|2/15/2011 12:01:00 PM|
Childhood sweethearts wed in their 90s
Photo by Rian Caldwell
Cecelia Halseth and Floyd Cheff, 91 and 92 respectively, wed Jan. 20. They are flanked by Linda Caldwell, daughter of the bride, and Jim Cheff, son of the groom.
Deacon Michael Caldwell of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Portland got a big laugh with a simple question while presiding at a recent wedding held in Bonner, Mont.
"Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?"
The bride, his mother-in-law, is 91 and the groom is 92.
The ceremony was attended by four or five generations — the family lost count.
Floyd Cheff and Cecelia Halseth of Portland were childhood sweethearts, walking or riding horses around neighboring Montana ranches during the Great Depression. But they went separate ways after a teenage spat. Both were widowed late in life, then found each other again to dedicate to each other what years they have left.
"She was the first girlfriend I had," Floyd told the Missoulian newspaper. "To me it's almost like a fairytale. I still can't believe this has happened to us."
Cecelia has been a member of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Southeast Portland for 55 years. She came to Portland for a job with Consolidated Freightway. She was married to Melvin Halseth for 49 years before he died in 1999.
Floyd lost Anna Mae, his wife of almost 73 years, a year ago. The pair raised seven children on a cattle ranch east of Missoula, Mont.
After his wife's death, Floyd went to visit Cecelia's brother, who was ill. The brother offered Cecelia's phone number in Portland. Floyd felt guilty but made the call. He had not seen Cecelia in 21 years.
It took some explaining before Cecelia understood, but once she did, she was delighted. They talked for hours, then arranged visits between Portland and Missoula. Some old magic was re-ignited.
They agreed to get married and Cecelia made the move. About 125 people came to the ceremony.
"I think it can give people hope," Linda Caldwell, daughter of the bride, told the Missoulian. "It shows that no matter what, there can still be love out there."