February 14, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
There's no time like Valentine's Day to honor longtime Hingham residents Ann and Don Campbell, who will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary on April 1.
Counting the years they were together before they got married, this will be their 70th Valentine's Day together.
The Campbells, who have lived in town for more than 50 years, enjoy nothing better than spending time together and with their large and loving family.
With Valentine's Day on the way, the Campbells shared how they have celebrated this special holiday over the years and what they have planned for this year.
"We usually go out to dinner and exchange cards, sometimes ones we've made ourselves," Don said. This year because of the pandemic, the couple plans to celebrate quietly at home."
He can't even take me out to eat [because of COVID-19]!" Ann said. "The important thing, though, is being together." She especially enjoys the times when Don has presented here with homemade Valentine's Day cards. "Those are really special."
'Listen to the other person'
The Campbells also shared the secret to the success of their long and loving relationship, through both good and challenging times.
"It's important to be kind to one another, to really listen to what the other person is saying, and to be there for them when they need help -- to give your husband or wife your love and support, no matter what," Ann said. "It's also important to say, 'I love you.'"
Don places high priority on "thinking of the other person first, rather than yourself. Sometimes each is doing his or her own thing and doesn't have time for their [spouse]. It's important to stay close."
Don often tells people that he and Ann "are joined at the hip." Patience, getting over arguments rather than continuing the back-and-forth, and forgiveness are among the qualities he named as contributing to a strong and enduring relationship.
Pre-COVID, the Campbells -- both energetic octogenarians -- enjoyed working out, participating in Senior Center activities, taking walks, and sitting at Hingham Harbor enjoying the spectacular views on warm summer days, but since last March they've been staying close to home except for early-morning grocery shopping trips during special hours for seniors.
"I still work out in the basement the best I can with a couple of hand weights," Don said. "It keeps me feeling young!"
That said, it doesn't take much to make this couple happy. "We just enjoy being together," Don said.
Their greatest pleasure was watching their four sons and daughter growing up, attending their hockey games and other activities "and seeing them grow into good individuals with children of their own," Don said. "I believe that we gave them so much love, support, and affection that they had no choice but to grow up okay!"
Family lives locally
The Campbells also have four grandsons and two granddaughters, who are the delight of their lives. All of their children and their families live locally, two in town.
Their son Michael and his wife, Lorrie, own Whitney Gordon's Jewelers in downtown Hingham.
Their oldest son, Don, and his wife, Bridget, live in Hingham; he works at Hingham High School. Tom and his wife, Sue, live in Chatham; Brian and his wife, Sheri in Carver; and their daughter, Laurie, lives in Plymouth with her husband, Darren.
"We're fortunate that our family lives close-by, "Don said. "They look after us so well."
What Ann enjoys most about her husband is his sense of humor. "He makes me laugh even during the tough times, and we got through them," she said, to which Don responded, "And I thought she would say her favorite thing about me is my good looks!"
"That, too," Ann said with a smile. "When we first met, he told me he owned an island in Nova Scotia. I thought he was joking, and I was right. After a few visits, I found out he only grew up there!"
Don appreciates his wife's dedication to home and family -- "looking out for us and being sure everything went well while I worked a day job in finance and a night job as well while we got a foothold." Ann has also worked as a home health aide in Hingham.
The couple met when both of their mothers worked at the Parker House Hotel in Boston and realized they had a son and a daughter who were around the same age. With encouragement from his mother, Don called Ann, and that was the start of their long and lasting friendship and marriage.
Their first date -- an unusual one! -- was a benefit dance for then-Boston Mayor John Hynes. "Ann's aunt worked for the mayor and had a couple of tickets, which she gave to us," Don recalled.
Among their best memories are days spent at a cottage in Maine with their children during the summer and trips to Nova Scotia.
As much as the Campbells enjoy the good times together, it's the challenging ones that have brought them even closer. "During times of illness we have really stuck by each other, which is the true test of a relationship," Don said. Being there for one another is the important thing, Ann agreed.
They both miss leading the stroke group at the Senior Center, although they do keep in touch with its members. But most of all they were disappointed to miss celebrating the 2020 Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with their entire family. "We're looking forward to resuming that sometime," Ann said.
Thoughts of their upcoming anniversary brings back pleasant memories for them both.
Don joined the Army in 1952, serving for three years. He and Ann were married after he separated from the service.
They recall the day with fond memories. "We got married on April 1, 1956, on both April Fool's Day and Easter," Don recalled. "We had to wait until 2018 for both to fall on the same day again!"
On April 1, 2018, the couple renewed their vows at St. Paul Parish in Hingham. "It was a very special day for us, celebrating with family and friends," Don said.