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Celebrating 68 Years of Marriage at Handmaker

by Nanci Levy | Aug 29, 2016

IMG_4451Handmaker Residents, Beppie and Alex Lutgendorf celebrate 68 years of marriage on September 2nd, “the day the new Star Trek postage stamps come out,” says Alex. He has been a stamp collector since he was eight years old.

In August 1945, while waiting for his paperwork to go through to return to the United States, where he was born and lived until he was three years old, Alex went to work for a Dutch newspaper called “Vrije Volk” (Free People), in Amsterdam. He met Beppie who was training him to replace her position in the advertising department. She had been promoted to the publishing department. Alex, at 18 years old, knew right away that he wanted to make 16 year old Beppie his wife. For nearly a year, he sent her American candies, like Life Savers, that he would get from a relative who lived in the U.S.. He would find every opportunity to see her, delivering “misdirected” mail to her department.

On July 4, 1946, Alex sailed for the U.S.. His mother and Beppie saw him off at port. Beppie thought that she would never see him again.

Two years later, Alex wrote Beppie’s parents, asking for her hand in marriage. He was working in the Air Force in San Antonio, and had saved enough money to have a home built. Although he never asked Beppie to marry him, and they never dated, they were married days after his arrival back to The Netherlands. They were very much in love. On September 4, 1948 they were on a ship to New York then a train to San Antonio, where they started their family.

Beppie and Alex have four children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They have lived in several places in the U.S., including Alaska. They used to have a motorhome and they enjoyed traveling all over the country. When the children were small, they went on many picnics and  camping trips. As a hobby, Beppie loved making ceramics.

They moved to Tucson in 1967, when Alex retired from the Air Force as an air traffic controller. They have been living at Handmaker since December 2013 with their rescued dog, Chey-Chey. Their advice to couples: Try to see each other’s way. You don’t have to be right.

This blog was written by Angela Salmon.