Carroll and Mavis Scudder will celebrate 66th anniversary on Christmas Eve

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Christmas is always a special time of the year, but for Carroll and Mavis Scudder of near Fairview, it is also a time when they reflect on their time together as man and wife.

This Sunday the Scudders will celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary.

Carroll Scudder was born and raised on Bethel Ridge, the son of Edwin and Olive Scudder. He had four brothers: Earl Edwin, Reynold, Leland, and John; and two sisters: Elizabeth and Bonnie.

Edwin Scudder was a farmer, and Carroll grew up helping with the farm chores and learning the value of hard work.

Mavis Cole was born on Drake’s Ridge near Fairview, the daughter of Harvey and Nellie Cole. When she was 12 the family moved to a home on Fairview Road after Harvey Cole purchased an adjoining farm; and she was one of 13 children: brothers Alvin, Raymond, Dilver, Hilbert, Emerson, and Wilford; and sisters: Hazel, Arlena, Goldie, Pearl, and Leo. A brother, Donald Wayne, died when he was six months old.

Mavis Cole was an accomplished athlete, pitching on the local softball team and excelling in basketball in junior high school. When she entered Vevay High School in the fall of 1935, she became a member of the first girls basketball team in school history.

“Basketball was a lot different back then,” Mavis Scudder remembers. “The court was divided into three sections and you couldn’t leave your section. The guards were on one end, and they guarded the basket; while the center stayed in the middle and had the jump balls. The forwards were on the other end, and they were the ones who scored the points.”

Mavis Scudder was a forward – and a good one, as a package of old Vevay High School athletic awards attests to.

It was basketball that brought the Scudders together.

“I had been spying her,” Carroll Scudder said with a grin. “When I found out she was going to be playing in a game, I went to watch. That’s when we met.”

Carroll Scudder was a year older than Mavis, having graduated from Patriot High School in 1937. The couple began dating, and a four-year courtship began.

“I can’t remember our first real date,” Mavis Scudder said. “My, that was 70 years ago. I do remember that we didn’t see each other too much, because he worked one job and I worked another.”

Finally, in 1940 after four years of dating, the couple decided that it was time to marry. They would go to the Fairview Methodist Church parsonage on Christmas Eve and be married – but again there was a twist.

The wedding was a double wedding, with Carroll’s sister Elizabeth getting married to Harry Cheek at the same time.

“We were getting ready to go when Harry told Elizabeth that he’d forgotten to get a license,” Mavis laughed. “It was Saturday afternoon and it was Christmas Eve, so you can imagine how hard it was to dig someone up who would give them a license. We ran all over the place because Harry didn’t have a car so Carroll drove him. Finally they got one in Rising Sun.”

Whatever Reverend Tom Jennings said that day must have worked, because the Cheeks, now of Aurora, will also celebrate their 66th anniversary this Sunday.

Even the wedding ceremony had a bit of humor – a humor that still sparkles in Mavis Scudders’ eyes.

“When the reverend asked if I took Carroll for better or worse, I said, ‘Only for the worst’,” Mavis Scudder remembers. “The preacher’s wife busted out laughing, and the preacher wanted to laugh, too, but he kept things together.”

Following the wedding, the couple went to the home of Mavis’ sister, Arlena, who hosted a reception for them along with her husband, Dailey Brown.

After they were married, the Scudders went to work running Harry Brunner’s grocery store and hatchery in Vevay, which was located where the furniture portion of Danner’s Hardware and Home Furnishings is now. They ran the store for three years until Carroll enrolled in technical school in Cincinnati to study welding.

While Carroll was off at school, Mavis continued to run the store with the help of Ethel Reeves.

“It got so busy on Saturday night, you couldn’t get through the store,” Mavis Scudder recalled.

Once Carroll graduated, he went to work as a welder for Michael Arts and Bronze Company in Cincinnati, and the couple moved to Dayton, Kentucky.

The Scudders were living a good life when Carroll was called to serve his country and enter World War II. After some basic training in Alabama, he was sent temporarily to Wisconsin – where Mavis came to live with him, along with a new addition – son Larry.

“I loved Wisconsin, and made some good friends there,” Mavis Scudder said. “One lady just hated it when I left to come back home after Carroll got shipped overseas, but I wanted to come home.”

Carroll Scudder was a member of the U.S. Army, and was in General Patton’s army. After landing in England, he crossed the English Channel and participated in the “Battle of the Bulge” on Christmas of 1944.

“I spent my fourth wedding anniversary fighting in the Battle of the Bulge,” Carroll Scudder remembers. “I guess I never thought about that before, I was just doing my duty.”

Carroll Scudder earned three battle stars while serving in the European Theater during the war; serving as a heavy weapons crewman manning a mortar.

“I could set one of those things up in 19 seconds,” Carroll Scudder said proudly.

But the war was tough on Carroll Scudder and all of the other soldiers. He said that from the time he crossed the English Channel, he didn’t see the inside of a building again until he was discharged, as the troops spent the winter sleeping in hay stacks or in an occasional barn while the fighting roared.

He did, however, have another interesting encounter.

“I’m on this ship going from England over to France, and there’s all of these soldiers on there and we know we’re going to war,” Carroll Scudder said. “Someone tapped me on the shoulder, and I turned around and it was Bob Lock. All those people, and here we were on the same ship and from the same town.”

After being discharged in October of 1945 following the end of the war, Carroll Scudder moved back to Switzerland County, as Mavis was already living here with her parents while he was away in the war. The couple lived and farmed on Carroll’s dad’s place on Bethel Ridge; and Carroll milked cows and hauled coal to help make ends meet. He also drove a school bus here for 30 years.

Mavis was one of the first cooks hired at the Allensville School, as she and Helen Lowe prepared a daily lunch for more than 120 students everyday.

“We made everything from scratch,” Mavis Scudder said. “We were just starting, so we brought pots and pans from home so we could get it all done. I’m not sure how we did all of that, but we did. We peeled 175 pounds of potatoes by hand.”

So what’s the secret to a happy marriage?

Mavis Scudder puts it bluntly.

“I never did even think about going home,” she said. “Today it’s too easy to get a divorce. We never thought about getting a divorce, because when we got married, we figured it was forever.”

The couple is also heavily involved in the Fairview United Methodist Church, and both Carroll and Mavis credit their faith with being the foundation of their happy marriage.

They also tried hard to live within their means, going to auctions to buy furniture for their home while saving for something better.

“We ordered furniture from Spiegel’s, and when it came we had to put it together and paint it,” Carroll Scudder said.

The couple will spend a quiet anniversary, having a small celebration with son Larry, granddaughters Jennifer and Melanie, and great-grandson Michael as a part of the family’s Christmas Day festivities.

“It will be a pretty quiet day,” Mavis Scudder said of the couple’s anniversary. “After 66 years, we’ve gotten used to each other.”