Dick and Gert Mostert said neither one of them remembers their first Valentine’s Day together, which was more than six decades ago, but they said it most likely included a trip to the Delhi movie theater.
“We used to go every time the movie changed,” Dick Mostert said, “which was three times a week.”
Dick, 81, and Gert, 79, of Delhi, will celebrate 60 years of marriage in March, the couple said Wednesday. And although the years have brought new challenges for them and things are different now than when they were first married, Gert said, they are still in it for the long haul.
“I have M.S. and have to be in a wheelchair,” Gert said, “and Dick has Parkinson’s. But we manage. We help each other.”
“We have moments where we test each other, but we’ve always been very compatible,” Dick said. “We have similar interests, but if we ever didn’t, that was fine. If one of us wanted to see one movie and the other wanted to see a different one, we would. We learned to bend a little for each other.”
The last few years, Gert said, this has included actual physical bending. Dick lifts her up and out of her wheelchair whenever necessary, she said, and she gets Dick’s medicine ready each morning and helps him get dressed.
Dick, a lifelong resident of Delhi, said he first met Gert after she moved to Delhi from Andes in the sixth grade. Gert said she and Dick dated “a little” in high school, where they were one year apart, but it wasn’t until Gert started college at SUNY Delhi that the two became an item. Dick was working on his family farm at the time, he said.
“She was good looking and we laughed at each other’s jokes,” Dick said. “You can’t get much better than that.”
Gert and Dick were married in March of 1954 at the First Presbyterian Church in Delhi, Gert said, where they are still members. After their first child, Gordon, was born, Dick joined the Air Force and the family relocated to California. There, Gert said, they made many friends and had their second son, Terry.
In 1958, the couple moved back to Delhi and into the house where they still live, Gert recalled. Dick began work as the superintendent of buildings and grounds at Delaware Academy, a position he held for 33 years, and Gert worked as a secretary at O’Connor Hospital for 25 years, she said. Soon, Gert gave birth to their daughter, Cindy, and the rest, she said, is history.
“We wanted to have a family, and we were very fortunate to get good jobs,” Gert said, “so everything turned out like we had hoped.”
Over the years, Gert said, the couple frequently traveled and enjoyed visiting the many friends they made while in California, who were then spread across the country. Because of her multiple sclerosis, Gert said, the couple can no longer travel, even to their Delhi church, where they attended services for years.
According to Dick, the couple’s compatibility and flexibility have helped their marriage continue to be successful after all this time. The simple things sometimes matter most, he said.
“She cooks my meals and takes good care of me,” Dick said.
“We care deeply for each other and for our family, and just never cared to have it any other way,” Gert said. “It seems like couples aren’t like that anymore.”
For past Valentine’s Days, Dick and Gert often gave each other presents and cards, Gert said, and also gave gifts to their children.
“We would put their gifts on their chairs at the dinner table and they would peek and peek,” Gert said, “trying to see what they were.”
So how does a couple celebrate Valentine’s Day after almost 60 years? The same as always, Gert and Dick said: With an emphasis on family.
“One of our sons will be here, and maybe our daughter,” Dick said, “so we will have dinner together.”
Gert and Dick said they have five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, who they see semi-regularly, depending on the time of year and location of their families.
When asked if they had any advice for young couples this Valentine’s Day, Gert and Dick said to persevere, no matter what.
“Love one another and your family,” Gert said. “And don’t ever let anything interfere with that.”