60-year love story carries on

It is a great love story.
She was a young lady from Hudson, Ont., who came with her sister to Fort Frances to go to high school. He was a young man from here who was blinded by the beauty of the older Kleven girl.
Sixty years ago, Ron Anderson and Elaine Kleven were married on the July 1 holiday weekend. They chose to live and raise a family in Fort Frances.
Throughout all their lives, they have spent all their time together.
Together they raised Blair, Doug, and Cheryl. Nothing made them happier than becoming grandparents to Faith Armstrong, and Justin and Will Anderson.
Their lives have revolved around their family, their business {“Betty’s”), and the time on their “farm.”
And throughout their entire married lives, Elaine and Ron have been each other’s constant companion. They have been inseparable.
As the children grew more independent, Elaine followed Ron into the store and the two expanded the business that Ron’s mother, Betty, has founded. They were the first to work—and the last to leave.
Together, they travelled to Winnipeg and other Canadian cities looking for the latest in women’s fashions. And when the boxes of new styles and fabrics arrived, they were like young children at Christmas.
Ron’s eyes would sparkle with excitement, and Elaine could hardly wait to begin co-ordinating fashions for her customers.
The work didn’t end as the doors closed at the end of a day. Elaine then would take to doing the books while Ron would tally up sales of items, looking for opportunities to r-eorder to meet the demand.
The two, in their love of the clothing business, enjoyed pleasing their customers. Some of whom would make an annual trip from the U.S. just to purchase some exclusive items found only at Betty’s.
Weekends and evenings, Elaine and Ron had another passion. The passion of gardening and growing vegetables and flowers. They may have had the first totally organic garden in the district.
Perhaps as relaxation, Elaine and Ron could be found wandering up and down the rows of peas or carrots, removing any weed that grew between the rows. The planting, the cultivating, the weeding, and the harvest they did together, and the bounty of their garden they shared with family and staff.
Ron was particularly fond of growing Hubard squash, and always seemed to grow enough to have throughout the winter. His cold storage room continues to be filled with vegetables.
When Ron chose—well past the retirement age of most people—to stop going to Betty’s every day, he didn’t drop out of the business, but rather chose to do more at home. Elaine continued to go into the store.
Ron began baking bread, and there was nothing that he ever thought was better. And at lunch, hot loaves of bread would be coming out of the oven for each to share.
Seldom during the week was a bread ever duplicated.
Ron developed breathing problems, and Elaine was there with him. When Elaine suffered a debilitating stroke, Ron is there to help her every day. At times, both of those problems separated them while they recuperated in the hospital.
Yet they have chosen to continue to stay in their cherished family home.
The love that brought them together 60 years ago is as strong or stronger today. They choose to live together overcoming their disabilities that have separated many others.
One wonders how they communicate with each other, but you catch them looking at each other—and the sparkle and the smiles of sunshine that melt into each other are unmistakable.

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