Waterdown couple celebrate 70 years of making a life together

Community Jun 23, 2017 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

A married couple living at Village Manor in Waterdown recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary — the first the retirement home ever had — and when staff broached them with the idea of a party, the couple agreed … with trepidation.

“If you want to do it, fine, but we don’t know whether we’ll be here,” said Ilean Keller, wife to Jay since 1947.

“It’s something that’s uppermost in your mind at this age.”

The afternoon garden party was held on their anniversary date on a bright, sunny June 7, and according to the Kellers, it was a lovely affair.

The happy couple were asked to be fashionably late and when they arrived, they walked out to their special table in style on a red carpet. Wine was poured in oversized glasses, balloons were hung up, Ilean’s wedding dress was on display and live entertainment gave it that extra flair.

“It was very nice.”

Their love story is one for the ages and it began in a somewhat unusual place. The year was 1940 and a then 14-year-old Ilean went for a bicycle ride with a friend of hers who was a long distance operator with the Bell Telephone Company of Canada in Burlington. Her friend asked if she would like to meet someone. It was then that she first saw him — up a telephone pole.

“He was telling jokes to another operator. He came down, I didn’t care for him very much but I couldn’t forget him.”

That first meeting was in the spring and she didn’t see him again until Christmas, when the young man four years her senior told her he was joining the army and asked if she would write to him.

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll be different than the others.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you write a letter and see if you get an answer,’” she said laughing.

“I wasn’t going to be the one to chase him; let the others do that.”

Her strategy worked. The young soldier wrote the first letter and she replied and kept replying all throughout his service. Their correspondence at times was humorous and Jay had told her he missed drinking Coca-Cola. Ilean packed two bottles of Coke, sealing the ends with tape, and then dumped a bag of sawdust into the box and shipped it off via Canada Post, explaining that they were cookies.

“He got them, he got the Cokes, so I said that’s why he’s stuck with me, because I was the only one dumb enough to send Cokes,” she said laughing, adding that the girl at the post office had asked what kind of cookies would be so heavy.

After two years overseas, Jay returned and began to court Ilean over a period of two years.

“We went to ball games and went out to shows and things,” she said, noting that was how things were done in those days.

“You didn’t just pick up with anybody, you got to know them first.”

Once they married, they moved to a small place in Ancaster and stayed for about five years before moving into their permanent home that they built themselves off of Parkside Drive in Waterdown. They lived there for more than 60 years.

Jay, who had a seizure a couple of years ago, lost much of his memory and doesn’t remember their life together. He needs Ilean to recount tales from their life together. He says they are lucky to have made it this far.

“It’s been a good life,” he said.

“We had a good time, he helped me inside, I helped him outside, we had a lot of fun,” Ilean added, noting that one of their nightly rituals was washing and drying the dishes together.

The Kellers had three children — all of whom had chores — and everyone worked together to make their family work.

Now 91 and 95 respectively, Ilean and Jay are happy and comfortable at Village Manor, which they have called home since Jay had his seizure.

“They (the staff) are excellent with the people, you couldn’t ask for a better place,” Jay said, adding that there is always something fun going on.

As part of the couple’s anniversary celebrations, they were given an extra special card that broke down what 70 years looks like in lifetime moments and it didn’t disappoint.

Seventy years translates into 840 months, 3,650 weeks of laughter and 25,550 days of patience.

Those are the Kellers' seasons of love.

Waterdown couple celebrate 70 years of making a life together

Community Jun 23, 2017 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

A married couple living at Village Manor in Waterdown recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary — the first the retirement home ever had — and when staff broached them with the idea of a party, the couple agreed … with trepidation.

“If you want to do it, fine, but we don’t know whether we’ll be here,” said Ilean Keller, wife to Jay since 1947.

“It’s something that’s uppermost in your mind at this age.”

The afternoon garden party was held on their anniversary date on a bright, sunny June 7, and according to the Kellers, it was a lovely affair.

The happy couple were asked to be fashionably late and when they arrived, they walked out to their special table in style on a red carpet. Wine was poured in oversized glasses, balloons were hung up, Ilean’s wedding dress was on display and live entertainment gave it that extra flair.

“It was very nice.”

Their love story is one for the ages and it began in a somewhat unusual place. The year was 1940 and a then 14-year-old Ilean went for a bicycle ride with a friend of hers who was a long distance operator with the Bell Telephone Company of Canada in Burlington. Her friend asked if she would like to meet someone. It was then that she first saw him — up a telephone pole.

“He was telling jokes to another operator. He came down, I didn’t care for him very much but I couldn’t forget him.”

That first meeting was in the spring and she didn’t see him again until Christmas, when the young man four years her senior told her he was joining the army and asked if she would write to him.

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll be different than the others.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you write a letter and see if you get an answer,’” she said laughing.

“I wasn’t going to be the one to chase him; let the others do that.”

Her strategy worked. The young soldier wrote the first letter and she replied and kept replying all throughout his service. Their correspondence at times was humorous and Jay had told her he missed drinking Coca-Cola. Ilean packed two bottles of Coke, sealing the ends with tape, and then dumped a bag of sawdust into the box and shipped it off via Canada Post, explaining that they were cookies.

