While wedding anniversaries always are cause for celebration, one local family is having a heck of a month when it comes to milestones.
Central Point residents Herman and Carole Yates celebrated their 70th anniversary Sept. 13.
Their daughter, Diane Yates Stark, and her husband, Paul Stark, celebrate 50 years of marriage Sept. 29.
The Yates' granddaughter, Lori Pickett, and her husband, Dale, celebrate 30 years Sept. 23.
There must be something in the water in Central Point.
Wed in 1942, the Yateses eloped just before Herman was drafted by the military. The couple raised a family and settled in the Rogue Valley, living in Eagle Point before moving to Central Point.
In 1962, Diane Yates, an Eagle Point graduate who lives in Central Point, married an Air Force-bound young man named Paul Stark.
"When I got married, I don't think anyone did the math or realized the coincidence," Stark says of her parents seeing their daughter married almost exactly 20 years after saying, "I do."
"It was only the second generation at that point, but by the third, you'd have thought we all would have gone, 'Wow!' "
The third set of synchronistic vows were taken on a September day in a year ending in the number two — make that 1982, when Lori Stark wed another military man, Dale Pickett.
The timing means both the Yates and Stark couples celebrated their 20th anniversaries during the same month they watched their daughters walk down the aisle.
"It really hit when my mom and dad were celebrating their 60th," Stark says.
Ten years ago, when the trio of couples celebrated what they affectionately called their "20-40-60," Stark says it finally sank in how interesting the coincidence truly was — and how lucky the family had been.
"We all decided to go to Vegas together ... we were going to see Cirque du Soleil, and my dad called ahead and told them, 'It's a very special day for our family, and you should do something special for us.' So they gave us better seats, right out front.
"My dad has always been a character," she adds. "Maybe that's where we all get it."
In addition to a great sense of humor, Stark says, her parents passed on a love of family.
Asked the secret of a long, happy marriage in an era when so many unions end in divorce, all three couples agreed the keys are patience, perseverance and kindness.
"The coincidence with the dates wasn't intentional, but it is very cool," says Lori Pickett, the youngest of the family's three brides, who planned to travel last week from her home in Colorado to the Rogue Valley to celebrate the "30-50-70" with a huge party. "I always love to tell people about it, and it's special that we all can celebrate at the same time of year, together," she says.
"My grandparents have certainly laid the groundwork to know how to make a happy marriage. Growing up, we always saw how important family was and how kind and loving they were to one another.
"It definitely takes a little more than picking the right day to get married!"
Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.