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Adams couple celebrates 75th anniversary in timely fashion

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ADAMS — Time is a generous commodity at the Buchanan residence on Doxtater Street.

A visitor tells Archie E. and Barbara E. Buchanan that he hopes not to take up too much of their time.

“You ain’t gotta worry about us,” Mr. Buchanan said. “We’ve got all the time in the world.”

Earlier this month, one of the couple’s daughters mailed a wedding anniversary notice or announcement to the Watertown Daily Times that raised eyebrows. The paper hasn’t published a 75th wedding anniversary notice in at least 25 years. The Times has no record of the Buchanans celebrating another milestone anniversary.

The daughter who mailed in the notice, Sue A. Rudes, who lives next door to her parents, said they have always viewed their anniversaries as just another day.

One bitterly cold morning last week, Mr. Buchanan, 95, was out sweeping a light covering of snow off the ramp to his home when he greeted his guest. He is spry and fit with a sharp mind, able to tell you the day he was hired by Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. and the day he retired from his second job years after his NiMo retirement. He’ll warn you to watch your head on the awning over the ramp as you enter his home.

There, his wife, Barbara E. Buchanan, 92, noted that she is slowed by two broken, and slowly healing, hips. But she is also sharp.

Yet one memory of their relationship is too timeworn to focus in on. The couple was asked how they met.

“We don’t remember,” Mr. Buchanan said, pausing for a few seconds. “No, I don’t remember.”

“It was a long time ago,” Mrs. Buchanan said.

“The only thing I remember is that her grandfather lived down below where we lived,” Mr. Buchanan said. “And whether I met her there, I don’t know.”

What they do know are some specific ingredients of their marriage that made it last.

“We both liked to travel. I think that made a lot of difference,” Mr. Buchanan said.

“We had seven kids,” Mrs. Buchanan said. “We didn’t have much choice, I guess.”

After their children left the house, their travels took them all over the U.S. and Canada.

“We just drove the car,” Mr. Buchanan said. “It was easy to travel back then. Now you can’t travel like that. It’s not safe. Back then, we could park anywhere and sleep in the car or get a motel.”

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Mr. Buchanan, son of the late Myron and Bertha Buchanan, and Barbara Elizabeth Klock, daughter of the late Percy and Alice Klock, were married on Jan. 14, 1938, in Three Mile Bay at the home of minister Howard Warner, a friend of Mr. Buchanan, who officiated. Years later, they would reaffirm their vows at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Watertown.

They didn’t take a honeymoon.

“We didn’t have any money,” Mr. Buchanan said, noting they were wed during the Great Depression. “It was tough then.”

They dated for about a year before they got married.

Both of them grew up on farms.

Mr. Buchanan grew up in Three Mile Bay. He attended school until the sixth grade at a “little school on the road that goes to Point Peninsula.” Then he went to Three Mile Bay Union School.

“I had no way to get down there in the wintertime, so I got out of school at the eighth grade,” he said.

He was hired by a farmer on the road to Point Peninsula.

“In 1936, Niagara Mohawk came down through there and hired a bunch of people to build a line to Point Peninsula,” Mr. Buchanan said. “I got on with them on Nov. 8, 1936.”

His job was to dig holes for utility poles. No auger was used and the 6-foot-deep holes were dug year-round, even in winter.

“It was a good job,” Mr. Buchanan said. “Hard work, but a good job.”

After Mrs. Buchanan’s father was laid off at a mill in Brownville when she was about 6 years old, her family moved to Cape Vincent, where her father bought a dairy farm. She helped with chores.

Mrs. Buchanan attended a country school in Cape Vincent and graduated from Cape Vincent High School in 1936 where she was class valedictorian. After her marriage, she became a housewife and a stay-at-home mother to their three daughters and four sons.

After Mr. Buchanan was hired by NiMo, the couple moved to the Dry Hill Road in Watertown, where they lived for decades. Mr. Buchanan retired from NiMo, where he was had been a lineman, foreman and a supervisor, on Jan. 1, 1977.

The couple then moved to Florida.

“We stayed there one year, decided we didn’t like it, and came back to Watertown,” Mr. Buchanan said.

They then moved to Park Street in Adams, where they lived until about 30 years ago when they moved to Doxtater Street to be near daughter Sue A. Rudes and her husband, Kenneth.

Mr. Buchanan then found an opportunity at Dobbins Auto Parts in Adams as a driver/errand runner.

He retired from Dobbins on Nov. 8, 2002, when he turned 85, after 20 years on the job.

“I started to lose my balance, so I wanted to quit,” Mr. Buchanan said. “I also got blurred vision. I can’t see good.”

The couple celebrated the day of their 75th wedding anniversary quietly at home with cake and ice cream.

Each was asked what makes their spouse a good life partner.

“She likes doing the things I like to do,” Mr. Buchanan said. “Traveling was great. I was a traveler. I could always go.”

“He’s always helping me,” Mrs. Buchanan said. “He always did — and still is.”

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