lot," Ralph said.

Ralph and Doris shared interests like their love of swimming and fishing to help get them through the tough times. The couple hung on even though Doris found out ---- after their first date ---- Ralph couldn't dance, he said.

Ralph and Doris also survived early tragedy. Six months into their marriage, the couple were in a car accident as he was driving to work. Both Saders escaped without injuries, Ralph said.

"Her brother took me to work and took her home," Ralph said.

The couple's eldest child, Ralph E. Sader, came soon after, he said.

After Ralph, the couple had three more children ---- Lorraine, Ralph Edward, David and Donald .

In the following years, the couple left California as Ralph took jobs in Kansas and Texas.

Doris stood by Ralph as he reaped the benefits of keeping a stock of shrubbery alive during a cold Texas winter that killed the supply of almost all his competitors.

She was also nearby when his own nursery went under, Ralph said.

"We opened our own nursery, but we didn't have enough funds," Ralph said.

By the 1970s, Ralph's job as a greenhouse attendant at Kansas University offered the couple the opportunity to work together.

The couple had fun, "all the time," Ralph said.

After working, the couple would travel in their trailer to fish at lakes all over Kansas, Ralph said.

"Doris would fish for a little while then go back in the trailer," Ralph said.

The couple also shared decades worth of anniversaries.

"We were both healthy at our 50th anniversary, and we were both healthy at our 72nd," Ralph said.

Since then, Ralph suffered an injury that put him in the hospital for 20 days and Doris continues to heal.

The nursing center plans a celebration for the couple Sunday.

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