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Virus protections keep Easthampton couple apart for 71st anniversary

  • Geraldine and Larry Paquette on their 69th wedding anniversary. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO 

  • Geraldine and Larry Paquette in 1949, the year they were married. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/6/2020 2:06:01 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Geraldine and Larry Paquette marked their 71st wedding anniversary last week, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic they had to do so apart.

“I just love her, ever since she was young,” Larry said. “I trust her completely with everything she does.”

Geraldine is currently at Linda Manor in Leeds, where she went to recover from a bad bout of pneumonia, while Larry is at the residence in Chicopee that he and their son Paul recently moved into. 

Geraldine, 87, grew up in Northampton, while Larry, 90, grew up on a dairy farm in Hancock, New Hampshire.

Larry recalls he was cutting hay for Geraldine’s aunt when he first saw Geraldine get off a bus.

“Someday I’m gonna marry that girl,” Larry recalled telling his mother. “I just loved the way she looked and the way she was.”

When they started seeing each other, he would drive down to Northampton from Hancock, New Hampshire every other week. They married in 1949.

“They eloped when they got married,” said Karen Steiler, one of their daughters.

Their secret for staying married for so long, according to Geraldine: “Fighting, and then making up.”

Larry and Geraldine had seven children together, two of whom died in adulthood. Having the children, Geraldine said, has been the best part of being married.

“We always wanted all of them,” she said.

Because of restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Geraldine cannot have visitors at Linda Manor. As such, she had to celebrate her 87th birthday without her family present on March 26. Before the restriction, Larry said, he visited his wife daily. 

Geraldine said she and her husband normally go out to dinner for their anniversary, and listed Fishtales Bar & Grill and The Delaney House as some favorite destinations.

“I don’t think we’ll be doing anything for a while,” she said.

Still, she said that she and her husband talk on the phone every day.

“They still love each other after all this time,” said Paul Paquette, one of their sons. “I wish them many more years together.”

Another of their daughters, Lisa Krach, said her parents are really good gin rummy players.

“They’re entertaining at the same time when you’re playing with them,” she said. “They’re not dull people.”

She also said that they’re some of the most generous people she knows.

“They have a heart of gold,” Krach said. “They taught me how to be generous and how to love.”

She said her parents always had an extra seat at the table for meals, and would regularly invite people to share food with them. Her mother was an excellent cook, Krach said.

Geraldine is looking to return home to her husband and Paul. However, she needs to secure in-home help first. Geraldine and Larry were looking to sell their house in Easthampton, where they’d lived for three decades when she fell ill in January. When she was in the hospital, that house was successfully sold.

Geraldine said that when she gets to their new home in Chicopee she’ll be looking to unpack boxes.

“We’ve got a lot of things to do,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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