Robinsons celebrate 60 years of wedded bliss
Sixty years ago today, Mr and Mrs Robinson were married at Cobb's Hill Gospel Chapel in Warwick. From their home on North Shore Road in Pembroke, the two reflected on half a dozen decades of holy matrimony, and everything they've learned along the way.
“I was a salesman at the Bermuda Bakery for years,” explained Mr Robinson, 83, a former construction worker and co-founder of Camp Hope. “And she used to work with my sister. My sister was the one who introduced us. We courted for one year, and I tell ya, that was the sweetest year of my life.”
“Well what are you still doing here?” Mrs Robinson interjected. Seated next to her husband at the family table, the two bounce off each other like a well-rehearsed vaudeville duo.
“It gets sweeter as the years go by,” laughed Mr Robinson. “She's a disciplinarian, but I tell ya, I take it with smile. That's what [children these days] need!”
In an age when 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, Barbara and Mark Robinson are a gestalt reminder of traditions now forgotten.
“In those days,” Mr Robinson added, “I went to see her mother. I said, ‘Ms Swan, I am deeply in love with your daughter. Do you object to me asking for her hand in marriage?' She was very sweet about it, I tell you. She was a knockout, man. She's still knocking me out!”
Mrs Robinson was less romantic about how she fell in love. “Well, when we started, I was already a member of the church, then he came along and he's been here ever since. But let me tell you something: it's not about love when you've been married for 60 years, see? It's about commitment. When you're brought up in the church like we are, it makes a big difference. You learn to not just stay together, you learn to pray together, and whatever differences you have you'd better sort them out in a hurry. You don't hold grudges,” she said.
The secret to a long marriage is knowing when to let things go, said Mr Robinson. “If we've got a disagreement, we can sit there and talk it out.”
Married in 1953 — the year the United States developed the hydrogen bomb and Jonas Stalk invented a polio vaccine — Mr and Mrs Robinson have raised five children together, and can boast of 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“They've taught me steadfastness,” said Dorothy Seaman, 59, the eldest of Mr and Mrs Robinson's children. “My parents are really family oriented. We stick together. I mean, they've never argued in front of us. There's none of that. You see a lot of love.”
“To this community they're known as Uncle Mark and Aunt Barbara,” explained their son, Myron Robinson, 49. “Bermuda really was a village back then. And you know what? We need to go back to that.”