For Tolland residents Tim and Gloria Smith, sixty years of marriage, seven children and 12 grandchildren are all the result of a rainy day and a forgetful moment.
The couple, who recently celebrated their 60th anniversary, started dating each other after Tim left his galoshes at Gloria's family home, leading to some alone time together and a budding relationship.
"We decided pretty quickly that what we had was going to be more than a date," Tim joked
"I can't believe it's been sixty years," Gloria said, who was 16 when she met Tim at a dance in Bangor, Maine and chatted with him at her family's party right before he forgot his boots. "It went by too fast."
The Joys and Challenges of 60 Years of Marriage
Respect, affection and teamwork helped the Smiths rally through their move to Tolland 54 years ago and the obstacles of raising six girls and a boy in their one-bathroom home.
"We had our rough times and our arguments, but there weren't too many times when we went to bed mad at each other," Tim explained.
He and Gloria believe that to stay happy together, there has to be a balance of compromise and respect. So while Gloria has stopped being bothered if her husband eats a few too many sweets than what's good for him, she said, she knows that he will make an effort to change his habits, if a certain behavior creates tension.
"We respected each other's habits," Tim said. "Neither one of us tried to change the other."
The couple certainly pulled together to raise their family well. Tim said that he worked multiple jobs at Pratt & Whitney, Hartford Tool and more so that Gloria could stay home with the children.
Tim also worked hard around the house to make their family life as comfortable as possible. For example, once his six daughters began to reach adolescence, he installed vanities, complete with outlets, in the basement for each of his daughters, so the daily morning ritual was a little less chaotic.
And for Tim, having Gloria at home for the kids, to run the house and to prepare a home-cooked meal for the family to share after he returned from work, was crucial to keeping their relationship strong.
"We had something special," he said.
Life changed for the Smiths as their children grew up. Gloria returned to work and earned a degree in special education, but they still always made time for each other and their relationship.
"We hold hands three to four times a day. And I always give her a kiss goodbye, even if she's still sleeping," Tim said. "We're best friends. What we do with each other is more important than anything else."
The Smiths celebrated their 60th anniversary, as well as Tim's 80th birthday, with a family dinner and a romantic trip away. But for the couple, every day is a celebration of how far they've come.
"He's so good to me. I just love him so much," Gloria said.
The Smith's wedding picture from 60 years ago is posted above.