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Still his doll after all those years

Jean and Ted Hudson sort through some of the anniversary and birthday cards they’ve received. The Cascumpec couple was married on Sept. 18, 72 years ago, and Ted turned 100 on September 21.
Jean and Ted Hudson sort through some of the anniversary and birthday cards they’ve received. The Cascumpec couple was married on Sept. 18, 72 years ago, and Ted turned 100 on September 21. - Eric McCarthy

Couple celebrating 72 years of marriage

CASCUMPEC

Ted Hudson jokes about being 89 one day and waking up the next and discovering he’d turned 90.

But that was 10 years ago. On Friday morning, September 21, the lifelong resident of Cascumpec woke 100.

Reflecting on what might be the secret of a long life, he comments, “I’d say, having a good wife is one.”

Seated next to him, Jean, his wife of 72 years, responds, “Well, Ted, a good husband is as good as a good wife. That’s what I think.”

They were married at the United Church in Summerside on Sept. 18, 1946 before continuing on in their ’38 Plymouth for a honeymoon in Nova Scotia. The honeymoon consisted of day trips from Debert, where Ted had previously boarded while getting his start in the carpentry trade.

After completing her schooling at Greenhill School in West Cape, Jean MacNeill studied at Prince of Wales College and then got hired on at Cascumpec School. That’s where she met her future husband.

“Some of my brothers and sisters were going to her at the school at the time, and they came home and I asked them about the new teacher. They said, ‘she’s just like a big doll.’

“And I said, ‘well, I guess I’ll have to go see this big doll.’”

She was boarding for the school year at a house next to his parents, so the courtship was just a short walk across the field.

They moved in with Ted’s parents and younger brothers and sisters after the honeymoon, as the house Ted was building wasn’t yet finished. When they finally settled, a week before Christmas, 1948, only the kitchen and dining room were complete. “It was kind of a nice present to get moved into our own home, even if it wasn’t finished,” Ted reflects on the timing. They’ve been there ever since. He subsequently completed the house and put his carpentry skills to use building six more houses in the community. They’ve raised their three children there on the farm, Lowell, Shirley and Ernie.

Jean, who turned 92 this year, taught for seven years, in Cascumpec and Howlan, helped out on the family farm, where they milked cows by hand, and provided the family with good wholesome meals.

Major milestones they agree, included getting electricity in 1959, and the year their road was paved.

“It was quite a change from an oil lamp. Turn a switch on and you got a nice light. And water, too,” said Ted. Running water for the barn was a big help, too, as they previously used a hand pump to water the livestock, and each milk cow needed about three bucketsful. Electric milkers would only come once Ernie took over the farm.

They got their first tractor, a small Massey, in 1947.

Prior to then, all of the farm work was done with horses. “You wouldn’t say harrowing or plowing or sowing grain or anything. You were, ‘following the team,’” Ted recalls.

He did like the horses, he admits.

He’s cut and raked hay using Ernie’s tractor as recently as this year. “I know people would be saying, ‘that old fella shouldn’t be in the field on a tractor,’” he chuckles, but insists he’s quite capable.

“You look back, it seems like a long while, but it wasn’t that long,” Jean reflects on their 72 years of marriage. “They went just like that.”

“I am lucky, I know. I have a good home; I have a good family.”

Both husband and wife are hoping to be able to remain in their own home for quite some time yet.

The couple gets to celebrate their anniversary and Ted’s 100th birthday, this Sunday with family and friends at the Mill River Resort. An Open House will be held there at 1:30 p.m.

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