To hear Reva and Elwyane Schaeffer tell the story, you’d think it was “love at first sight” but to them it was God putting the right person in their paths to a long, happy and loving marriage.
The couple spent their Thursday wandering around Eclectic Echo down on Main Street in Duncan, however in June 1959 it was Montgomery Ward and that is site where these two love birds met — or rather the main staircase.
Reva, then Brumley, was going to visit her sister who worked in the office of Montgomery Ward.
“I’m from Rush Springs, my sister worked here at the time and I was staying with her,” Reva said.
Elwyane said he lived west of town in Empire, went to Bible College and was working a summer part-time job, he was in the tire shop of Montgomery Ward and he did a little maintenance like painting.
“I was painting on the balcony floor here and she came to see her sister —“ he started.
“It was June the 24th,” exclaimed Reva.
“— was it? So I was painting just over the staircase when she came in and went up the staircase to visit her sister,” he finished. “She caught my eye, she was a lovely 18 year old — I don’t know if I dropped my brush but I know I wasn’t watching my brush as much as I was watching this little lady coming up. After she went to bookkeeping a friend of mine came up and said ‘Would you like to have a date with that young lady over there tonight? We’re having a company picnic’ and I said ‘yes’”
Reva and Elwyane asked to get acquainted before the picnic and met at Reva’s sister’s house and chatted before deciding they might like each other and went to the picnic.
“From there, on October the 3rd was our wedding date,” Elwyane said smiling at Reva.
“The rest is history!” laughed Reva, looking back.
Elwyane wasn’t the only one who noticed the other.
“Oh yes I saw him, I thought ‘Oh who is that handsome man?’ and my heart just kind of fluttered and turned over,” she giggled. “We’ve had a good life, it’s going to be 60 years.”
The couple dated and got married, and Elwyane then finished his time at the Bible College in Durant.
“I worked at (muffled) for a while until I got the call — to go into the ministry, that’s when I gave it all up and began to follow the Lord wherever He led and that’s been about since 1963,” Elwyane said. “We were married four years before I made the answer to the call. The Lord’s been gracious and brought us along together. This stairway has a great memory for me of how we came to meet.”
The single chance at meeting feels like divine intervention to the couple.
“We feel like the Lord planned it for us,” Reva said.
Elwyane said he was older, 22 to Reva’s 18, and had been praying for someone.
“I was looking and I’d prayed a lot about a companion, a life mate — you know there’s a lot of young ladies out there but there’s only one that to me would be the right one,” he said. “So I asked God for guidance, and I had dated and she had dated some. When we met — I know you said it was quick but I felt the witness you know? I looked but I had never felt the witness but when we got acquainted and dated — we just felt the witness and I asked her (to marry) and she consented so I guess she felt it too.”
“A match made in heaven,” Reva agreed.
The couple has four children, two boys and two girls, and one daughter was taking them around to see the store they met in and other important family places.
60 plus years of marriage the duo agreed that they had learned to rely on each other, and to ‘use wisely what the Lord had gave them.” They hoped young people today might be thoughtful in their own approach to love and marriage.
“If young people would pray and dedicate their lives to the Lord,” Reva said. “The Lord has a way of giving us what we need.”
Elwyane agreed with his bride.
“The youthful years … when you prepare for marriage and beyond, I think somehow marriage has no longer become a sacred relationship that is ‘until death do we part’ so we’ve seen days come that we have such freedom that young people … find themselves getting into situations they can not control,” he said.
During their visit to Eclectic Echo Danny Moore, assistant manager, brought out a picture from 1941 that showed the location as a Montgomery Wards which was the site of what appears to be a bicycle decorating contest.
“We found that in a hotel here in town when they were remodeling,” Moore said.
Reva joked that was the year she was born.
Reva and Elwyane both said the staff of the store were “so sweet” to let them reminisce and both remarked how unchanged many of the features in the building were.