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After 60 years, pair still ‘going strong’

From the moment Ed and Barbara Talbott laid eyes on each other at Cluster Springs School, they knew they would spend the rest of the lives with each other.  

On Thursday, the pair celebrated 60 years of marriage having a steak dinner with their four children.

“I was in the seventh grade, and he was in the sixth grade, and he came in there to invite the seventh graders to some gathering, and I said that’s the man I’m going to marry. But he didn’t say I’d be the woman he’d marry,” Barbara said recalling the first time she and Ed met.

They didn’t start dating until Barbara was in the 11th grade, and Ed was in the 10th.

 Barbara said she didn’t know exactly what it was that attracted her to Ed, but when she saw him, she just knew he’d be the man she’d marry. 

Ed said he was attracted to Barbara’s good looks and athletic ability. Barbara was the star of her school softball team and the first woman in South Boston to achieve a 600 sanctioned set in bowling. 

Barbara has been bowling for 55 years and played softball until she was 60 years old. 

Ed was into sports but said he was never good at it. He admired Barbara for her skills.

Neither Barbara nor Ed remembers their first date. Barbara said it was probably to the movies because it was the only place her father would let her go. She said it was probably an early movie because her curfew was 10:30 p.m.

After almost four years of dating, the two were married on April 17, 1954 at the parsonage of the Rev. Wood near Buffalo Baptist Church. Barbara was 20, and Ed was 19.

The wedding was small with only their mothers attending, and no reception followed.

“There wasn’t any money for weddings back then,” Barbara said.

The two honeymooned at Virginia Beach for one day and one night.

They got married because they love each other and wanted to spend their life with each other. 

Barbara and Ed have never renewed their vows and don’t have any intentions of doing so.

“I don’t see any need, they’ve stuck this long,” Barbara said.

 Together the two have four children, Bunny Propst, twins Donna Hudson and Sandra Slayton and Darrin Talbott.

They also have 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

 For seven years, Barbara worked at Burlington, while Ed worked at J. P. Stevens.

 In 1958, the two started Ed’s Honda, a motorcycle dealership and repair shop.

He always has had a love for motorcycles and was eager to start the local business.

He and Barbara often would ride motorcycles together.

Ed rode motorcycles until a year ago but doesn’t anymore because his wife said she won’t let him.

When the two first started the motorcycle business, it was located in a sawmill shed in the backyard of their Cluster Springs home.

 While Ed worked diligently selling and repairing motorcycles, Barbara assisted him by keeping up with the paperwork, handling the money, selling parts, keeping the area straight and raising their four children.

By 1964 the business had grown and moved to its current location on Bill Tuck Highway in Riverdale.

 For 55 years, Ed’s Honda has remained in business and is now operated by their son, Darrin.

The couple’s most memorable moments in their marriage have come while traveling to numerous places in the United States and abroad.

 These memorable trips include a visit to Switzerland, Hawaii, South Carolina, San Francisco, La Vegas, Reno, New Orleans, Tennessee, Japan, Canada and Mexico.

For Ed, the most memorable trip occurred when they travelled to California, and Honda rented out Disney Land for all the Honda dealers.

Each year as they have celebrated their wedded bliss, the pair has kept things pretty simple and rarely exchange gifts.

“We give all year, so we don’t give gifts. We just spend time together and go out and eat,” Barbara said.

 The pair said their 25th and 50th anniversaries so far have been their most memorable anniversaries.

 On their 25th anniversary they took a trip to Niagara Falls, and on their 50th anniversary the two celebrated with a 50’s themed party at the Cluster Springs Fire Department. All the women wore poodle skirts, and the men slicked their hair back and wore penny loafers.

 After six decades, the couple said they have experienced all of what marriage is truly about.

“He let me do what I wanted to do, and I let him do what he wanted to do,” Barbara said when asked what has made for a lasting marriage.

She advises younger people and newlyweds to work hard at their marriages and not to be so quick to pack up and leave.

“If you work at it, you’ll succeed,” Barbara said. 

 Ed said it’s not clear how they will spend their next 60 years, but they plan to take it one day at a time.