Andy and Joan Schmidt: Valentines for 60 years
It was just 10 days before Valentine’s Day this year when he handed her a Valentine’s Day heart candy that had the imprinted words “U R A Star.” In the past 60 years, he has given her flowers, candy and, of course, always a card.
“I remember in 1960, he delivered flowers to me in the hospital. They were tulips,” Joan Schmidt said. “My sister and I each had our babies on Feb. 16, 1960, and we were in the hospital together.”
As of Feb. 11, 2013, Andy and Joan Schmidt of Braddock have been married for 57 years. They dated for a few years before their marriage, and have shared at least 60 years of Valentine’s Day holidays together.
Andy and Joan grew up in the Braddock area. Andy, the son of Mike and Genevieve Schmidt, spent the first nine years of his childhood near Kintyre. Joan’s parents were Hubert and Louise Baker. They have known each other for many years as their families attended the same church and community activities.
“He was such a good dancer,” Joan said.
Their first official date was attending a concert in Strasburg. Andy picked up Joan in his 1948 IH Pickup. T. Texas Tyler, a country music performer, was the entertainer for the evening.
“Our first date must have gone well, because we kept going,” Andy said.
Joan said he was such a gentleman, and that was one of the qualities that attracted her to him. She said he always looked nice and was so pleasant.
“I enjoyed spending time with him because he was so nice,” Joan said.
“She was a real lady, pretty good looking, too, and talkative,” Andy said.
Joan said it was a good thing she was talkative as Andy was very bashful.
She also admired Andy’s skill at baseball. In 1949, at age 15, Andy began playing baseball with the Braddock Midget League and was active in baseball through 1976. He coached Babe Ruth, Midget and Pee Wee baseball, plus women’s softball in Braddock for decades. For his accomplishments he was inducted into the North Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.
They agree their years together have been wonderful and have gone by so quickly.
They have raised nine children—MaryAnn, David, Kathleen, Daniel, Laura, Nora, Andrea, Darren and Nadine.
“Back then, I always dreaded the fact when the kids would be gone after they graduated from high school,” Joan said.
However, neither Joan or Andy said they experienced the “Empty Nest” syndrome.
“We talk much more to each other now,” Joan said. “When the kids were around, life evolved around them.”
Andy and Joan said that raising their family has been the most fulfilling for them during their 57 years together.
“We enjoyed raising our kids, and we followed them to all of their events, particularly their sporting events,” Joan said.
They did not seem to find a lot of spare time to share their evenings together while they were raising their children, but Joan did recall a few years ago, she did something special for a romantic evening celebrating their anniversary.
“I cooked his favorite meal, lit candles and poured some wine,” she said. “When he came home from work, he was quite surprised.”
Andy said he appreciated the many fine meals that Joan has prepared, and said it is important to show appreciation for your spouse.
“Say ‘good morning’ to each other every morning, ask how she is feeling today, every day,” he said.
How does a couple manage to stay together for nearly 60 years?
“If you disagree with each other, talk about it, and make sure you are not always thinking you are right,” Andy said.
Joan said it is important to recognize there are ups and downs in marriage and raising a family.
“Don’t go into marriage thinking everything will be perfect,” Joan advised. “And don’t walk out when it is not.”
They both suggested looking over your spouse’s small bad habits. Joan reported Andy’s bad habit is hanging up his coat on the kitchen chair instead of in the closet. Andy said his wife’s worst habit is taking too long to get ready when they’re going somewhere.
Andy and Joan keep quite busy in their community. They are active in the Braddock Senior Citizens and in their church. Joan has been the Braddock News Correspondent for the Emmons County Record for nearly 60 years. She retired from the Braddock Post Office in 2003 where she was employed for 40 years. They owned a grocery store in Braddock from 1982 through 1992.Andy has worked at the Farmers Elevator in Kintyre and Braddock, as a janitor at Braddock School and was a bus driver, and still drives bus for the Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock School.
The Schmidts see their family quite often and enjoy spending time with their 23 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.