Longtime Livermore residents Marge and Art Bischofberger have married life pretty well figured out after 70 years together.
With a big celebration with their three children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren planned for July, they recently pondered what keeps them going strong after all these years.
"Our temperaments are pretty compatible," said Art. "We don't get in too many arguments."
Marge is 91, and Art is 93. They live independently at home, drive and keep an immaculate yard and house -- not a blade of grass out of place, a burgeoning tomato garden and Art's lawn mower looking better taken care of than most cars.
"Yard work always comes first," said Marge. "We are very proud of our yard."
When they met they were residents of Oakland. They met at a church young adult group and never looked back. Art was a young policeman, and Marge was a school secretary. Art worked as an Oakland policeman until two racing cars slammed into his patrol car at high speeds and his back was injured. Although he wanted to continue working, after 25 years on the force he was forced to retire. Although he missed police work, he certainly has made the best of his retirement.
"We've basically been everywhere in the world we have wanted to go. We've been to China, Africa, Russia, Europe. Pretty much everywhere."
The Bischofbergers were able to travel for free because they organized large trips, planning every detail down to games on the bus. Their trips were so popular, they often had 30-40 eager companions on their journeys. Through groups such as Sons in Retirement and golfing teams, they have tried to keep connected and active while having fun. They also keep their brains sharp by playing cards together, and Art still plays poker and blackjack at casinos. He's currently trying to figure out the trick to the number puzzle game Sudoku. So am I, Art.
Not that retirement has been all fun and games. Art basically started a new career in Livermore as the unofficial handyman of Vancouver Way. He can fix "just about anything," and pointed out the many construction projects he's done over the years on his home.
They moved to Livermore in 1969, soon after his retirement from the police force, and their son Paul went to Granada High. Their two daughters were already out of high school at the time. Marge started working for Fifth Street School as a secretary until she also retired in 1976.
They say they couldn't imagine a better place to live than Livermore. They enjoy the local parks such as Del Valle and love to get outdoors as much as possible. Their children don't live too far away and come to Livermore at least once a month, as do their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Art and Marge also were also avid golfers until Marge recently hurt her shoulder.
Marge said their long, active life has been amazing, but its been sad to outlive so many of their close friends.
"Most people we know are sick, have problems, lost spouses or are gone by now," said Marge. "That's the hard part, losing your friends -- but having a family like we have is the good part."
Any tips for marriage newbies such as myself?
"We cherish every day," said Marge.
"You've both got to work hard at it," said Art.
Contact Patrick Brown at email@example.com.