Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Reflecting on 74 years together as the Gilberts

Helen & Chuck, Saint Mary's at Asbury Ridge, 2023

Charles and Helen Gilbert have been residents of Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge since the spring of 2022. This reflection was written by Helen Gilbert, in honor of her and her husband, Charles, 74th wedding anniversary which was celebrated in May of 2023. The Gilbert's story below is just one of many stories and milestone celebrations that Saint Mary's is able to share a small part in. We’re happy to share the story of their life together and we’re grateful that after all their adventures, they chose Saint Mary’s for their next one.

By: Helen Gilbert

“How do you talk about a lifetime in seven or eight paragraphs? It’s no easy task. Every life has a story to tell as it unfolds. Our lives were pleasant growing up. We both had loving parents. We lived in a small town outside of Pittsburgh. Chuck had twin sisters, a novelty at the time. And I had one brother.

We met at 14, when we were freshman in high school. Chuck played football all four years of high school and I was always rooting for him. When World War ll came into our lives, the whole football team enlisted, including Chuck. He chose the Navy and ended up in the Philippines. He contracted malaria there and almost died. He told me the doctor held out 30 pills in his hand and said, “Here. Take these.” Chuck replied, “All of them?” and the Doctor answered, “If you want to live.” And Chuck swallowed them all.

We married at age 22. Chuck worked as an insurance adjuster in the Pittsburgh area, and I was a secretary for U.S. Steel. We vacationed a lot in Edinboro and eventually built a summer cottage there.

We have four boys and all loved boating, the beach, and water skiing. Chuck and I often enjoyed double water skiing together. The boys learned some trick water skiing as well. I stayed at the cottage in the summers with the boys and Chuck traveled to Pittsburgh to work when necessary.

We went to Florida every year for vacation, and we would take our motorhome. The boys would bring friends and sleep in tents outside. Disney World was a must and the boys enjoyed it! Fun! Fun!

Retirement came and we sold the Pittsburgh house and moved to the Edinboro cottage full time. All the boys went to Edinboro University except for one who opted for a Florida college.

After the boys were grown, we moved part-time from Edinboro to Port Richie, Florida. There was a new development going in, so we purchased a lot and built a new home. We loved it there and stayed there part-time for 25 years. As snowbirds, we stayed up north in the summer and Port Richie in the winter.

We also did a lot of traveling. We circled the United States three times in the RV! We have been to all 50 states. We saw many parks and beautiful country. We also enjoyed many cruises, especially to the Bahamas and Aruba.”

Gilberts 50th 1
The Gilbert’s 50th anniversary vow renewal at their cottage on Edinboro Lake, 1999
Gilberts 50th 2
Gilberts Cruise
Helen & Chuck on one of their many cruises, mid-1980’s

The Gilbert's story was a featured article in the Summer 2023 Mirror Newsletter. To read more stories like this and learn about life at Saint Mary's, visit our publications page!