'We got 65 years in, and I'm looking forward to another 20'

·4 min read

Bud and Zeta Sherwood have been married for 65 years, so when it comes to love, they can offer a little advice on the subject.

Bud said he was asked once by a Sunday school class about how to succeed in love. “Do you want to be happy or right?” he told them.

Although Bud, 88, and Zeta, 85, now residents of Salisbury's Silver Fox Estate, grew up only a stone’s throw from each other just outside Fredericton, Bud never asked out Zeta when they lived close to each other.

It didn't happen until Bud had been working in Toronto for a couple of years building skyscrapers and came home for a visit in 1955.

“He asked me out, but I couldn’t go because I had appendix surgery,” said Zeta, who was living in Lower St. Mary’s at the time.

Bud went back to Ontario. He returned to New Brunswick later that year in June, and asked her again. This time she said yes, and by November he asked her to marry him. Zeta told him he had to choose between her and his Ford. He chose her.

They weren’t much alike, he said: she went to church on Sundays, and he played ball and hockey. But since finding each other, she’s always been part of his decision-making, he said.

They’d decide together if he’d take a job and all other decisions along the way, Bud said. “She gave up a lot for me,” he said, including choices affecting her own career as a public sector accountant.

Sometimes, they got to work together, such as when they were superintendents of a large apartment complex. “She would note the burned out lightbulbs and I would go fix them,” he said.

When asked if he has advice for others, he said, "Be good listeners. Be open to what [you're] discussing.”

The couple, who have built two homes together, have spent the last few months spending almost all their time inside their new home, a seniors' residence, which has been locked down several times during the pandemic to protect the residents.

But Bud said the time has passed well because they’ve done things together. His advice for couples just starting out is to “learn to be with each other.”

“It’s a joy and privilege to have breakfast with my wife,” he said.

The couple reads, does crosswords and puzzles, and listens to music, he said.

They help each other with things the other can’t do.

What Zeta loves most about Bud is that he’s caring, considerate and compassionate.

What about Bud? “She gave everything to me," he says. "She’s my breathing, my heart ... everything we’ve done, we’ve done for each other.”

Three children, eight grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren later, Zeta said faith has helped the couple too.

With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, Bud said, “I can’t get out to buy her anything,” but he’s made Zeta a Valentine.

"We got 65 years in, and I'm looking forward to another 20," he said.

Max and Bessie Head, residents of Royal Court at Parkland Riverview recently celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.

Max, 90, was a teacher in Newfoundland for 36 years, a job that would see the couple move many times. But if it wasn’t for his job, Max said, he wouldn’t have found himself in Brookside where he met Bessie.

They soon realized they didn't want to live without each other, said Bessie.

It wasn’t always easy, Max says, and where they were living wasn’t always ideal.

“Don’t expect too many worldly things at the beginning,” said Bessie, 93, adding that she thinks buying things on credit is unwise and can lead to worry. “If you have love for each other, that’s good.”

Her advice is to “take it easy and be satisfied with each other.”

On getting through the pandemic together she said, “We look forward to each and every day together.”

“Sometimes I think she goes too far with it, but she is very concerned for my health and safety,” said Max.

Bessie said she has spent many a stormy night looking out the window waiting for her husband to come home safely.

Max said he always knew she’d do anything for anyone, especially the man she loved.

“We’ve had our ups and downs. We didn’t always agree,” he said, but they've stayed together, something he especially credits Bessie for.

Nobody is always at fault, he said, and you have to be able to withstand criticism from your partner. “You have to give and take.”

The couple has had a busy life, living in many places. They followed their son to New Brunswick in 1992, and now have three grown grandsons.

Seventy-one years is a long time, said Bessie, while noting it doesn’t seem that long for them.

• The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada.

Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal