‘My Forever Valentine’

Yukon couples share keys to marital longevity

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Marvin and Charlotte Novak, married for 65 years

By Cara Pattison
Contributing Writer

Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day – and every day – for couples that have been married many years.

Several Yukon couples prove that marital longevity isn’t necessarily based on flowers and expensive dinners, but more on the simpler things in life – like chicken and potatoes?

After 65 years of marriage, Charlotte and Marvin Novak spent their Valentine’s Day “sitting in the living room doing nothing.”

“I’m making chicken breasts and baked potatoes for dinner. That’s really exciting, isn’t it? I think we’ve made it this long by trusting in each other and putting up with each other’s eccentricities.”

Leon and Betty Corn, married for 56 years

Another local couple, Leon and Betty Corn, celebrated 56 years of marriage last year. They spent this Valentine’s Day at home, Betty said.

“After COVID hit, I have to be honest and say that we have gotten comfortable not going places. Leon spent the evening in his recliner and I’m in my chair. We are having a dinner of chicken, baked potatoes, and Caesar salad while watching television. We are comfortable doing what we do.

“I’m not big on cards and flowers. He got in trouble a few years ago when he got me some fancy jewelry. I took it back and the owner of the jewelry store said ‘after this year we are requiring husbands to get a permission slip to buy jewelry’ due to all the wives returning jewelry.”

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Ted and Janet Lee, married for 53 years

For the Lee family, humor has “kept things interesting” for 53 years, Janet said.

“One year, my husband Ted waited until the last minute to get me a card. He ran up to Hyde Drug on Valentine’s Day and saw that the card selection was slim. So, he got me a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day to my aunt’ card, crossed out aunt, and wrote in ‘wife.’ It was a Valentine’s Day to remember.”

“Ted did buy me a card early this year, though!” Janet laughed. “He propped it up next to the coffee pot this morning. I saw it when I was pouring my coffee. He gave me some money, too. Ted knows the way to my heart.”

While the Lee’s didn’t have chicken for dinner (it was pot roast with their adult children), Janet said the key to their 53 years of marriage is mutual respect.

“We depend on each other. More now that we did when we were young.”

Blaine and Lugina Jernigan, married for 28 years

Across town, another long-standing couple, Lugina and Blaine Jernigan, believe that their stubbornness has kept them together for 28 years.

“We are both very stubborn; nobody gives up on anything and nobody is getting out,” she laughed.

“Valentine’s Day is his birthday. We were going to go eat at a local restaurant, but they’re closed on Mondays. So, it’s a family pizza Valentine’s Birthday night over here.”

So, whether it be trust, humor, or mere stubbornness that keeps couples together for the long-haul, it appears that all Valentine’s Days are special in their own way – especially, it seems, with dinner at home.

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