‘A wild trip’: 65 years of marriage and the Wallaces are still going strong

May 2016 Posted in People
Bettyjean and Lynn Wallace

Bettyjean and Lynn Wallace

By Brenna Wiegand

Lynn and Bettyjean Wallace celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in March.

The two met while attending high school in Santa Monica, Calif., he a handsome football star and she, a baton twirler with “very nice legs.”

“That was one of the main draws,” Lynn said with a grin. “Really, I was fascinated with her. She had class and she was a good girl – with pretty legs.”

“He used to watch me with binoculars,” Bettyjean said. “I did not want to date him. He was a senior and I was a sophomore. He was a little fast and all the girls went after him.”

He was not easily deterred. At the phone company where Bettyjean worked after graduation, Lynn was known to cruise up in his big black Lincoln Zephyr and offer her a ride.

“I’d say ‘No thank you,’” she said, “but he never gave up on me.”

That staying power would serve them well in the years to come.

“From the time we got married it was hard times,” Bettyjean said. “He went off to the Navy. When he’d come home it would only be for two days. He’d come all the way from Bremerton, Wash., to California, hitching a ride all the way to be with me for two days.”

“I was in the service for four years with limited income,” Lynn said. “After I went into the service, it was two years, 9 months and 22 days before I saw her again.”

She wrote him 1-2 letters a day and always sealed them with a lipstick kiss. Lynn’s buddies would try to grab the letters and kiss them before he did.

When Lynn came home, he worked for the Santa Monica Fire Department for 21 years, retiring as chief. Despite the other jobs both took on, time and again they’d get a little ahead, only to lose it all.

“It’s been kind of a wild trip up and down but it makes for good memories,” Bettyjean said.

They raised three boys and a girl and enjoyed watching their boys play football and celebrating family milestones.

A police chief from Oregon recommended the Willamette Valley as a place to retire. The pair found Silverton, where strangers said hello – and where they stumbled upon the Majestic Rose, a spacious hall on Mill Street built in the early 1900s. So much for relaxing – they purchased the hall and got to work restoring its grandeur. They rented it out for functions during the 10 years they owned it.

The two immersed themselves in volunteerism, too. Bettyjean fell in love with Silverton Hospital and for the next 25 years helped out wherever she could. She and Lynn ran the CareVan for a time and when she headed up the hospital auxiliary’s fundraising ball it brought in $35,000 – the most the auxiliary had ever raised in a year. She still makes comfort pillows for surgery patients.

When asked, the two said they wouldn’t presume to give others advice about marriage.

The only thing is that when you get married, Bettyjean said, there’s no going home to mother. You stick it out and make it work.

“…and don’t ever give up,” she added. “Never give up.”

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