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Richmond Trainor watching his wife Geraldine playing the piano. Photo by Jeff Woodburn. (click for larger version)
February 15, 2012
BETHLEHEM–It's easy to be in awe of the length of Richmond and Geraldine Trainor's marriage – it has outlasted all others in New England and all but a dozen or so in the country – but it is their love for each other that stands out. Their wordless glances and easy smiles communicate an unspoken connection that seems to keep their nonagenarian bodies relatively healthy and minds sharp as ever.

For 73 years, the Trainors have endured economic depression, wars, and now creeping old age. The two met in 1932 when Richmond was 18 and working at a neighborhood grocery store in Methuen, Mass. and Geraldine, he explained, "said she was 18 but was really 15." After many visits in the store, they went on their first date -- on Easter Sunday to Salisbury Beach. Richmond recalls borrowing the store's old delivery truck and Geraldine putting an Easter egg between her and her eventual suitor so he would not get too close.

They married in 1938 on a Thursday in June so Richmond wouldn't miss a busy Saturday at work. After the ceremony they had a brief reception and went to Boston for the day and were home in their new apartment within eyeshot of Geraldine's parent's home by nightfall. Those were tough times, they admit, but Richmond said, "We always managed to make things do. Between the two of us we made things work."

Being a war bride was the hardest, Geraldine said, "I was very sad and lonesome." They had just had their first child when Richmond went off to war. He missed most of his son's early years, but made up for it when he returned.

Richmond, a high school dropout, got a job in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and worked his way up and eventually taught himself electrical engineering and passed the professional entrance exam and when he retired he was a supervisor with several college-educated engineers working under him. Geraldine tended to their four children and was a church organist for over 50 years. They lived many years in Greenland, then retired to Ontario and finally to Bethlehem to be close to their children.

Last year the Worldwide Marriage Encounter informed the Trainors that they were the state's longest wed couple. They have a long way to go to break the all-time New Hampshire record set by another Greenland couple, Lazarus and Molly Rowe – who were together for 86 years until one died in 1829.

Despite their age they stay very active; 96-year-old Richmond drives, maintains their home, plays golf and surfs the Internet. Although 93-year-old Geraldine is confined to a wheelchair, she still bakes, paints landscapes and hooks rugs. They credit their faith as an important part of their life together.

What advice would they offer young couples? "Play it straight," Richmond said, "be honest, help each other as much as you can and work together."

(This story first appeared in the February issue of New Hampshire Magazine.)

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