George and Polly Baker celebrate 65 years: ‘It’s a 50-50 walk together forever’

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George and Polly Baker sit in the sun-drenched kitchen of their home on State Road 250 near East Enterprise and reminisce about the past 65 years.

The couple will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this Monday, May 25th – but those years have been filled with many blessings and challenges that neither would trade for anything in the world.

George Baker moved to Switzerland County when he was nine, as his family settled near the Patriot area. Polly and her family located to this county from Kentucky when she was 15 – and the two met as students at Patriot High School.

“That’s where we fell in love,” George Baker smiled.

Do they remember their first date?

“The first date, or the first time he asked me for a date?” Polly Baker asked with a grin. “It was the second day that I was at Patriot school and he asked me. I told him I didn’t even know his name – why would I go out with him?”

But the two did begin to date, and quickly fell in love.

George graduated from Patriot High School in 1943, and soon thereafter he entered the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II.

Polly, a year behind George in School, had just graduated as a member of the Patriot High School Class of 1944 when George came home on a 72-hour pass – and he left a married man.

“We got married in Patriot at the Baptist Church,” Polly said.

“Reverend Lowe married us,” George added. “I was home for 72 hours, married her, and then didn’t see her again for almost a year.”

Serving in the South Pacific, George Baker ended up in a military hospital in California; and Polly joined him there as he recovered. After healing, he was discharged from the Navy, and the couple headed back to Switzerland County to start their life together.

“The first place we lived was on a farm on Antioch,” George Baker said. “We lived there about seven years. I farmed until we about starved to death, then I figured that I better do something else.”

“I never though we starved,” Polly told her husband.

It was then that George Baker began a career in construction; working around this area wherever he could find work. He would help construct the Markland Dam here; and then move on to work on the dam at Cannelton, as well. The couple lived in Perry County for nine years while George worked in that part of the state; and all four of the couple’s children were born while they lived in Perry County.

It’s a family that they are still very proud of today.

Son Ronnie lives near East Enterprise; while daughter Rita lives near Tell City in Perry County. Daughter Glenda lives in Bloomington; and son Danny lives in Carmel, Indiana.

“We also have 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren,” Polly said, proudly.

After the work in Perry County was finished, the Baker family moved back to Switzerland County – and George and Polly have lived in the same home on Highway 250 for 36 years.

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So what’s the secret to staying together for 65 years?

“I accepted the Lord when my kids were little, and it’s been with His help that I made it,” Polly Baker says. “We’ve taken care of both of our parents when they were still here, and I took care of my mentally-challenged brother for six years after our mother died.”

“It’s really a 50-50 walk,” George says.

“Give and take,” adds Polly.

“I give a little and take a lot,” George laughs.

That exchange sums up the life of George and Polly Baker in many ways. Having been together for so long – “We’ve been married really all of our lives”, George says – the couple has a way of knowing what the other is thinking, almost finishing sentences started by the other.

After George retired in 1990, the couple has stayed busy with their garden and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Both actively attend East Enterprise Wesleyan Church; and as Polly has recently suffered through some health issues, George is right there by her side, every step of the way.

“The kids had something planned for our anniversary last Saturday, but I was too sick to go,” Polly Baker says. “They’re trying to reschedule it for the 30th, if my health holds. It will be all of the family together, so we’re looking forward to that.”

“You just have to live one day at a time and put your trust in the Lord,” George Baker says as he smiles at his wife. “About all I can tell folks is that you get just one day at a time, so make the most of every one of them.”

– Pat Lanman