Lincoln couple celebrates 50 years together

It was love at first side in the high school band room
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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One Lincoln couple’s 50-year marriage was sparked by boy meeting girl in a Southern California high school band room. Melvin and Paula Ewing, both 70, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary first in Yosemite on their July 22 wedding anniversary and then surrounded by friends and family during an Aug. 14 surprise birthday party, organized by their three daughters, son and daughter-in-law. A saxophone player in his high school marching and dance band, Melvin Ewing said he spotted his future wife, a cellist in the school orchestra. “I saw this girl and thought she was the prettiest thing ever,” Melvin Ewing said. “I said if somehow I could just meet her and be lucky enough to date her and make her mine, I would have everything and nothing else would matter.” He said it was a “typical love story,” where boy meets girl and “boy falls in love and girl doesn’t.” “As time passed, we dated in high school, and ultimately got married and had children and grandchildren,” Melvin Ewing said. “I was just one of the lucky ones. As time goes on, I realize how blessed I was and how blessed I continue to be. I just have a great gal.” His mother, Anna Ewing, calls Paula Ewing “the daughter I never had,” since Melvin Ewing has one brother. “He told me when he was very young, ‘She’s the one I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.’ I said marriage is a very serious commitment,” Anna Ewing said by phone from Carson City, Nev. “Not too long ago, he said, ‘I couldn’t have chosen a better partner, I feel blessed.’” Anna Ewing described the couple. “Melvin is easy going, to a point, and he loves to hunt and fish and loves the outdoors,” Anna Ewing said. “She loves genealogy, and she has dug up some real treasures in our family background. I love her dearly.’” Anna Ewing also attended the surprise party, and was looking forward to the chance to see her grandkids and great-grandchildren. “That’s going to be a real blessing,” Anna Ewing said. Melvin Ewing joked about their financial situation when he and Paula were first married. “We always laugh because we were poor but we didn’t know it,” Melvin Ewing said. “We honeymooned in Yosemite, and we didn’t have any money so we borrowed my folk’s car.” They stayed in tent cabins, complete with an outhouse, and enjoyed a big barbecue held at one of the “big hotels” in Yosemite. Their trip to Yosemite in July included that same barbecue at the big hotel, but this trip was a little different. “Instead of doing the tent house and looking at the big hotel on the hill, we spent the night at the (hotel) two nights and still had the Saturday barbecue,” Mel Ewing said. Melvin Ewing credited their 50 years of marriage to factors like mutual respect and love. “Truly we just love each other, and she excited me when I first saw her in high school and that never changed,” Melvin Ewing said. “You have your squabbles and this and that, get mad at each other, but that never affected our love for each other. You have differing opinions, but the underlying, meaningful part of marriage was never challenged and questioned.” Both Melvin and Paula Ewing said they enjoyed their party, which they were both surprised by. “It was beautiful, it had pictures on the tables that (the kids) had scrounged up, hilarious pictures,” Paula Ewing said. Melvin Ewing said he liked seeing friends and family members that traveled from as close as Lincoln and as far away as Pennsylvania. “They (their children) went to a lot of work, and it was just a real lot of memories,” Melvin Ewing said. “It was a really emotional moment.” Nancy Abeyta is Melvin Ewing’s cousin, traveled from southern California, and waited until the day of the party to arrive in Lincoln so she wouldn’t be seen by the couple. She credits Melvin and Paula working as a team while still maintaining their individual identities for the longevity of their marriage. “They have always just seemed right (for one another),” Abeyta said. The party took four months to organize, according to son Mel Ewing, which included keeping it top secret. Mel Ewing gave credit to his sisters Melissa Landenberger, Cheryl Plexico and Linda Tomkins, as well as wife Debbie Ewing, who he said was “instrumental” in the planning. Gratitude towards everything their parents did for them is why the four siblings threw the surprise anniversary party, and Mel Ewing said he is grateful his parents moved them to Lincoln 40 years ago. “The small town atmosphere allowed us to grow up and be independent, strong adults with families of our own,” Mel Ewing said. “They were always there for us, and regardless of what we did they supported us.” Paula Ewing said she “never thought about” making the 50-year milestone, focusing on “just loving each other and our family.” “It’s been a fun run, it has been fun,” Paula Ewing said. “All of the kids are grown and busy and doing their own thing. We’re enjoying them all, it’s pretty special.”