64th wedding anniversary of a couple who met as toddlers and married as teenagers

Joel and Carolyn LaPray were neighbors who frequently played together as children. It was customary for their parents to organize playdates for their children because they were friends.

Joel, at 23 months, and Carolyn, at 14 months, met when they were both under two years old. They were good friends who had a photograph taken of themselves in 1941 or 1942, just before the war, as they recall.

When World War II broke out, both families fled to West Idaho. They reconnected after it was completed and both families had relocated to Logan, Utah. However, unlike in the past, Joel and Carolyn did not become friends this time because they preferred to play with children of the same gender.

They reconnected during their sophomore year of high school! Carolyn agreed to go to the military ball with Joel. Joel remembers liking her and fantasizing about marrying her someday.

Carolyn liked him, but Joel thought he was boring. She eventually confirmed this, but only because Joel didn’t say anything to her all night.

In their senior year of high school, the two reconnected more deeply. They began dating in their senior year of high school. They also fell in love with each other.

They both went to Utah State University and decided to get married by the end of their freshman year. Their 64th wedding anniversary is today!

When Joel’s mother found out about their marriage, she dug up a photo of them as children. She had a friend colourize the black-and-white photograph. They were so taken with it that they had it affixed to the top of their wedding cake. “Joel and Carolyn, their first date,” said the caption. Carolyn was delighted to tell the story, and she added that it was also wonderful.

The couple has enjoyed co-parenting their six children. They have approximately 25 grandchildren and possibly 33 or 34 great-grandchildren. Joel has stated that he has stopped counting!

Compromise, they say, is the key to a long and happy marriage. They both had opposing points of view, so they reached an agreement and did it her way.

Carolyn concurred with her husband, saying, “If mama’s happy, everybody’s happy,” to which they both agreed before Joel added, “If papa’s not pleased, nobody cares!”

They had a great time with each other.