After 67 years of marriage, the Callisonsﾒ love has survived a lifetime
Love has been the subject of countless poems, songs and films. It has been analyzed and questioned. What is true love? What makes a relationship last? Does everyone have a soul mate?
For Hillsboro residents Hubert and Virginia Callison, love is simply fun.
ﾓI say we worked hard, but we had fun,ﾔ Virginia said.
Worked hard indeed. The couple courted and got married during wartime, ran a dairy farm and still had time to travel with their three children, Joel, Carolyn and Jane.
The Callisons met while riding the bus to Hillsboro High School.
ﾓWe both lived in the Little Levels District and I went to Hillsboro Grade School. He went to Locust Creek,ﾔ Virginia said. ﾓI never especially knew him or anything, but when he got on the bus, later on when we were going to the high school, thatﾒs when I took the notion that I might like that guy.ﾔ
They dated throughout high school and maintained a long-distance relationship when Hubert went to Greenbrier Military School. After two years at GMS, Hubert transferred to West Virginia University, where Virginia was studying home economics and science.
Hubert was a football star and Virginia kept a scrapbook of his games.
ﾓI was a clipper,ﾔ she said.
In that first year at WVU, World War II broke out and the campus became a military base.
ﾓThey were in Womanﾒs Hall, which is now the honors dorm at WVU, holding hands the Sunday morning Pearl Harbor was bombed,ﾔ daughter Jane said.
Due to bad knees, Hubert was unable to enlist, so instead, he went to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, to become a welder. Virginia finished her degree and became a home economics teacher in Renick.
The couple again maintained a long-distance relationship and visited each other when they could. On August 1, 1944, they were united in marriage at the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Hillsboro.
ﾓIt was wartime and everything was on rationing,ﾔ Jane said. ﾓFriends of Grandmaﾒs donated the sugar coupons for the wedding cake.ﾔ
A neighbor of the Callisons gave them gladiolas for the wedding, as well.
ﾓI came home from King of Prussia to get married, and the minister wanted to talk to me the day before the wedding,ﾔ Hubert said. ﾓThe only thing I can remember him asking me is if I was ever married before. The next day at the wedding, right before we were ready to go in, I had an aunt that came and she gave me the biggest hug there ever was and kissed me on the face. She had red lipstick on. There I was, no mirror to see what I looked like, and I was rubbing my face trying to get it to look right.ﾔ
The ceremony included a sermon with a line that has stuck with Hubert all these years.
ﾓThe only thing I can remember about the sermon is the river coming down the mountain that two branches formed together,ﾔ he said.
Due to wartime rationing, film for cameras was rare. Luckily, Virginiaﾒs brother-in-law had a camera and took a few pictures of their wedding day. The couple still has their wedding photo which was taken on the steps of the church.
For the honeymoon, the couple stayed close to home, going to a family cabin near Renick.
ﾓMy uncle was deputy sheriff and he had a car and all the stamps you needed to get gas. He let us have his car,ﾔ Hubert said. ﾓWe forgot to take a clock or watch with us so we didnﾒt know what time it was. We walked up to the railroad station not too far from where the cabin was, and we asked them what time the train ran so we would know what time of day it was. We spent that week there and we swam every day in the Greenbrier River.ﾔ
Memories of that week are all the Callisons have now because the cabin washed away during the Flood of ﾑ85.
ﾓThereﾒs nothing there to tell it had ever been there,ﾔ Virginia said.
After the honeymoon, Hubert returned to King of Prussia to find an apartment to share with his bride. The room he was renting wasnﾒt large enough, so he found a row house in Norristown.
ﾓVirginia came, she had a small trunk with her and I met her at the train station in Norristown, and went to the row house,ﾔ Hubert recalled. ﾓLater, when I came home from work, she was sitting on the steps, crying and she said she didnﾒt know whether she could live there or not. So I went back to the house in King of Prussia where I rented a room. The lady there didnﾒt want to lose me, so she said she would figure out a two room apartment and we would share a bathroom. Thatﾒs where we ended up and never spent a night at all in Norristown.ﾔ
The couple settled in and soon found themselves expecting their first child.
ﾓWe were playing cards one night and Virginia said ﾑI believe Iﾒve got to go to the hospital.ﾒ I took her over the Norristown,ﾔ Hubert said. ﾓThey said she would be a long time before she would have the baby, so I might as well do something else. I went back to King of Prussia and tried to sleep but couldnﾒt. Then at 4 a.m. I decided Iﾒd just go back to the hospital. There they were, wheeling Virginia and Joel down the hall. He had already been born.ﾔ
Hubert took to fatherhood and helped Virginia as much as he could.
ﾓJoel was a bottle baby, and I sterilized those bottles so much, I made the paper come off the walls,ﾔ he recalled.
When the family returned to Pocahontas County, they found themselves dairy farmers.
ﾓMy dad bought [the house] at a public sale,ﾔ Hubert said. ﾓVirginia and I went up to look at it, and the fences were all torn down, and the cattle were out around the house, and it hadnﾒt been painted.ﾔ
ﾓAnd do you know what Virginia said?ﾔ his wife asked.
ﾓVirginia said ﾑIﾒll never live here,ﾒﾔ he said with a laugh.
Despite that initial opinion, the family moved into the house and Hubert became a dairy farmer and deputy assessor, while Virginia became a teacher at Hillsboro High School.
As time went on, the family grew, and included three International Foreign Youth Exchange Students (IFYE), and travel became a yearly event.
ﾓOver the years, weﾒve been fortunate,ﾔ Hubert said. ﾓWeﾒve been in every state in the Union and a few foreign countries.ﾔ
The family would pack up into an RV and travel to places unknown. Instead of dining out at restaurants, Virginia made sure her family had three home-cooked meals every day. They packed meat and potatoes for every trip, and she would cook on a grill.
When it came to larger trips, the Callisons left the RV at home and opted for the airways.
ﾓWe went to Hawaii, a wonderful trip with the Farm Bureau,ﾔ Virginia said. ﾓWe went to Alaska. That was a wonderful trip. It is so beautiful, so different.ﾔ
The couple also visited a former IFYE in Switzerland.
As the years continued to pass, the Callisons love for each other never wavered, and on their 50th anniversary, Hubert began a special tradition for his bride.
ﾓDaddy grew yellow gladiolas and has continued to grow them every year,ﾔ Jane said. ﾓThey take them to the church every year on their anniversary.ﾔ
Watching their parents go through life together, Joel and Jane have an idea of what has kept them together for so long.
ﾓThey sill kiss every morning and every evening,ﾔ Joel said.
ﾓThey have always made life joyful,ﾔ Jane added.
No matter what the secret to the Callisonsﾒ long-lasting relationship, all you have to do is look into their eyes as they recall their life together and you will see the sparkle that has remained since they met years ago on a school bus.