Three Southside couple share stories of long-term love and life
Articles by Nicole Davis
It’s not always love at first sight. Some people know they’ve met their soulmate from the moment their eyes lock. Others, well, not so much. What matters is that once the love has manifested, the couples work together to keep the relationship strong. In this issue of The Southside Times featuring three “Southside Sweethearts,” learn loving relationships that have stood the test of time and words of wisdom from these couples as they discuss the key to a long-lasting relationship.
Ray and Cindy Bertram
Ray and Cindy Bertram may have beaten the odds, reaching 49 years of marriage and anticipating their 50th in 1969. It’s the second marriage for both, with which added challenges in the beginning, but Ray says the second marriage is sometimes said to be the best. For the Bertrams, that holds true.
“I have said to myself, that it has been easy, living with her,” Ray said. “She’s been a very good mother, wife, grandmother and great-grandmother. I could not have done better than Cindy, first time around, second or third. She’s a good lady and she taught the kids a lot of gracious things, a lot of good things, moral things. She has always been there to take care of me. I’ve had bypass surgery, cancer, and she was there to take care of me. That’s really the kind of things you look for, that you’re proud of, because it could’ve been the other way.”
Ray and Cindy met when a mutual friend suggested he give her a call. He initially said no, but eventually decided to give it a shot. The two met up for coffee and conversation. They didn’t date long, they said, getting married in 1969 at 28 (her) and 38 (him) years old.
Ray had three children from his previous marriage, and the couple added one more son to the family in 1971. They now have nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Both are retired. Ray started out attending college on a basketball scholarship, but after injuring his eye, he could no longer play. He ended up as a sales rep for a furnace company, later selling heating and air with Duncan Supply. Cindy started her teaching career at Southport High School, then Perry Meridian for 17 years before coming back to Southport in 1990 as a counselor and Dean of Girls.
Having lived on the Southside all of their lives, Ray and Cindy share a love of sports and can regularly be spotted at Southport’s basketball games. They both play golf, but laugh that they play better when they’re not together and are each in a golf group. They also enjoy playing bridge and euchre, and having traveled many places around the world.
Volunteer work is a large part of life for the Bertrams. Both are active at Southport Presbyterian Church, singing in the choir, which Cindy has done since high school. Ray serves on the board for Perry Senior Services, driving senior citizens to their doctor’s appointments or to the hospital. He volunteers at St. Francis every Monday at the main entrance, greeting people, answering phone and guiding them through the hospital. Cindy recently began volunteering to answer the phones at Perry Seniors. She is on the board of directors for the Southport Alumni Association.
The Bertrams were founding members of the alumni association, an achievement that gives them a great source of pride. Since the association started raising money for scholarships in 1991, they have raised more than $900,000, given to approximately 1,200 students.
“We both feel by staying alive in Perry Township, by that I mean doing things in Perry Township, it has kept us busy as well as up-to-date on what’s going on in the community,” Ray said. “We enjoy giving back. We always felt that we needed to do that.”
They also helped to start the annual golf outing, a fundraiser for the alumni association. Last year, the association renamed it the Ray and Cindy Bertram Alumni Golf Outing. That outing will take place on July 16 this year.
With all they’ve gone through and accomplished in their 49 years together, the Bertrams said they’re living the good life.
“We’re blessed,” Ray said. “Our house is warm, we have food to eat and a couple of old cars to drive around in. It’s something to be happy in life.”
Bob and Peggy Harold
From the beginning, Bob and Peggy (Tinkle) Harold had a close friendship.
Bob’s parents had a farm on Fry Road in Greenwood. Peggy’s parents had a farm just down the street. Bob attended Ben Davis High School while Peggy attended Center Grove.
“We used to go up there and play baseball and games in the summer, have wienie roasts,” Peggy said. “That’s how we met. That’s when Fry Road was a two-lane highway: those were the good old days.”
Bob continued, “From there, it grew into a friendship. You have to have a very good friendship to keep something going.”
Bob’s brother wanted to go on a date with Peggy’s sister, but it was Bob who had the driver’s license. Bob and Peggy started going with them on double dates. The two got engaged and wanted to get married six months later, but their parents encouraged them to wait another year. They married in August, 1964, gifted with a home, furniture and things they needed to start their new life. Peggy was 19, Bob was 20.
“The thing that drew us together is we always loved to go out, do things, go to parks,” Peggy said. “We used to like to always go camping.”
Bob continued, “In those years, life wasn’t always so fast paced. We’d go out to picnics, day trips. Now life goes too quick.”
The couple will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary this August. Their siblings, who they went on the double dates with in the beginning, will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary in October.
Bob and Peggy have three daughters and six grandchildren. Bob retired as a police officer from the Greenwood Police Department. Peggy was a stay-at-home mom until their youngest was in kindergarten, then worked cleaning the former Greenwood City building with Bob. She is retired from the banking industry, having started with Bargersville State Bank.
They may both be retired, but they keep their schedules full. Both are active at Greenwood United Methodist Church. Bob returned to the Greenwood Police Department as a reserve officer, doing security part-time at the Greenwood City Building. He enjoys golfing and bowling. Peggy spends her week volunteering between Meals on Wheels, Shepherd’s Table at the church, taking her dad to lunch one day a week, volunteering at Community South Hospital and at the Cancer Center.
