BELPRE-George Norris fell in love with Elinor Tippens in fourth grade, and has been head over heels for her ever since-for nearly eight decades.
George and Elinor Norris were students in the same classroom at Rockland Elementary School, where Elinor sat right in front of George.
"I picked at her hair. She had beautiful long red hair," George remembered.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Elinor and George Norris, both 88, of Belpre, will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Nov. 15. The couple looked at photos and a special Valentine’s Day card from George to Elinor Friday at their home.
As a fourth grader, Elinor was not impressed.
"I didn't think much of it," she said.
Later that year, George gave his future wife a Valentine's Day card that she still keeps in a special lock box. The card read: "...I think you're an angel with almost two wings, some day I will buy you a couple of rings."
A few months after their graduation from Belpre High School, George did buy those rings for Elinor. They were married at Rockland United Methodist Church in Belpre on Nov. 15, 1942 and will celebrate their 70th anniversary this fall.
Before tying the knot, both sets of parents had to sign permission for the 18-year-olds to marry. At the time, the legal marrying age was 21.
When George told his parents about the impending nuptials, he can remember his mom saying "It will never last. You're just too young."
Today, George and Elinor have created a lasting legacy with a rich, happy marriage, four daughters, 14 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren.
"I don't know of any more (great great grandchildren) on the way," Elinor laughingly said.
As newlyweds, the couple left their hometown of Belpre and moved to Cleveland for about two years where George had found work as a machinist.
George's previous machinist job in Parkersburg had paid 50 cents per hour. He was thrilled to be making $1.85 an hour up north.
"No matter what job I had I was always looking for a better job with better money," George said. He later worked in Belpre as a building contractor for more than 30 years.
Young George and Elinor Norris eventually settled on a farm near Farson Avenue.
Elinor, who had grown up in the big city of Belpre, had to learn how to can and make items like butter, cheese and cottage cheese.
"I had never lived on a farm. That was a challenge for me," Elinor said.
The Norrises have faced health, financial and job challenges over the years, but their love for one another has remained steady.
Both Elinor and George said they have never argued during their marriage.
"We respect one another," said George. "If her opinion doesn't agree with mine, I let it go. With faith, it will work itself out."
Elinor said their upbringing also played a role in their kindness to one another.
"My mother would always say 'Turn the other cheek. Words can never be taken away,'" she said.
George summed up their feelings.
"We have had a great life. God's been so good to us," he said.
The couple had words of advice for other married couples.
"Do things together," Elinor said.
"Love and respect each other," said George. "Put God first in your life."
George and Elinor have enjoyed traveling over the years, trekking to all 50 states and each of Canada's provinces.
A gospel singer who has had his music recorded, George recently started a monthly karaoke gospel sing at Rockland United Methodist Church.
The Norris' four daughters will host an open house in honor of their parents' 70th wedding anniversary from 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Belpre Shriner's Club, 1225-1/2 Blennerhassett Ave. The event is open to the public.