In a world in which relationships are fleeting and divorce is commonplace, what a beautiful love story Tauno "Doc" and Mae Etelamaki have shared.
The Negaunee couple celebrated 75 years of marriage last week at a party attended by family and friends, as told in a story by the Mining Journal Staff Writer Mary Wardell on Thursday.
Doc and Mae married in 1939, when he was 20 and she just 18. They had met several years earlier and pretty quickly, knew they were made for each other.
"Your heart tells you," Mae said, when asked how one can be sure.
Indeed, the couple raised a family together and have been faithful members of Immanuel Lutheran Church, where they married July 8, 1939.
While Mae is now a resident of Eastwood Nursing Center while Doc still lives independently, that hasn't kept the two apart. Doc, in fact, would walk across busy U.S. 41 every day to visit Mae, something that worried his family.
Now his son, John, drives to Negaunee from Champion daily to make sure his father safely arrives at Eastwood.
As the couple's son-in-law Allen Mikkola said in the story:
"He told me, 'I made a commitment to that woman 70 years ago.' And he wasn't about to break it, by any means."
If only more people had that kind of devotion.
Of course, like anyone else, the Etelamakis had rough times. How did they make it through?
"Sisu," Mae said, citing the Finnish phrase for determination.
When asked about what she's learned through the years, Mae put it this way: "To be kind. And to love God."
That plain-spoken philosophy would serve the rest of the world well, if only it was followed by more people.
We congratulate Doc and Mae for reaching 75 years of wedded bliss. We wish them many more years of sharing all the things that make life special, most especially the love they have for one another.