Golden Anniversaries: A family tradition
Grove City’s Rose Moore Jones and her husband, Joe “Spike” Jones, belong to families that have stashed away incredible quantities of gold – not the shiny precious metal that is mined from the earth, but a kind of gold that is far more valuable. Actually, it’s invaluable, because it cannot be obtained; it can only be attained. It’s the treasure that comes from celebrating a golden wedding anniversary – 50 years of marriage.
Rose’s great-great-grandfather, Samuel B. Moore, was born in Ireland in 1779. He came to America in 1796. He married an Irish lass named Sara Carenlius. Samuel didn’t live long enough to make it to his golden anniversary.
But his grandson did. That was Rose Jones’s grandfather, Hugh Moore, who was married to Margaret (McNees) Moore for more than 50 years. Their son and his wife, Marion and Ada (Sproull) Moore, were married 53 years.
Marion and Ada were Rose’s parents. Their success in marriage was emulated by all five of their daughters: Helen (Painter), Mabel (Bestwick), Lois (Jetter), Ruth (Forker), and Ruth (Jones). Each of them celebrated their 50th anniversaries.
Spike’s side of the family also did well. His grandfather, Joseph Barnes Jones, was married to his grandmother Emily (Patton) for 55 years. Six other couples in Joe’s family have achieved that milestone, as have four couples in the generation after Joe’s and Rose’s.
So in their extended families, there have been seventeen 50-year marriages – lived for better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, one day at a time, for a cumulative total far greater than 850 years – more than 310,000 days
Think about that the next time you’re struggling to get any particular bad day!
Rose Jones can tell you about some very bad days. Like the terrible day for her family before she was born, when her older brother John, just nine years old, fell down the steps at Central School and got a concussion. And the worse day less than a week later when he died from his injuries.
But Rose never dwells on the bad days, because she knows that they are mitigated by so many good ones that follow. In her family’s case, for example, three months after John Jones died, Rose was born, followed by her younger sister Lois and brother Walter. Rose’s parents had many great days with them, and with Rose’s older sisters Ruth, Helen, and Mabel.
Rose and her family lived in Grove City until she was in second or third grade. Then they moved to a farm near Centertown, which her father ran for the owners, who lived in town. When Rose was going into eighth grade, the family moved back into Grove City.
“Then my father became a huckster,” Rose said. “He would go around to the farmers, get their chickens, eggs, and butter, and sell them in town. He also worked at a laundry. It was the Depression, so you took whatever work you could get.”
Rose played basketball in high school. After school and in the evenings, she cleaned houses and babysat. She graduated from high school in 1933, then started working in a drug store.
In spite of the Depression, Rose and her friends managed to have good days.
“A bunch of us girls would go up to Erie,” she said, “and rent a cottage, and ride bicycles and horses. And we would go camping and swimming over in Ohio.”
The same year that Rose graduated from high school, Joe Jones graduated from Grove City College in Electrical Engineering. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a job in that field, so he started bookkeeping for Bashlin Leather Company.
“When Joe was working there,” Rose said, “I would walk past on my way to the drug store. He told a friend, ‘I would like to meet that girl.’ Somebody introduced us and we went to a football game. We started going together and got married about a year or so later, early in 1940.”
Their first daughter Marian was born later that year, and son Tom arrived in 1942.
After working at Bashlin Leather, Joe got a job bookkeeping for Five Filer Brothers, who manufactured awnings, tents, infant car seats, portable cribs, and booster seats. He worked there until he retired.
Early in their marriage, Joe bought Rose a set of golf clubs.
“They joined the country club,” said their daughter Marian. “While they played golf, my brother Tom and I would swim in the lake at the club.”
Marian remembers other fun days with the family.
“My Aunt Mabel Bestwick used to take us to the Westinghouse picnics up at Conneaut Lake,” she said. “We would take the train up, because Aunt Mabel never drove. As soon as we arrived at the park, we had to ride The Bug. We all had to get into one car with Aunt Mabel because it was her favorite ride. It was the first thing we did when we arrived, and the last thing we did before we left.”
Joe’s and Rose’s passion for golf never waned.
“One time after I was married and had kids,” Marian said, “my dad called and said, ‘I’m going to college.’ I said, ‘You’re going to college? What are you going to take?’ He said, ‘Golf!’ It turned out that Mom and Dad were going over to Sharon to take golf lessons.”
Joe was well known around Grove City by his nickname, Spike. Someone told his grandson Todd that he was called Spike “because he was tall and thin and had a flat head.” He was on city council for several years, and was a boy scout leader. But he was best known for helping people out any way he could.
“Any time somebody needed anything,” Marian said, “he would take care of it. There was a joke about my dad being the newspaper boy. He used to go and get the Sunday newspaper and take it to some neighborhood women as an act of kindness.”
“Every time he went to the bank,” Rose said, “he would take Werther’s candy for the tellers.”
Spike passed away on April 30, 1993, just five days after their 53rd wedding anniversary.
After her kids had grown up, Rose worked at the Grove City Store, then at her nephew Chuck Bestwick’s Paint and Decorating store. After Chuck sold it to Frank Zingone, Rose continued to work there for another five years or so, until she was about 75. She also worked for Four Seasons and the Luggage Outlet.
Rose was active in the community, too. She belonged to the Power Presbyterian Church, and to the Women’s Club for a while. She was also chairman of the local March of Dimes for many years, inspired by a nephew who had polio.
“My sister Ruth Forker’s son Jim was struck with polio when he was nine,” Rose said.
Jim was crippled the rest of his life, but that didn’t stop him from attending from Grove City High School and the University of Illinois in a wheelchair. He got his degree in 1967, then worked at Westinghouse in Pittsburgh until he passed away in 1998 at the age of 54.
“He was such a fighter,” Rose said. “He never gave up, and you never heard him complain. We would always think of him whenever we had a problem.”
Rose loved to knit. She has knitted over 40 large Christmas stockings and sweaters for her children, her grandchildren, and friends, as well as countless booties for nieces and nephews.
But her favorite activity is sending out greeting cards. Every year she sends out 50 or 60 Christmas cards. She also sends out birthday, sympathy, and “thinking of you” cards to family members, friends, and neighbors. She buys stamps in rolls of 100, as many as two or three times a year.
“Sometimes when we go to church or somewhere,” Marian said, “someone says, ‘Oh Rose, thank you so much for that card. It meant so much to me.’”
And what goes around comes around.
“For my 90th birthday,” Rose said, “I received 80 cards. This year I got about 35.”
This past summer, at age 92, Rose still played golf in a league that she has played in 30 years.
By a strange turn of events, Rose is now living in the house she lived in when she first got married.
“When we were first married in 1940,” she said, “we rented upstairs for about eight years in this house that I’m in now. We moved to a house on East Main Street to take care of his mother and lived there 38 years. Then my nephew Chuck called us and told us that this house was for sale. We bought it and moved back here. Then my grandson Steve and his wife Barb bought the house that we lived in on East Main.”
Rose’s daughter Marian and her husband Charles Bruce Wood have four children and six grandchildren. Her son Tom and his wife Carol have two children, Brian and Scott.
Excerpted from Lives of Quiet Inspiration, Volume 3, by Joe Zentis. Hermitage, PA: Green Street Press, 2009