Peggy and John Cardwell, of Socorro, celebrated the 60th anniversary of their wedding last month by taking a cruise.



"We left on Valentine's Day for a 14-day cruise to Hawaii on the Golden Princess," Peggy said. "Oh, we had a marvelous time!"

For the Cardwells, the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii has special significance. In December 1941, John Cardwell was stationed on the USS Platte, a Cimarron-class oiler that carried freight, fuel and passengers between San Diego and Pearl Harbor.

"On Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1941, we sailed from Hawaii for another load of oil, and we got into San Pedro Bay on Saturday night," John said. "The next morning they bombed Pearl Harbor."

When John left the service, in 1946, he came to Socorro and worked at the locker plant on Church Street. At the time, Peggy was a senior at the high school.

"I went by with my mother to the locker plant to get some frozen meat, and I said 'What's that old man looking at me for?'" Peggy said. "I kept going back, and he kept looking younger and younger."

John left Socorro for a year to work in the Texas oil fields to save enough money to get married. When he returned, he proposed.

"We were married on Feb. 24, 1950, in our country home down in the valley," Peggy said.

Peggy said she would have liked to get married in a church, but her father didn't own a suit and said he wasn't going to any church, "I wasn't going to get married without my father there."

After the wedding, following the tradition of the day, the wedding party came into Socorro, to the Plaza.

"They made him put me in a wheelbarrow and push me all around the square and down through the light," Peggy said.

The next year, Peggy entered 30 examples of her home canning in the Socorro County Fair, and won 29 blue ribbons.

"I got a little prize money, so I went and bought an iron," Peggy said.

The Cardwells have three children: Robert Olin Cardwell, who lives in Luis Lopez; Jennifer Janice Wark, who lives in Truth or Consequences; and Deborah Padgett Lindsey, who lives in Portland, Ore., and also accompanied John and Peggy on the cruise. The couple raised their children on the family farm.

"We did a lot of hunting, bowhunting and with muzzle-loaders, and we went rock hunting, and fishing down at Elephant Butte," Peggy said. "We tried to teach our kids the best things in life are free. Dance halls and bars are not the good life. We stayed away from them."

The Cardwells also have six grandchildren: Adolf, Katherine, Melissa, Jennifer, Linda and Laura; and five great-grandchildren: Vanessa, Nickolai, Faith Marie, Ostin and Tyree.

John, 86, retired some years ago, after working for 26 years at Land-Air Inc. at Holloman Air Force Base.

"I studied nutrition, fed him right, and gave him vitamins," Peggy said. "And look at him — he's the picture of health."

The suit John is wearing in the picture is an example of Peggy's thriftiness.

"I went to the thrift store and found it for just a dollar or two," Peggy said. "It fits him like it was made for him."

The couple are enjoying their diamond years and staying busy painting and making crafts, and going to craft shows.

Peggy shared the secret to their long, happy marriage.

"You have to fuss, argue it out, get over it and go on," Peggy said, "because you'll never find anybody to replace your first love."

Also, after 60 years or so, you might want to go on a cruise.

"We recommend to go cruising," Peggy said.