There’s nothing more awe-inspiring for the romantic at heart than a marriage that lasts the test of time.
When a couple is so at peace with one another that being in their presence is not only calming, but one gets the sense that even with all the angst in the world, everything will be OK in the end.
Edouard and Mimi Lavoie are that couple. Their love has endured hardships that the world has thrown at them, and as they prepare to celebrate their 70th anniversary this week, the love they share shines every time they talk to one another or recount their lives raising their beautiful family.
“Live every day and know that God is always there to help you along,” says Mimi about the secret to a long and happy marriage.
“Love each other and always make sure to say I’m sorry and learn to forgive,” she adds.
The couple married 70 years ago on Sept. 21, 1953, and like many relationships in that decade, it had a very innocent and beautiful start.
“I was his sister’s best friend right up until she passed away a couple of years ago,” explains Mimi on how she met Edouard. “We went to rosary every night in McLennan and one day he asked if I wanted to go to the movies in High Prairie.”
Mimi explains they had to be chaperoned by Uncle Hector and Auntie Leona on their first date, and their love grew very quickly as they continued their courtship. That first date in 1951 turned out to be the spark needed to start a friendship and love that would grow into a sacred bond that could withstand the trials and tribulations of life.
“We went to a picnic in Jean Cote in 1952 and on the way home he asked if I wanted to get married,” says Mimi, who explains that when she told her mom, her mom asked her to wait for a little while.
So, Edouard and Mimi did wait for a year and allowed their friendship and love to grow.
“When we got married, we built a little house on dad’s property,” says Mimi, adding they stayed there for just over a decade, welcoming the first eight of nine babies into their family.
Mimi remembers when they first moved to their own farm on July 26, 1962, with all but their youngest daughter born.
“We moved into our one-bedroom, one-bathroom home that at first had no power and no water,” says Mimi, saying that the eight children (at the time) and two parents were quite comfortable in their small home.
We lived in there until we built this home in 1969.”
She says their children had a lot of fun, even making an outbuilding their ‘sleepover’ haven in the summertime, a memory their children still talk about today. The couple says their family has been an absolute blessing for them, with eight beautiful daughters and one handsome son.
Edouard was a truck driver, often having to leave his large family to make a living. Mimi says in those days the kids all had to take on jobs to help around the house, with tasks written on little pieces of paper that the children were able to choose from. Mimi explains that when she wanted her walls or floors washed, she’d first have a water fight with the kids in the house, adding a little fun before work had to be completed.
Their children, all now grown with children and grandchildren of their own, all still are very close and retain a family group chat to keep in contact, a true attestation to the value of family their parents instilled in them.
“The best part of our lives was raising our children,” says Edouard, who proudly reflects on all the time spent with their children at the farm.
“Of all the memories we have, our time with our family is our favourite. And all the family still gets along,” he adds.
The couple proudly says their nine children have now added 25 grandchildren and 56 great-grandchildren and eight sons-in-law to their family.
Edouard and Mimi say this year has been a major milestone for them, with Edouard celebrating his 90th birthday, the family hosting its 25th annual Lavoie family Campout, and now them celebrating their 70th anniversary. Mimi says that the water fights that were so lovingly started in their home has now become a family ritual at their annual family campouts, a tradition she hopes the future generations carry on.
“I don’t think that I would change anything,” says Mimi about their marriage and life together. “The only thing I wish is that Edouard wouldn’t have had to work away from us.”
The couple, who still lives in their own home and are the epitome of health and vigour in senior years, has a beautiful outlook on life and their happiness is contagious when one sits with them. They say the key to vitality and health is to stay active and to do as much as one’s body will allow.
Edouard, Mimi, and their children would like to welcome the public to help their mom and dad celebrate their 70th anniversary this weekend. An open house will be held Sept. 24 at the Golden Age Club from 1-4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to help Mimi and Edouard celebrate their beautiful marriage and partner- ship.