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Skating to the alter
[February 15, 2013]

Skating to the alter

Feb 13, 2013 (Sierra Star (Oakhurst - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In just a couple days, one almost Valentine's Day wedding couple will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary amidst family and friends and reminisce on that serendipitous day they met in 1944.

It all began at a roller skating rink -- the moment Joyce and Lee Halderman first saw each other and began skating together.

"She skated regularly but I just happened to be there at that time," Lee said.

"We were attracted to each other," Joyce said.

However at the time Joyce was only 15 years old and Lee was 20 so after that night the two went their separate ways.

However fate would bring them together again three years later in 1947 -- on the night of Joyce's high school graduation party, which was held at the skating rink.

"I was at the roller rink the night of her graduation party and her girlfriend invited me to (join) the party at the roller skating rink," Lee said. "She was pushing us together." "I don't think it took much pushing," Joyce said, laughing.

After that, the two started dating and it wasn't long before Lee decided to transition their activities from skating to the slopes.

"She hadn't learned to ski and that was my real passion," Lee said. "I remember the first time I took her skiing." "Not good at all," Joyce said.

Lee had unfortunately forgotten the bindings to her skis and so there was no skiing for Joyce -- only sitting.

"She still married me anyway and it must have been for my looks because it definitely wasn't for my money," Lee said, laughing.

It was a whirlwind romance -- The two met in June (for the second time), became engaged in November, and were married in February -- just eight months after meeting.

However when it came to popping the question, Joyce was left a little confused.

"He said, 'This is getting too serious,' and I thought he meant he was going to break it off," Joyce said.

"We really never have been great at communication. It really is surprising that we're still married," Lee said with a chuckle.

"It usually takes some conversation to clarify," Joyce said, also laughing.

When asked how they knew they were meant for each other, Lee replied, "I really don't know, it just happened." "I think we like the same things," Joyce said. "We just clicked. It felt natural. I was attracted to him and we had fun together." Joyce and Lee wanted to have a Valentine's Day wedding, but the church was already booked so they got married on Monday, Feb. 16, 1948 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fresno. She was 18, he was 23.

Sixty-five years later, Lee says it's felt natural to be together that long.

"It seems like all our lives," Lee said. "It's hard to think back when we weren't married." "It feels great," Joyce said. "You get so busy with just living that it does sort of creep up with you." Lee's advice for young couples is to know that marriage is 24 hours a day and Joyce said having something in common helps make a difference.

"If it's good it stays pretty good, even as you get older," Joyce said. "It's nice to have someone you trust and spend a lot of time with." Joyce and Lee will celebrate 65 years of marriage at their church surrounded by friends and family at their side, including their daughter Patrice and son Scott.

___ (c)2013 the Sierra Star (Oakhurst, Calif.) Visit the Sierra Star (Oakhurst, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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