70 years of married life
March 24th, 1935 was a blissful day way back when; a day now to be especially honored by Floyd and Ruby Sammons of Midland on their 70th wedding anniversary. Marrying in Custer, living and working in many different places since, but now settled again in Midland, the Sammons have seen and experienced hard times and good times. They have done so together.
The two grew up in the Hermosa area and remember the “dirty 30s.” “You can’t realize how rough it can get, but our families made it through,” said Floyd. They agreed to get married and begin their own family. “We got married because we were in love,” said Ruby. “We’ve been together through 70 years of marriage. We had to work at it, and a lot of people don’t do that.” Ruby can finish Floyd’s sentences, and Floyd is full of memories of the two of them and of their family.
Floyd and Ruby began their married life in Minnesota. Hard work and raising a family made time fly by. Nine years and four children later, Floyd was drafted into the Army. Though he was set to ship out to Japan from Camp Hood, Texas, it was late 1944 and near the end of the war, and Floyd did not have to see front-line action.
Before they were married, Floyd worked for the CCC where people were paid $30/month. Years later, Floyd helped run haying crews and Ruby would cook for all those hungry men. Eventually, Floyd and Ruby struck out on their own; first a haying and trucking business, then farming/ranching.
“We haven’t had a boring life when it came to work, but we never kicked or never minded. It was a hard pull, but it didn’t hurt me.” Ruby admits, “We always kept ahead and gained every year. It was a good life.”
Ruby recalled, “This anniversary makes me go back to all those years of hard work. The best part I liked was when we had the cattle and ran our own place. We always kept ahead. We even bought a new tractor and different things.” That was from around 1950 to 1976. Floyd recalled, “I don’t think we actually owed any money except for when I bought land. We bought a car only when we could pay for it.”
“We never had a lot, but we were content. We had love. Now kids seem to have to have a lot. We were a great game family. Now they have TV and other things.” said Ruby. Floyd remembers, “I made trucks for Ronnie (their son) when he was little. It didn’t cost quite as much to raise a family back then.” Floyd has since made beautiful chiming clocks for each of their children and grandchildren.
During his haying/trucking years and since, they have traveled to most of the states. They have yet to see some, such as Florida and Maine. “Washington, D.C., was a rat race, but interesting. It’s better when you are visiting someone who lives there and they can show you around. New York is a place we never want to go back to, we were thankful for getting out of there.” The Sammons would have liked to have traveled even more; Alaska intrigues them and Australia would be interesting.
After retiring from the ranch, Floyd and Ruby used to travel south, mostly to Arizona, for the winter. Ruby patted her husband’s hand and said, “Floyd and I really enjoyed his retirement. We formed a family of friends down south, then came back to our family here.”
The two originally retired to near Johnson’s Siding, close to Rapid City, until 2000 when Floyd’s health became an issue. Ruby recalled, “Probably one of the better people I ever knew was Charlie Hunt, minister of the Big Bend Church.” Ruby continued, “Floyd’s health got real bad and he was told to put his affairs in order. The two moved back to Midland then to be closer to family. That was five years ago. It’s strange how now Charlie is gone and Floyd is still going.”
Floyd was a bank director for about 15 years. “That was an enjoyment, a good nice time,” said Floyd. “I remember that Hazel Drew was part of the bank and was a real nice person.”
Floyd and Ruby have filled their family and personal lives in many ways. Floyd was on the Midland town board for around 15 years. He and Ruby have been on the American Legion and Auxiliary. She used to belong to the Bad River Extension Club and to Ruth’s Circle of the Trinity Lutheran Church.
Admittedly, Floyd and Ruby have slowed down a little. “I really don’t want to slow down. I don’t like doing less. I’ve always been independent.” Ruby still drives to wherever she wants to go. Neither Floyd nor Ruby recall any accidents or speeding tickets over the years. Ruby has taken up a new thing, a computer, given to her by her children. “I thought that I’d never use it, but now I don’t know what I'd do without it.”
When their children were older, Floyd and Ruby used to relate stories from their past,“Oh, no, here we go into those old days!” the kids would say. “Now, they (kids and grandkids) actually ask us about those early days.” Floyd and Ruby have nine grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren (six are step), and 6 great-great-grandchildren (four are step).
“We didn’t think our kids should have any kind of celebration for us, but they are anyway. We are a close family. I’m proud of them,” said Ruby, and she adds, “We sure have enjoyed our grandchildren (and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren); they have been great for us.”
Their children and grandchildren are sponsoring an open house for them at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 at the Midland Senior Citizen Center. Floyd and Ruby’s children are: Ronnie Sammons and his wife, Emily; Arlyne and her husband, Billy Markwed; Joanne Quatier; and Shirley Fosheim, who has passed away.
Floyd and Ruby are excited about the open house and the gathering of so many family members and friends. Ruby knows, “They’ll be snapping pictures all over the place then. It’s a lot of work for them, but we are a close family.”