For Valentine’s Day: A pair of happy campers

Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. ~ Franklin P. Jones

Ed and Norma Whetstone may be the ideal embodiment of Valentine’s Day. The residents of Luther Meadows on The Lutheran Home at Topton campus celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past fall. An active and happily married couple, they share love not only for each other but also in their genuine care for others.

With some help from Norma Ed leads an exercise group at Luther Meadows each week. They also take a van each week to the neighboring Diakon senior living community in Allentown, Luther Crest, for swimming, where Ed is known as “the lifeguard.” People who don’t know Ed often are surprised to learn that he is blind—but he never lets them hold him back from life—or from doing the things he enjoys.

Ed and Norma seem to have discovered that life is an adventure and well worth all the bumps in the road when you are committed to the people you love.

Ed and Norma met as kids in Selinsgrove, Pa. Norma’s parents would vacation with another family and Ed was friends with that family’s youngest son. They would therefore see each other for a few weeks every summer before Norma would return home to Philadelphia.

When they grew into young adults, Ed began working for a Selinsgrove newspaper. One day, Norma visited and she, Ed, and a group of their childhood friends decided to go swimming in the crystal-clear Susquehanna River. It was there that Ed asked Norma to be his girlfriend.

Subsequently, Norma’s father invited Ed to return to Philadelphia with them, helping him to find a job in the city. Ed worked for a few years for Time-Life until the local plant closed. Fortunately, the book and magazine printing business was a booming one at the time.

“If a plant closed,” recalls Norma, “Ed would go over a couple blocks and start working for another one. He was never without a job.”

Ed and Norma soon married, buying a house down the street from her parents. They continued to enjoy vacationing in the mountains and even bought a camper after the births of their son, Gary, and daughter, Nancy. Those camping excursions resulted in a lot of friendships, some of which have become life-long. In fact, they took a train trip with some of those friends to California, enjoying camping while there, too.

They vividly recall the time a skunk walked right through the middle of their campfire circle. Both skunk and campers made it out unharmed!

When Ed retired, they sold their house and bought a trailer, living in it half the year at a Pennsylvania campgrounds and the other half in Tarpon Springs, Florida. When the Pennsylvania site closed, they moved year-round to Florida. It was at that point, however, that Ed began to lose his eyesight, prompting the couple to move back to Pennsylvania to be closer to family.

They applied to move to Luther Meadows and, five weeks later thanks to the sudden opening of an apartment, they received a call that they could move in. The date was July 4, 2005.

And they’ve never regretted their decision. “We’ve met so many nice people here,” says Norma, who says in addition to exercise and swimming, they enjoy attending concerts. “We have such a good time doing things together. One thing leads to another and then ….all these friends.” They also enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Ed and Norma seem to have discovered that life is an adventure and well worth all the bumps in the road when you are committed to the people you love.

And who knows? Maybe their next adventure will involve a camp-out at Luther Meadows—minus the skunk!

By Melissa Kindall
Social Media and Special Communications Project Manager
Corporate Communications & Public Relations

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