James and Eileen Caulfield relax in their residence in Kasson. The couple was married in 1943. Photo by David Richards.
By David Richards
Their marriage has lasted 13 presidents and nearly six dozen Christmases.
Married in 1943, the same year that Silly Putty and the Slinky were invented, James and Eileen Caulfield celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Oct. 14.
As to the secret of their marriage?
"That's a good question," Eileen said softly. "Just getting along I guess. It's been very, very good."
James 91, and Eileen, 89, are longtime Byron residents, although they moved to Kasson in 2012.
James was born in Byron, graduating from Byron High in 1940. Eileen is from Rochester and went to Lourdes.
"It's a nice, friendly community," James said about Byron. "I remember when the town was about six blocks by 10 blocks."
For decades, following the footsteps of his father and grandfather, James was a farmer on his property just across from Oxbow Park off County Road 5, where his daughter Diane Eustice and son in law live now.
He grew field corn and beans and still drives a combine each fall during harvest.
"You're your own boss," he said, when asked what he enjoyed most about farming.
James and Eileen met at a picnic in 1942 and married a year later when James was 21 and Eileen 19.
Their relationship has flourished all these years over movies, card games - "500" to be exact - and Eileen's cooking, especially the tomato gravy James still talks about.
A Caulfield tradition, tomato gravy is made with stewed tomatoes in butter, whipping cream, flour to thicken and then poured over toast.
It's served for breakfast.
"It has to be made with cream," James said. "It's very good."
The Caulfields have six children, 18 grandchildren (one has passed) and 31 great grandchildren and two more on the way.
They both are sports fans, as James held season tickets for University of Minnesota football for five decades and attended, and is a longtime attendee at the annual Minnesota high school boys basketball tournament.
He even went last year, when Byron made it to state for the first time in school history.
"That was pretty nice," he said.
Diane Eustice described her parents as good role models and called their feat of being married for 70 years "unbelievable" and "awesome."
"We got what we needed to get and we learned to save money," Eustice said. "We learned to go to the thrift shop to get clothes, but we had what we needed. "
As far as describing each other, Eileen said James was a hard worker, is very kind and very generous.
Anything else she would like to add?
"I guess not," she said.
James described his wife as a very good mother, good looking and a good cook.
And as for their marriage, Eileen added one more thing.