Andy and Christine Hatley were married on May 17, 1947. A celebration is slated for Saturday to commemorate the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.

Andy and Christine Hatley were married on May 17, 1947. A celebration is slated for Saturday to commemorate the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.
“I married this lady here back in 1947,” said Andy.
According to Andy, he and Christine moved back to her home place in Beirne in 1951 and have been there since.
“We had three children when we moved down there. Luckily, several more came afterwards,” said Andy.
The Hatleys have seven sons and five daughters for a total of 12 adult children.
“The babies are twin boys,” Andy said.
Andy and Christine’s story began when they met in Beirne.
“That’s where I found her and I married her. I brought her out and I brought her back,” said Andy.
According to Andy, he met Christine through one of her sisters.
“I got to know her [Christine]. I lost all of my marbles and fell in love with her. We got married and have been married ever since,” Andy said.
When asked what did she think of Andy when she first met him, Christine described him as being “very nice and handsome.”
“He was tall like I like them,” Christine said with a laugh.
Christine said 70 years is a long time to be married to one man.
“But I thank God. We have 12 grown children, and that’s a blessing to me. We love them and they love us and I don’t know what I would do without them or without him,” said Christine.
Christine describes their marriage as “a joyous vacation” and said she thanks God for Andy.
“It’s a blessing that we have a family that we can be proud of,” Christine said.
Andy recalled several times when he would have to walk from Christine’s home in Beirne to his home in Burtsell.
“When I started courting her, I had some older brothers who would be going to see women in Gurdon and in Prescott,” said Andy.
Because Andy didn’t have a vehicle of his own and because of Beirne’s location between Prescott and Gurdon, Andy’s brothers would drop him off at Christine’s on their way to see their girlfriends with the promise that they would pick him up on their way home.
“They would carry me by there, but when they got to where their girlfriend was and got to having fun, they forgot about me being down there,” Andy said.
Christine’s father had a 9 p.m. curfew. Andy was forced to leave at that time, with or without a ride from his brothers.
“We didn’t have a lot of deer. Mostly rattlesnakes and raccoons and things of that nature,” said Andy.
According to Andy, his home was approximately seven miles from Christine’s. He described walking as a common thing in those days.
When Andy first married Christine, he worked at the sawmill owned by the Cabe brothers. He then went to work at the bus garage for Gurdon Schools as a mechanic.
Christine took on cooking jobs for the county and in restaurants. She later worked for home health services until Andy told her she did not have to work any more.
While Andy and Christine only had a ninth and 11th grade education respectively, education and hard work were instilled in the lives of their children.
“They were so strong in education that we couldn’t participate in sports or extra curricular activities if we didn’t make the honor roll,” said daughter Kate.
According to Kate, most of her siblings earned their degrees.
“The ones who didn’t earn a degree make the most money. Dad taught us math and mom had us reading at four. That spilled over to our children,” said Kate.
Kate said her parents taught their children Biblical principles, honesty, character, integrity, respect and the importance of making a good first impression.
The Hatleys also had strong expectations for their children. Quitting, not doing assignments and being suspended for disciplinary reasons was not tolerated by Andy and Christine.
“They knew right from wrong. At least we did our best to teach them right from wrong,” said Christine.
Christine knows what she and Andy have is rare.
“You don’t hardly see a husband and wife stay together and have 12 grown children. That’s why I thank God. He has been good to us and the children too,” Christine said.
Andy is nearly 90, while Christine is approaching 88. While he is still able to plow and plant, Andy is not able to harvest his crops any more.
Andy believes life is what one makes out of it.
“It doesn’t come on a silver platter to everybody, but it’s there if you work at it hard enough,” said Andy.
When asked what their secret was to a long marriage, Christine said “love many, trust few and learning to paddle your own canoe.”
“Love is a pretty strong word and it has got to be strong to hold two people together,” said Andy.
While misunderstandings and mistakes are certain, Andy said it is important for couples to cope and move forward.
“I wouldn’t give what I’ve gone through for all of my money. It’s an experience and it’s a blessing,” Andy said.
According to Andy, he has advised couples to calm down when disagreements surfaced and assured them that things would get better.
“We never had a fuss hot enough to leave and go home. We had to work through it and stay together for these 70 years,” said Andy.
Andy and Christine said hard work is the key to maintaining a marriage.
“You’ve got to learn to give and take,” said Christine.
“Getting married is serious business. It is nothing to take lightly. Sometimes we get carried away with looks, shapes, and sizes - it’s more than that. You are going to have to learn to love, let some things alone and be honest and truthful with each other,” Andy said.