February 22, 2012 - It was love at first sight for Jerry Olson, seeing Margaret, his future wife for the first time in 1959.
Jerry and Margaret Olson toast the renewal of their wedding vows at Clarkston Specialty Healthcare Center’s Valentine's Day Love Is In The Air celebration. Photo provided (click for larger version)
"She was extremely attractive, very well put together," said Jerry, describing their first meeting at a college dance in St. Paul, Minn. "She knocked me off my feet. Me, I was handsome, and funny."
"He's still funny," Margaret Olson said.
The Olsons joined William and Sandra French, Larry and Bonnie Larson, and Joseph and Gloria Cudejko in a Valentine's Day Love Is In The Air celebration at Clarkston Specialty Healthcare Center in Independence Township.
The event included a marriage renewal ceremony performed by Reverend Darrel Smith, music, and refreshments.
"It was a really nice ceremony," Jerry said. "This is a very caring place."
Margaret, who suffered an aneurism in 2009, is a resident of the facility. Jerry, who lives in Clawson, spends about 3-4 hours a day with her.
"I don't want her to feel alone," he said.
This is Clarkston Specialty Healthcare's first wedding vow renewal ceremony, said Cameo Nickerson, ADC.
"I wanted to do something different this year because we usually have a dance on Valentine's Day," Nickerson said. "I wanted to do something to honor the couples at our facility that to me are a perfect example of what true love is. Watching them visit and do so much for their spouses daily is so touching and I wanted to celebrate that."
The Olsons certainly qualify. They married and moved to Michigan in 1963, raising three children, Charlie, Kristen, and Paul.
"I'm ready for another 50 years," Jerry said. "In those days, people paid attention to their wedding vows. We've had our ups and downs, but we love each other very much."
Asked for advice for couples today, Jerry suggested getting to know each other before making big decisions.
"Try to be pretty sure about your prospective spouse before you get married," he said. "If you're waffling, have children and then break up, the children are the ones who suffer. They didn't sign up for that. Be as sure as you can."
Also, don't think marrying someone will change them, he said.
"That doesn't work – I'm still the same idiot you married," he said to Margaret.
"I know that," she said.
The center created a wedding chapel and reception hall atmosphere and filled the hall with family and friends.
"I wanted it to look like a true wedding ceremony and reception so they would feel like they stepped outside of our building and into another environment," she said. "I wanted everyone who attended to feel special and have a great time, which I believe they had. They are still talking about it. I really want to thank my staff, Bea, Brandon, and Monique – I appreciate the hard work they did that day and everyday."
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.