Jim &amp Kathy Bracken

When the buddy who convinced her to go to the celebration disappeared with her boyfriend, Kathy, in a home complete of strangers, realized she had no way residence.

“She seemed a bit concerned, which is why I sat down subsequent to her,” remembered Jim, a cousin to 1 of the individuals whose engagement the spring 1970 celebration celebrated. “She told me her story of abandonment, and I supplied to drive her residence.”

“I relaxed then, and we talked at the celebration till about 11,” stated Kathy. They talked the entire way from Broomall to her residence in Havertown, as well.

“She was a cute girl, so I asked for her quantity,” stated Jim, who lived in Springfield.

They spent their initially date walking about Center City through Earth Week. Even though activities had been taking place about them, they only keep in mind becoming with every other.

“He was entertaining to be about, and I was extremely comfy with him,” stated Kathy. “He comes from a huge household [six kids] and so do I [eight kids]. And we’re each Catholic.”

Jim is a Vietnam veteran who educated as an interpreter with the Army Safety Agency and served two overseas tours. He was discharged in 1969 and was then functioning toward his organization administration degree at Temple University.

“I liked that he was continuing his education,” stated Kathy, who was herself determined to get a degree and taking evening classes at Delaware County Neighborhood College even though functioning as a secretary at Common Electric.

Kathy and Jim met when Kathy’s buddy disappeared at a celebration, leaving her with no way residence. Jim supplied to drive her residence and got her quantity. They have been married for much more than 50 years.. … Read moreCourtesy of the couple

“We enjoyed a lot of the identical points,” stated Jim. “We are each interested in sports and would go to the Palestra to watch basketball games.”

They swiftly became a couple.

A brief engagement and a wedding

Kathy and Jim stood in line for the films on a chilly Valentine’s Day 1972. She was cold. “I place my hands in his pocket, and there was the ring box,” Kathy remembers. She took out the box, opened it, and place the ring on her finger.

“We knew that we had been going to get married. She knew a ring was coming,” Jim stated. “I had planned to ask her just after the film, to sit down and pull that box out of my pocket by myself,” he says with a laugh.

“I gave you a small assistance,” Kathy stated.

They married that May perhaps 19 in a classic Catholic ceremony with a complete Mass in the chapel at Villanova University, exactly where Jim had a summer season upkeep job. They and 150 guests celebrated at Merion Tribute Residence in Merion Station. “We had a band referred to as the Final Exit, which was sort of ironic,” stated Kathy.

The two drove Kathy’s green Volkswagen Beetle to Florida for a weeklong Disney Globe honeymoon.

Married life

The couple settled in Drexel Hill, but not for extended. Jim, who is now 77, spent his profession in house and casualty insurance coverage. A manager, he worked for several unique corporations, and early in their marriage, he was transferred regularly. Kathy, who is now 73, was functioning for the Postal Inspection Service. She discovered a new job and a new college for evening classes wherever they moved.

Initial was Baltimore — Kathy worked in Washington. Then came Laurel, Md., and their initially two youngsters, Terri and Scott. Kathy left the workforce to care for their babies. Subsequent came Chester, N.J., and then — when Kathy was eight months pregnant with their youngest, John — Buffalo, N.Y.

When she went into labor, “I had to ask a stranger, a neighbor I hardly knew, to watch my youngsters,” Kathy remembers.

In 1982, they returned to the Philadelphia region for great, moving initially to Drexel Hill and ultimately to Garnet Valley, exactly where the couple nonetheless lives.

When their youngsters grew much more independent, Kathy took a job at Villanova. She spent 25 years at the University Profession Center, assisting students and employees use the technologies, preserving the center’s web site, and compiling stats on university graduates. She herself enrolled at Villanova — her seventh college, and the 1 from which she graduated with a liberal arts degree and a organization minor in 1998.

Kathy was determined to earn her degree and took evening classes wherever she and Jim lived. She graduated in 1998 from Villanova University with a degree in liberal arts and a organization minor. From left to correct are youngsters Scott, Terri, and John with Kathy and Jim.. … Read moreCourtesy of the couple

Their youngsters adore sports as considerably as Jim and Kathy. They swam at the club exactly where Kathy and Jim played tennis. From grade college by way of higher college, all 3 participated in sports, such as softball, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, and swimming. Just about every summer season, the household went to Sea Isle for a week.

The traveling Brackens

Jim retired in 2012 and Kathy, in 2016. He paints landscapes of lighthouses, barns, and older residences and builds miniature towns and villages for his model trains. She sews and embroiders gifts — child blankets are her specialty. Through the early stages of the pandemic, she produced about 1,000 masks. Collectively, the couple hikes and plays golf and pickleball. They are also exploring the globe.

The household has grown to consist of Terri’s fiancé, Bill, Scott’s wife, Meghan, John’s wife, Tiffany, and seven grandchildren: Caitlin, Finnegan, Patrick, Declan, Tessa, Hayden, and Casey. The Bracken clan nonetheless requires household trips down the Shore, and each and every other year, they travel someplace with each other, such as Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania and Mont-Tremblant in Canada.

In alternate years, Kathy and Jim travel as a twosome. They have been to Ireland, Italy, Hawaii, and all about Southeast Asia (alas, stated Jim, his Vietnamese has grown rusty). They have taken riverboat cruises by way of Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Croatia, Austria, and the Netherlands.

A specific occasion trip

Final May perhaps, the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary with a household trip to Scotland. “My daughter recommended, ‘Why do not we rent a castle?’ and we all laughed about it,” stated Jim. “But when I went onto Airbnb and began seeking for homes that hold 15 individuals in Scotland, I occurred to come across a castle. So that is what we did.”

“I ordered tiaras and crowns for all of us,” stated Kathy. Jim produced a drawing of the castle and had T-shirts produced.

Through the week in Scotland, every of the 4 smaller sized household units took their personal day trips, then every person gathered to evaluate adventures. Every single group also spent time in a different nation just before or just after meeting up in Scotland — Kathy and Jim traveled the west coast of England to Land’s Finish.

In Scotland it stayed light outdoors till 11 p.m., and the grandchildren played soccer on the castle grounds.

1 evening, an individual referred to as up Kathy and Jim’s wedding song — the Sandpipers’ “Come Saturday Morning” — and the couple danced in front of the fantastic room’s stone fireplace.

On their actual anniversary, Jim and Kathy had their castle to themselves. “Jim and I played golf and drank champagne,” Kathy stated.

Jim and Kathy Bracken celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by staying in a castle with their household for a week in Scotland.. … Read moreCourtesy of the couple

“I adore that we laugh a lot and that we’re nonetheless extremely comfy in every other’s business,” she stated. “Life has been so great to us.”

“We sort of feel alike — while not each and every day,” stated Jim. “We’re extremely grateful that we have our wellness, 3 fantastic youngsters, seven fantastic-grandkids, and lots of mates. And that we have great relationships with all of our brothers and sisters that are nonetheless about. We have a extremely delighted household.”

What’s subsequent

This summer season, Kathy, Jim, and some old mates from higher college will cruise about Brussels, France, and Germany on the Rhine and Mosselle Rivers.

By Editor

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