LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Sixty years have passed since Lester and Betty Breeding got married, and they aren’t surprised.
“Marriage lasts when you are friends with somebody first,” Betty said. “We were not strangers to each other. We were friends, shared the same faith, and were both from a small town.”
Lester’s father was killed in a coal mining accident in Wheelwright, Ky., in 1946. Lester was a freshmen in high school at the time. His family moved to nearby McDowell, Ky., purchasing a small farm from Betty’s father.
“His family knew my uncle. My dad was a merchant; he owned a country store and when people had property for sale, they would sell it to him and he would turn around and sell it to others. In a sense, he was a real estate agent on the side.”
Betty could see the store from her family's house, as it was just across the street. Lester and his family shopped often at the country store. And when he came by, Betty quickly took notice.
“I’d sit on a swing on the front porch,” she said. “I saw him coming. He was so cute.”
The feeling was mutual.
“She was beautiful!” Lester said. “And I liked that she was smart. It didn’t bother me any.”
The trouble was Betty couldn’t date.
“My parents said I couldn’t go in a car on a date. But they liked him because he was a gentleman. They knew I liked him.”
Her parents allowed the two to attend Betty’s senior Prom together. Lester didn’t have a car at the time, so they weren’t really breaking the rules. They walked about half a mile to the prom.
They went on their first "official date” the weekend before Betty went to college.