Marvella and Jay Twenter, like most couples, experienced the ups and downs of marriage and raising a family, but there was always plenty of love to go around.
The Twenters celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary May 2, surrounded by their friends and family.
And while other couples observe their wedding anniversaries daily, the Twenters have the distinction of raising 10 children and having the joy of 29 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
“I was in the 544 Quartermaster Co. in the Army and was called to Salzburg, Austria,” Jay Twenter said. “My sister had introduced me to Marvella and I courted her.”
“I was 19 and Jay was 22 when we married,” Marvella Twenter said. “I told him I would have waited for him forever, but after Jay found out he was going to be stationed overseas we decided we would marry.
“Before he left for Austria he went to basic training for six weeks, and when he could finally see me I went to him,” she added. “ I stayed in Henderson, Kentucky, until he had to leave, we were together a few weeks before he had to go.”
Shortly after her husband left for Austria, Marvella found out she was expecting the couple’s first child.
Not wanting to be by herself in the region while her husband was serving their country, Marvella decided to return to Sedalia and live with her mother.
Nine months later, the couple’s first child, Judy, was born.
Over the course of the next 18 years, Marvella would give birth to nine more children.
“All of our children are still living and they are healthy,” Marvella said. “We have 26 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren and they all still come to see us.
“I think we have been blessed with our family but I think Jay and I were very fortunate in the way we were raised,” she added.
Both lost their fathers before the age of 6 and were raised by their mothers.
“We didn’t have a lot of luxuries when we were growing up,” Marvella said. “Neither did our children, but Jay was and is an excellent provider.
“He always took care of us and he built the additions to the house where we still live,” she added. “In fact, except for Judy, our oldest daughter, this is the home all of the children grew up in,”
Jay worked for more than 45 years as a carpenter, eventually starting his own business, Twenter Construction, after his honorable discharge from the service and Marvella stayed at home with the couple’s children.
Jay was a graduate of Smithton High School and Marvella graduated from Sacred Heart High School.
“All of our children graduated from Sacred Heart and so have many of our grandchildren and great grandchildren,” Marvella said proudly. “We are on our fourth generation of students at the school.”
She added that many of the family’s traditions revolved around the children’s school activities and the holidays.
“When the children were younger we always had Sunday dinner together,” Marvella said. “We still celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas and usually Easter together.
“We used to go to Jay’s mother’s farm where he grew up because the kids loved to play outdoors and have picnics and there were always activities at school,” she added. “We took a lot of trips to Minnesota on family vacations because my family lived there.”
Marvella added that there were ups and downs to their lives, but that is part of the natural progression in life.
“One of our children once said to me, ‘mom, I don’t think any of us ever heard you and dad argue in front of us,’” she said. “Oh, we might have disagreed but we never hurt one another with our words and we never felt neglected.”
Jay lovingly nodded in agreement with his wife as he did thoroughout the interview.
“We never thought about divorce because when we disagreed we worked things out,” Marvella said. “We said we were sorry and we raised our children the same way.
“I think we were disciplinarians, and we always tried to be fair to them all,” she added. “I don’t think the children resented that, or if they did they never let on that they did.”
Marvella commented that although she and her husband did not let the children get by with things, they may have at times because they were children.
Jay said the children all worked to earn spending money, adding that nine of their children had paper routes.
“Mike, our oldest son, came to us first and asked us if he could get a job,” Jay said. “Once he had a job then they all wanted one, in fact Janet wanted to be like her brother and so she went to the paper (the Democrat) and convinced Russell Petree to hire her.
“She was the first delivery girl the Democrat ever had,” he said with pride.
The couple added that all of their children had good jobs and explained the children went from “working to working.”
“They went from school and their part-time or summer jobs to their careers,” Marvella said. “We’re both awfully proud of them all.”
When asked for advice on raising a child, Marvella said there are two things all parents should do.
“Love your children,” she said wistfully. “We loved them all and only wanted the best for them.
“And take care of them,” Marvella added. “They grow up and leave home far too quick. We always wanted to keep them close and they knew they could stay until they felt they were ready to go on their own.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484