“So I keep busy,” Peggy said. She laughs, “Since he golfs and bowls so much. I love it though. I like to give back. A lot of people that come in, just want someone to talk to or someone to say hi to them and give them a smile.”
Together, they like to go to the flea market, home shows and window shop. They go out to eat at a different restaurant each Sunday. They spend a lot of time with family – as they have a large one.
Peggy is the fourth oldest of 16 siblings. Her father, now 98, has nearly 200 grandchildren. She said she and Bob had great role models in her parents to look up to with regards to marriage.
“There’s no secret ingredient (to a long-lasting marriage),” she said. “There’s no magic pill. Me, I look at how mom and dad lived their lives. Dad always made time for mom, even though she had 16 kids to take care of.”
In the end, it comes down to friendship, having the shared interests and good communication.
“You don’t give up,” Peggy said. “A lot of kids nowadays get married with the idea that if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just get a divorce. But you have to work at it.”
Jim and Rita Moore
Jim Moore used to joke with his friends that he wanted to marry a girl named Rita, yet he was never interested much in the idea of marriage. That is, until he met Rita Dycus. After 10 months of dating, the couple married in November 1963.
“God had a plan and found the right person for my life,” Jim said. “She was very pretty. She had a nice personality. She was easy to talk to. I always thought I would want to meet a girl that has spirit.”
Jim, a Navy veteran, moved to Indiana from Pennsylvania in December 1962, obtaining a job at Community Hospital as a dietary cook. Rita had a job at St. Francis Hospital as a nurse’s aid. Jim’s sister, a registered nurse there, introduced the two. There was an instant connection, the couple said.
“We both had the same values,” Rita said. “We both had gone to church. We both put God first in our lives. I was looking for a good man that would take care of me and if we had children, he would be a good husband and faithful.”
They will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary this November.
Through the years, Jim spent 10 years working with the New York Central Railroad in Beech Grove, then the rest of his career at Lilly as a locksmith. Rita worked with Western Electric, then Arlington Elementary in Franklin Township as a cafeteria manager. They have resided in Beech Grove most of their married lives, living in the home that Rita’s family built and where she grew up. They have one daughter, and one grandson.
Now that they’re both retired, they spend their time on their own interests and volunteer efforts. Rita is the newly-elected president of the Beech Grove Senior Citizen Center.
“She puts her heart into the senior center,” Jim said. “She tries to know everyone’s names. She’s good at keeping track of dates and information. She’s consistent at getting talent in there to entertain us.”
She enjoys things like making jewelry or collecting cookbooks. Jim enjoys spending time on the computer and tinkering in the garage and things around the house. Jim is more of the “social butterfly,” Rita said, while she is a bit more reserved.
Yet, they are never far apart.
“Usually if we’re out and about, if you see him, I’ll be there,” Rita said. “We are always together, 24/7, but we give each other space. I think that makes it better, when you’re retired, to give each other space and to respect the space.”
The two enjoy traveling, taking small trips together across the United States. They attend church together at Church 52. They tape Hallmark movies and watch them at night. If they eat lunch at home, they can usually be found watching Gunsmoke. They both enjoy cooking dinner, together.
“We know each other almost well enough to know what each other’s thinking,” Jim said. “We work together on things. When we’re troubled, we talk to each other about what we’re troubled about… We’re not like some couples where one stays home and the other goes on a trip somewhere. We like to be together. We love each other, still. It’s more than love, it’s friendship as well, wanting to be around the person.”
What is the key to a happy, long-lasting marriage?
“This is something that I read recently: “At his son’s wedding reception, my friend Bob offered advice and encouragement to the newlyweds. In his speech, he told of the football coach in a nearby town who when his team lost a game, kept the losing score on the scoreboard all week to remind them of their failure. While that may be a good football strategy, Bob advised, it’s a terrible strategy in marriage. When your spouse upsets you or fails you in some way, don’t keep drawing attention to the failure, just turn off the scoreboard.” I thought that was essentially what we do. I have tons of failures, tons of things I do that she doesn’t like, maybe annoy her, and she has some things that annoy me. But I don’t let that interfere, and she doesn’t let that interfere with us being married. Never sweat the little things.” – Ray Bertram
“Loving each other is one thing, but liking each other is essential. I think one of the mains things is have a church family. I know as made a huge difference in our lives.” – Cindy Bertram
“First, you have to be best friends. From there it’ll grow into love. Then you have to communicate. I’d say that’s 75 percent of it, if not more. Communication is where it’s at.” – Bob Harold
“Communication, respect for each other and work at it every day. You take the good and the bad. You’ll have ups and downs, everybody does. You have to learn how to deal with them.” – Peggy Harold
“The four things I value in a marriage are communication, compromise, love and respect.” – Jim Moore
“We laugh together, we cry together, we just share and respect each other’s opinion. We compromise. That really makes a marriage work, is compromise. That goes both ways. It’s a give and take. We feel if we get upset about something, it’s best to tell each other how we feel. And we always put God first in our lives.” – Rita Moore