This year is a very special one for Masonic Village at Elizabethtown residents Carl and Evelyn Hackman, as it marks the 70th year of their marriage.
Carl and Evelyn’s relationship started with a church youth group’s ice cream social … without any ice cream. The whole youth group ended up going climbing in a car together to get ice cream.
Their families knew each other before the youth group social. In fact, Evelyn’s best friend was Carl’s sister; however, it wasn’t until after the youth group social that Carl and Evelyn started talking and eventually dating. When Carl decided to join the Navy, they wrote each other love letters while hundreds of miles away from each other. Evelyn remembers how handsome Carl looked in his uniform whenever he came back to visit. After two years in the Navy and months of poetic love letters, Carl finished his service and came home from the Navy in 1948.
Evelyn said she knew then that she was going to spend the rest of her life with Carl.
“I had gotten over 300 letters from him, and I still have them,” she said.
Evelyn was very mature, and she had helped her mother and two older sisters by working after the death of her father when she was only 15 years old. At 17, she was just about to graduate high school, so her mother told her to wait until after the graduation to get married. Evelyn remembers being quite busy during that time. In the year of 1949, she got engaged in April, graduated in June and got married on Sept. 25. Carl and Evelyn were married at their church. They still attend church regularly, and say they believe their faith in God brought them through all the hardships in their lives.
Upon returning home from the Navy, Carl worked in construction. After working as the superintendent to build the Masonic Health Care Center at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown in 1976, Carl became a Mason. In 1984, he first became Worshipful Master of Lamberton Lodge No. 476, Lancaster. He has been a Mason now for 43 years and has his 33rd degree. In 1994, he received the Meritorious Service Award in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Evelyn became involved in the Order of Eastern Star in 1994 and was chaplain in the organization for 25 years.
Carl and Evelyn’s fondest memories together include moving into their first place with new furniture, taking vacations to the beach in Florida and taking a trip to Hawaii for their 30th anniversary. Carl and Evelyn also had a summer home at Bethany Beach, where they spent many of their summers, taking rides on their boat and fishing.
Carl and Evelyn have four children, who all married and live close by. Carl said one of Evelyn’s best qualities was how well she was able to raise their children. Evelyn is thankful for how Carl provided for them and said his providing nature and patience are some of his greatest characteristics. They have five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
After so many years together, Carl and Evelyn say it seems as though they have been married forever.
“It doesn’t seem possible,” Evelyn said. “Someone asked me, ‘how long are you married?’ and I said ‘all my life.’
“We have our ups and downs, but you get through it. You go to bed, and you get up the next morning, and you ask God for help. There’s a lot of things you can’t fix. You have to depend on each other because there are many sad days, but there are many happy days, too. You dwell on them more so than the bad ones.”
About the Author: Holly Hendershot was a public relations associate at Masonic Villages during summer 2019 and is a senior at Waynesburg University.