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  • When Harry met Shirley

  • Harry and I met in California, where we both worked for a legal newspaper called the Metropolitan News in the heart of Los Angeles.
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  • Harry and I met in California, where we both worked for a legal newspaper called the Metropolitan News in the heart of Los Angeles.
    Harry was a printer, and I worked in the office, which was my first real job. The office and print shop were at two different locations, so we didn't meet until one day when he came to the office to pick up copy for publication.
    I liked him right away. He was nice-looking, fun and quite charming. But because I was only 19 years old and he was 34, I never thought he would ask me out on a date.
    When he did ask me, we started by going out for coffee, and we hit it off right away. At 19, I knew I was a "woman of the world" and that our ages didn't mean anything, but Harry had been married before and really didn't want to take the plunge again. So after dating for two years, I popped the question.
    I know that's not terribly romantic, but he has made up for it during the 45 years we have been married, which have been very adventurous and exciting.
    After 20 years in the printing business, Harry asked how I felt about taking on a new adventure. He suggested that we quit our jobs and move somewhere different. So we did.
    We have lived in Oregon for 32 years. We first bought a house in the beautiful Greensprings area. Although our mailing address was Ashland, we were way up in the mountains. For me, this was a real culture shock. I grew up in the city. My only experience with dirt was in the flower beds in our backyard.
    Shortly after we finished remodeling our house, we met Don Rowlett, owner of several ranches on the Greensprings, and he offered Harry a job managing the Box D Ranch, which is 120 acres of sheer beauty.
    This was a major career change for both of us, especially for me. I actually thought there was a bull for every cow, and that irrigating a ranch meant turning on the sprinklers or taking an old-fashioned garden hose and watering. My first experiences with a rattlesnake and mountain lion were very interesting, but I must admit I loved it.
    Harry has always referred to me as his "California girl," so it surprised him when I learned how to drive a tractor and take care of livestock, even though I drove the tractor wearing designer clothes, makeup, nail polish and all the flourishes I thought were important.
    During our 11 years on the ranch, I discovered my love for handicapped animals, and we adopted many. At one time, we had 12 dogs and five cats. It was very time-consuming, but I would do it all over again.
    Being ranchers was very rewarding, but along the way we started getting older. After long hours of pondering, we decided it was time to make another change in our lives and move back to the big city: Ashland.
    Our house is no longer filled with the sounds of rushing creeks and livestock, but we now have a garbage disposal, doorbell, streetlights and all the silly things I thought I had missed. We're close to spas, places to get my nails done and all the other secrets I use to keep myself feeling young.
    I must admit I adapted very fast, but it wasn't that easy for Harry. He much preferred the country life, and soon after settling into our new world, we decided it was time for a third career.
    We never did like to just sit around, so we chose something that would keep us on our toes: housecleaning. Our business, Just Cleaned, is thriving after nine years. We work Monday through Friday, cleaning three to four houses daily.
    At the age of 81, Harry tackles every task with perfection. Many of our senior clients are inspired by Harry's determination to keep moving and his positive personality.
    When people ask us how we have managed to stay in love for 45 years, I always jump in before he has a chance to answer with the reply: "All he has to say is 'Yes dear, whatever you want.' "
    Joy reader Shirley Williams lives in Talent.
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