“He got them, he got the Cokes, so I said that’s why he’s stuck with me, because I was the only one dumb enough to send Cokes,” she said laughing, adding that the girl at the post office had asked what kind of cookies would be so heavy.

After two years overseas, Jay returned and began to court Ilean over a period of two years.

“We went to ball games and went out to shows and things,” she said, noting that was how things were done in those days.

“You didn’t just pick up with anybody, you got to know them first.”

Once they married, they moved to a small place in Ancaster and stayed for about five years before moving into their permanent home that they built themselves off of Parkside Drive in Waterdown. They lived there for more than 60 years.

Jay, who had a seizure a couple of years ago, lost much of his memory and doesn’t remember their life together. He needs Ilean to recount tales from their life together. He says they are lucky to have made it this far.

“It’s been a good life,” he said.

“We had a good time, he helped me inside, I helped him outside, we had a lot of fun,” Ilean added, noting that one of their nightly rituals was washing and drying the dishes together.

The Kellers had three children — all of whom had chores — and everyone worked together to make their family work.

Now 91 and 95 respectively, Ilean and Jay are happy and comfortable at Village Manor, which they have called home since Jay had his seizure.

“They (the staff) are excellent with the people, you couldn’t ask for a better place,” Jay said, adding that there is always something fun going on.

As part of the couple’s anniversary celebrations, they were given an extra special card that broke down what 70 years looks like in lifetime moments and it didn’t disappoint.

Seventy years translates into 840 months, 3,650 weeks of laughter and 25,550 days of patience.

Those are the Kellers' seasons of love.

Waterdown couple celebrate 70 years of making a life together

Community Jun 23, 2017 by Julia Lovett-Squires Flamborough Review

A married couple living at Village Manor in Waterdown recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary — the first the retirement home ever had — and when staff broached them with the idea of a party, the couple agreed … with trepidation.

“If you want to do it, fine, but we don’t know whether we’ll be here,” said Ilean Keller, wife to Jay since 1947.

“It’s something that’s uppermost in your mind at this age.”

The afternoon garden party was held on their anniversary date on a bright, sunny June 7, and according to the Kellers, it was a lovely affair.

The happy couple were asked to be fashionably late and when they arrived, they walked out to their special table in style on a red carpet. Wine was poured in oversized glasses, balloons were hung up, Ilean’s wedding dress was on display and live entertainment gave it that extra flair.

“It was very nice.”

Their love story is one for the ages and it began in a somewhat unusual place. The year was 1940 and a then 14-year-old Ilean went for a bicycle ride with a friend of hers who was a long distance operator with the Bell Telephone Company of Canada in Burlington. Her friend asked if she would like to meet someone. It was then that she first saw him — up a telephone pole.

“He was telling jokes to another operator. He came down, I didn’t care for him very much but I couldn’t forget him.”

That first meeting was in the spring and she didn’t see him again until Christmas, when the young man four years her senior told her he was joining the army and asked if she would write to him.

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll be different than the others.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you write a letter and see if you get an answer,’” she said laughing.

“I wasn’t going to be the one to chase him; let the others do that.”

Her strategy worked. The young soldier wrote the first letter and she replied and kept replying all throughout his service. Their correspondence at times was humorous and Jay had told her he missed drinking Coca-Cola. Ilean packed two bottles of Coke, sealing the ends with tape, and then dumped a bag of sawdust into the box and shipped it off via Canada Post, explaining that they were cookies.

“He got them, he got the Cokes, so I said that’s why he’s stuck with me, because I was the only one dumb enough to send Cokes,” she said laughing, adding that the girl at the post office had asked what kind of cookies would be so heavy.

After two years overseas, Jay returned and began to court Ilean over a period of two years.

“We went to ball games and went out to shows and things,” she said, noting that was how things were done in those days.

“You didn’t just pick up with anybody, you got to know them first.”

Once they married, they moved to a small place in Ancaster and stayed for about five years before moving into their permanent home that they built themselves off of Parkside Drive in Waterdown. They lived there for more than 60 years.

Jay, who had a seizure a couple of years ago, lost much of his memory and doesn’t remember their life together. He needs Ilean to recount tales from their life together. He says they are lucky to have made it this far.

“It’s been a good life,” he said.

“We had a good time, he helped me inside, I helped him outside, we had a lot of fun,” Ilean added, noting that one of their nightly rituals was washing and drying the dishes together.

The Kellers had three children — all of whom had chores — and everyone worked together to make their family work.

Now 91 and 95 respectively, Ilean and Jay are happy and comfortable at Village Manor, which they have called home since Jay had his seizure.

“They (the staff) are excellent with the people, you couldn’t ask for a better place,” Jay said, adding that there is always something fun going on.

As part of the couple’s anniversary celebrations, they were given an extra special card that broke down what 70 years looks like in lifetime moments and it didn’t disappoint.

Seventy years translates into 840 months, 3,650 weeks of laughter and 25,550 days of patience.

Those are the Kellers' seasons of love.