Saturday, October 13, 2007

Love story: Mary and Harvey Ritland

Christina Harper

Mary Otteni went on a blind date in December 1962 to a friend's party.

Her parents hadn't let Mary date until she was 16, and she'd just had her birthday in November.

Mary had already seen a photo of Harvey Ritland, the boy she was being fixed up with. Her girlfriend was dating Harvey's best friend.

Harvey remembers his friend giving him some advice before he met Mary.

"He said, 'Now Harvey. She's a Christian girl. You behave yourself,' " Harvey said. "And I did."
Mary's first thought when she saw Harvey was that he was tall.

"I'm 5-foot-4 and he's 6-foot-2," Mary said. "He was quiet and nice. We hit it off pretty good."
Harvey thought Mary was very pretty.

"I thought, 'Wow,' " Harvey said.

The couple dated off and on through their years at Cascade High School in Everett. After graduation in 1965, they lost touch. Mary became a beautician. Harvey became a plumber.

Then on her 20th birthday, Mary got a card from Harvey with a nice, little note. She wrote a thank-you note. He called. Mary and Harvey connected again and soon were engaged.

Mary and Harvey Ritland of Everett celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a trip to Las Vegas. They hadn't been there since the first year they were married.

The couple exchanged vows Sept. 23, 1967, at the First Congregational Church of Everett.

Mary went on to work for GTE, later renamed Verizon. She retired in 2003. Harvey went from plumbing and pipe­fitting to the Boeing Co. He has been there for 20 years.

They have two sons.

Mary and Harvey enjoy camping, boating, fishing and motorcycling and are members of the Gold Wing Touring Association. They respect each other, are best friends and have fun together.

They don't go to bed without a kiss or telling each other, "I love you."

God and family are always close to their hearts, they said.

The couple said they are thankful that they have each other and are thankful for their friends who set up their blind date. They continue to keep in touch with Larry Grimes and Judy (Sand) Minor.

Mary describes Harvey as kind and always thinking about the other's feelings.

"He's a very, very friendly man. Easy to talk to," Mary said. "He's a good man. A good father and husband."

The couple have never had a fight. Instead, they discuss issues.

"Nothing is that big that you can't resolve it," Mary said.

Harvey respects Mary's opinion. They are both included in all that they do, from camping to motorcycling.

Harvey says that when the flooding of the heart and the bubbly feeling of romance is gone, then couples are faced with getting on with everyday life. He says that couples have to enjoy being with each other and doing the same things.

"She's my friend and my confidante," Harvey said.

No comments: