Making friends and having fun? That comes pretty naturally for Jerry and Peggy, who have lived at Oakmont Manor for four years.
“It didn’t take us long to acclimate. But we like it here,” Jerry said. “It’s just our nature. We’d have parties all the time when we were younger. When we were setting up our first house, we had parties and didn’t even have furniture.”
“Absolutely,” she said. “Let’s get something going here, it’s too quiet.”
Their happy attitude might explain, in large part, why they are preparing to celebrate their 62nd anniversary this fall.
Peggy catches the eye of Jerry
They first met when they were working at General Motors.
“I was out in the lobby with a bunch of other guys. We used to watch the girls come in from lunch. I saw her walk by with a girl I knew and I thought, ooh, she looks pretty nice,” Jerry said. “I walked over and she had a little shoulder purse, so I tugged on it. She grabbed it and said, ‘There’s nothing in there.’ ”
Through a bit of investigative work, he asked Peggy’s supervisor where she lived.
“I found out she lived only a mile and a half from me. I asked because I didn’t want to run all the way out to Dearborn Heights or someplace like that,” he said.
They finally had their first date at a Chevy engineering Christmas party, were engaged the following May and were married five months later.
Shortly after they were married, Peggy became pregnant and had to leave GM (as pregnant women were not allowed to work for the company). Not knowing where to reside, Peggy’s parents offered the use of their cottage in Algonac.
A bit far from everything
As it was 35 miles from work before the advent of I-94, it proved to be a distant home.
“She got pretty lonesome there, all by herself,” Jerry said. They moved back to St. Clair Shores, where they eventually bought a house in 1956. “We stayed there for eight years, but the house got too small for the family,” he joked.
After a two-year search, the ideal home was finally found in Grosse Pointe Farms, where they lived for 25 years. Later, they retired to St. Clair.
In all, they had seven kids (five live in Southeast Michigan, the other two out of state). They also have 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. “Right now, we live close to two of our kids,” Jerry said. “We have a daughter that lives three miles away and we get to see her every morning. She has breakfast with us.”
Peggy was born in Toledo and moved to Michigan when she was young. She graduated from Dominican High School in Detroit. Jerry was a graduate of Catholic Central High School in Detroit.
Both of them collect items. Peggy’s collection includes German and French antique dolls; Jerry collects clocks. Aside from their collections, they have one more thing in common.
“We know how to laugh,” Peggy said.