By Mila Besich Lira
Let’s face it. Dating and finding love is a whole lot different these days.
Prior to the late 1990s, online dating and chatting had not been invented and keeping in touch with a friend usually meant that you would make a very expensive long distance or send a handwritten letter. It was much more common to have a friend or family member set you up on the dreaded blind date than it is today. There were no personality profiles to help you find your match, just common attraction, interest and friendship and in the case of Bruce and Barbara “Tweedy” Armitage it was the Superior Sun that played cupid in their romance and it wasn’t the personals section that connected them either.
Their love story begins in unique way, Bruce had seen “Tweedy” around Superior. He worked for her dad at his car dealership, but there wasn’t a connection, at least not at that time. She was two years younger than he and in 1967 Bruce graduated from Superior High School and set out to join the Army. This was during Vietnam and he was assigned to Fort Richardson, Alaska. While he was there another Superiorite, Patty McKee, Tweedy’s sister was living in Alaska and invited the service members from Superior over for dinner, Bruce had taken Patty up on the invitation but it wasn’t until he read an article in the Superior Sun that Patty’s sister Tweedy had moved to Alaska to stay with Patty that he contacted Patty. Back in those days the coming and goings of local residents was part of the weekly news, how else did the community keep track of everyone?
During the Vietnam War, The Superior Sun would send all of the service members from Superior a weekly copy of the newspaper so they could stay in touch with things at home. It was a tiny excerpt from the paper that announced that Tweedy had moved to Alaska in 1968 following her high school graduation. It was that announcement and her commencement photo that caught Bruce’s eye. That tiny piece of information would change their lives forever. After Bruce read the article, he called Patty and asked if he could drop by to visit with her and Tweedy. At first Tweedy said she didn’t really want to visit with him but after prodding from her sister that “he could help her meet other guys in the Army” Tweedy changed her mind. Bruce visited that evening and the two married in the spring of 1969. “I had no intention of introducing her to anyone else,” explained Bruce.
Forty-five years later the couple has a love story that almost seems like a page out of a romance novel. They have two daughters and six grandchildren. Throughout their marriage Bruce worked for the Federal Aviation Administration; his career gave them opportunities to live in California, Montana and Washington. They have smuggled Bibles into China, and traveled to many places. Like many couples they have had their joys and triumphs along with struggles and worries but they have always found a way to keep working at their marriage.
Bruce attributes their marital success to the fact that “Tweedy is always happy, she is the strength in our marriage.” They both base their marital success on their relationship with God, having a sense of humor and communicating.
Best advice to other couples? “Pick your battles,” explained Bruce. “Be able to laugh at yourself,” replied Tweedy. “You have to assume that the other person has your best interest at heart,” she added. Romance has also been important to them as they shared many great memories of special Valentine’s dinners and other celebrations they have spent together.
Bruce and Tweedy returned to Superior a few years ago. They scoured Arizona in search of the perfect place to retire and after their search they decided to come home to Superior, The two will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary in May.