A seventy-one old toaster (and marriage)

It is just a toaster, a Sunbeam T-20 model, which toasts two pieces at a time. Yet, it was purchased and given as a wedding gift in 1949. And, it still works. Two slices of toast are still needed each morning, because Frank and Gloria Witt are still married after seventy-one years.

Per the article by Nicole Brodeur of The Seattle Times called “After 71 years, marriage – and wedding gift – endures,” the 92 year-old Frank and 93 year-old Gloria, are enduring well. A picture accompanying the article reveals Frank, with his World War II Veteran ball cap, and Gloria, and her large smile, placing her head on his shoulder.

They met when Frank ventured to Tacoma after the war to attend college and went to the dentist. Gloria was the dentist’s niece and was working behind the desk. Frank said he made more appointments to find out who she was. Good dental hygiene can be a matchmaker.

Per Brodeur, “It’s not just about a toaster. It’s about marriage, and anything of value. It’s about taking care of something – or someone.” Their son Christopher adds, “‘if you treat something really well, then it will last.'”

Frank added, “‘we try to take care of everything and keep using it. We came from the Depression days. You used everything you could for as long as you could take care of it.'”

Frank said they had only purchased a refrigerator before they got married. Everything else was provided by others. They planned their purchases as well as when they wanted children, five years hence. They ended up with three Victoria (now 66), Christopher (now 62) and Margaret (now 56), but note the spacing in ages, which also looks to be the product of planning.

A vintage Sunbeam toaster like the one they have is worth about $300 today. This one is worth far more than that as a symbol. Yet, my guess is, if it goes before them, they will be practical and just go buy another one.

11 thoughts on “A seventy-one old toaster (and marriage)

  1. If only they made toasters today like they did in 1949! I bet if they do need to replace it, they’ll buy the simplest 2 slot toaster on the market and be quit happy with it.

    • Agreed. Things were built to last. I bought a used bedroom furniture set – dresser, chest of drawers, side tables, frame when I was single in 1983. It had been painted pink for a girl and then brown for a boy over the years. We still have the pieces and use several. Keith

    • VJ, it is. I did not share that neither could remember who gave them the toaster. Yet, it matters not. It is just a real metaphor for taking care of their relationship. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: When my father passed away first, my parents had been married going on two months shy of 57 years. He met my mother at college with a work-study program where students could work off their tuition, room and board. My father was on the lumber crew while my mother worked in the laundry.

    When he died, there were several couples who had also met at this college that remained married and attended his funeral. There were a couple who also fit the bill, but could not travel for health reasons. Relationships are hard work. You get out of them what you put in. These depression era children knew what hard work and maintaining things meant. So, it may be less a surprise their marriages stood the test of time.

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