NEWCOMERSTOWN — For one local couple, Valentine’s Day is not just one day a year — its all year long.
"If you really understand what it (Valentine’s Day) means, it’s every day of the year," Judy Wolff of Newcomerstown said.
Judy met her husband Jim back in 1953 at the roller skating rink in Newcomerstown.
"I just fell madly in love with him," Judy said about meeting Jim in the eighth grade.
A few months later, they met again at a square dance in Plainfield. After the dance, Jim, who lived in Newcomerstown at the time, sent Judy, who lived just outside Newcomerstown but attended West Lafayette High School, a Christmas card. The card had the three letters, "CUL," in it. After taking what seemed like days to decifer the letters, Judy decided it said, "Call U Later."
And he did.
He invited Judy to a formal dance at the Newcomerstown Elks Lodge. After that, they dated for a few months and then broke up.
But, fate would step in again. They reunited in the summer of 1956 and have been inseparable ever since.
They were engaged that next May and married in August of 1957, after they both graduated from high school.
Over the next few years, they would struggle with finances but they said their love for each other would always be there.
"It was rough. There’s no doubt about it," Judy said. "It made us stronger for it."
They moved several times but always remained in Newcomerstown. They lived in their home on Wood Avenue almost 35 years. In 1992, Jim decided to build their new home on his family-owned land on Mill Street.
"I always wanted to build my own house," Jim said, and he did just that — a ranch brick house, just what Judy wanted.
Although they’ve had many good Valentine’s Days over the years, Judy said she is always fearful when the calendar turns to January, February and March. Those are the months when awful events took place in their lives.
It was those three months, their daughter, Susan, was going to divorce her husband; there were custody troubles for Susan’s son; Susan’s apartment in Bolivar caught fire and all the contents were destroyed; and to top it all off — Susan turned up missing in March 1982. It’s been 28 years since she’s been gone and they still are not any further in locating her or knowing what happened to her that night when she left work at Thompson’s IGA in Newcomerstown.
That continues to weigh heavy on their hearts. However, the couple stays strong in their belief that they will someday see their one and only daughter again.
"The love is there when it’s all said and done," Jim said. "We’re there for each other."
Altogether, the couple has four children, Mark, Mitch, Susan and Matthew; and nine grandchildren.
In their spare time, they enjoy volunteering. They deliver meals to homebound seniors, volunteer as election poll workers (Judy 35 years and Jim 12 years), help at their church (St. Paul Lutheran Church), assist with fund-raising for Relay For Life, and mow/clean-up St. Jacob’s Cemetery (near Newcomerstown).
The Wolffs also enjoy bowling, card playing (Euchre), amateur radio and each other’s company.
As far as a tip for others trying to have love last more than 50 years, they said, "Agree to disagree and everything will be fine."
This year for Valentine’s Day (which falls on a Sunday), they don’t have any definite plans. But, Judy said, they plan to go to dinner and possibly exchange Valentine’s cards — like they did more than a half century ago.
Niki Wolfe/Newcomerstown Bureau
Jim and Judy Wolff of Newcomerstown have celebrated 54 Valentine’s Days together. Although they have had good Valentine’s Days and bad ones, they said their love for each other is what keeps them together.