Blacks mark 75th year

How does someone manage 75 years of marriage to the same person?

“You take the bad with the good,” according to Lena Black, who married William Black on March 10, 1939.

“I lived in Youngsville for 14 years before I moved up to the old Day farm, up on Matthews Run.” Lena said she lived there as well after they married.

“Every Sunday, my mother made cornmeal mush and Johnny cakes. I always liked it, but my kids wanted to carry me off,” Bill said.

In 1942 they bought their own farm off Matthews Run Road where they raised dairy cows and crops.

Lena, whose maiden name was Head, said she grew up in Saybrook and went to school in Sheffield. After she graduated the eighth grade, her father moved the family to Lander.

She said that when she first met Bill, he didn’t have too much to say to her, but after a while they found themselves together all the time, and eight months later, they were married. She was 15 and he was 19. “They said we were crazy kids,” she added.

Bill said that for the first ten years he worked at the Youngsville brickyard, as well as the farm. Lena added that they had 100 head of cattle, and milked about 65 of them.

He also said that he was known in Youngsville for breaking a Jersey bull to drive and ride, adding that Jerseys were “the meanest bulls.”

Lena said they had four kids under the age of 4 when Bill broke his back falling off the barn.

“His brother and I did the milking, and his sister came over from Corry to help with the kids on weekends,” she said. “We didn’t have indoor plumbing or running water, and had to carry water from the milkhouse.”

Eventually, they had six kids, Bill Jr., James, Beverly (Repine), Diana (Ritcher), Fred, and Sandra (Anderson). One child died at the age of five months.

“We always had a gang of kids around, we always knew where everybodys’ kids were. They would play ball in the field next to our house.”

She said they finally moved into a trailer in 1975, but that it burned on February 26, 1976. Their second trailer burned in March 1984.

Bill retired from Carborundum, in Falconer, N.Y., and Lena retired from Warren State Hospital in 1985. He said, “I never dreamed that I would get to be 94.”

Today, they have 14 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great- grandchild.

They moved together to the Rouse Estate in 2008.