The Larsens agree, each is a great catch
Chilmarker Louis Larsen, Sr. has been a life-long fisherman. He and his wife of 60 years, Mary, started Larsen's Fish Market in 1969, which she ran for years. Mary also spent many years as the executive secretary of the town of Chilmark.
Louis and Mary Larsen had been invited to a Jack and Jill shower this past Sunday for friends of their daughter's. They had a large gift, a fishplate, wrapped and ready to go and had prepared deviled eggs for the potluck. Their daughter Kristine Scheffer and her beau Kirk Safford had agreed to pick them up and take them the short distance from their home at Beetlebung Corner to the party at The Chilmark Community Center.
The 60th anniversary of their Edgartown wedding had just passed with little fanfare and if they were miffed, they never showed it. Their sons had to be off-Island the day of their anniversary and at 82 years old each, with four children, ten grandchildren, five great grandchildren, and a huge community of friends, this well-traveled couple have seen a few things and a missed anniversary or two was no big deal. Little did they know that the party they were going to was for them.
Photo by Susan Safford
Somewhere around 200 people gathered in secret at the Chilmark Community Center. Nibbling on hors d'oeuvres, talking, and visiting were old friends and family who in many cases see each other only at special occasions - and this was a special occasion. Sixty years is a long time to do anything and in this day and age being married for 60 years is most unusual and certainly something to celebrate. Daughters Betsy Larsen and Kristine began planning the party around Christmas. They were careful not to tell their parent's closest friends about the party until just a week before.
Louis and Mary were shocked when the crowd greeted them at the door. The surprised look never left their faces the entire afternoon. Betsy said that she was somewhat relieved to know that most of their doctors were guests. Kate Taylor sang for them and the senior Larsens spent the party receiving congratulations and reminiscing with friends. No one recalls them having the time to eat.
There was plenty of food, a sushi bar along one wall, a raw bar in the corner, a table of clam chowder, lobster bisque and Swedish meatballs, an open bar, tables of sandwiches, stuffed clams, cheeses, pies and cakes. Old photos of the Larsens were on every table. Near the front door, a cake resembling their original wedding cake sat next to the newspaper announcement of their wedding and wedding photos. Up-Island can be a pretty gossipy place and how the secret was kept from Louis and Mary is anybody's guess, as is the secret to a 60-year love affair.