Seventy years of laughter and joy

SIDNEY — It was by chance, and perhaps luck, that Murray Elsass and the former Janet Myers met at Edgewater Park in Celina in April 1950. American bandleader Ted Weems was performing big band music and Janet had gone out with one of her friends that night when they happened to cross paths with Murray and one of his friends.

“My girlfriend and I went to this ballroom and we met him and his friend. We danced, and he asked to come and see me, and I gave him the address to where I lived. He was late coming. I thought he wasn’t coming, but he did, for a date to another dance,” Janet said. “That was many years ago, and that was how we entertained, by going to dances.”

The couple continued to date, and it was at a drive-in theater in Janet’s hometown of Greenville where Murray proposed.

“He proposed in the car, and I said, ‘Well, I have to think about that.’ I didn’t have to think very long,” Janet said.

It was a short courtship, and Janet and Murray were wed on Sept. 9, 1970. Janet remembers the day being a nice one. The ceremony was held at Christian Church in Greenville, and the Rev. Thomas officiated the ceremony. Janet’s brother, the late Gale Myers, was Murray’s best man, and her best friend Helen Pierce was her maid of honor.

“A lot of gals had wedding gowns, but I elected to just have a suit,” Janet said. “It was a small wedding and a small reception, and my father gave me away reluctantly, I think — I don’t know that for sure. But it’s been a successful marriage, and we’ve had successful experiences.”

At the time, Janet was a beautician and worked as one until the ‘70s, maintaining her own shop in her home. Her work paused for two years when Murray was drafted for the Korean War, and she elected to travel with him.

“We rented houses, of course, and had a baby out in Arizona, and we had some friends that we made, and it was a nice experience. We were poor, of course, like many military families, but that didn’t matter because everyone else was the same,” Janet said.

Over the years, Janet and Murray became the parents of three daughters: Mona Glover, of Cincinnati, Melissa Brandewie, of Troy, and Melanie Smith, of Troy. They have seven grandchildren: Mark Glover, of Cincinnati; Meredith and Ben Fuller, of Thornton, Col.; Julia and Jason Dandurand, of North Pole, Alaska; Tony Meyer and Gurpreet Chacha, of Columbia, S.C.; Andrew and Katie Brandewie, of Sidney; Jennifer and Anthony Cooper, of Scott’s Airforce, Ill.; and Carolina Smith, of Denver, Colo. They have seven great-grandchildren.

“It’s been an interesting life,” Janet said. “We would have cookouts at that time, too, with friends and neighbors. We always communicated with other people. It wasn’t fabulous, but it was fun. We always had other people in our lives.”

When it comes to the secret of a long-lasting relationship, Janet thinks that laughter is the most important thing.

“You have to laugh a lot. You have to laugh a lot, because you can’t live with discontentment in your life. You have to overcome that, if you have it,” Janet said.