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“She’s the Girl! Celebrating 67 Years of Smooth Sailing with Buster & Noreen Lattrell

Buster was headed for World War II, but he wrote home to “his girl”, one letter a day for one year, eight months, and eight days. Upon returning home the two joined in a marriage that is 67 years strong.
photo provided
Buster was headed for World War II, but he wrote home to “his girl”, one letter a day for one year, eight months, and eight days. Upon returning home the two joined in a marriage that is 67 years strong.
The Square Dance dates always included friends. Pictured here: back row Joanne Gevry, Edna Rivers, marion Hutchins and Noreen Lattrel. Front row: Roger Gevry, Louis Rivers, Raymond Hutchins and Buster Lattrell.
photo provided
The Square Dance dates always included friends. Pictured here: back row Joanne Gevry, Edna Rivers, marion Hutchins and Noreen Lattrel. Front row: Roger Gevry, Louis Rivers, Raymond Hutchins and Buster Lattrell.
Gathered together for the 65th part at the Parish Hall in Vergennes is the Lattrell family, Tim, Robbie, Buster, Noreen, Debbie and Linda
photo provided
Gathered together for the 65th part at the Parish Hall in Vergennes is the Lattrell family, Tim, Robbie, Buster, Noreen, Debbie and Linda

Tuesday March 26, 2013

By Cookie Steponaitis

   Buster Lattrell was seventeen years old and running a milk route in Addison when he spied “the girl.” Walking the other way from the Spencer Farm to school over a mile, Noreen Bacon would smile and wave to him each morning. “I had to get to know her better,” commented Buster. “She caught my eye.” Now truth be told, that attraction went both ways because fourteen year old Noreen Bacon was waving for a reason. “Oh, boy,” she recollected, “I really wanted to get to know him.” While it may seem just like the other day to Buster and Noreen they celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary on March 21st.  They married on that day in 1946 and the couple is still very much in love and calls the past six decades of marriage, “smooth sailing.”

   Buster was born in Vergennes in 1924 and lived most of his life in Addison County and worked on a farm with his parents and siblings, milking cows by hand and doing other chores as he came of age. He grew up in a loving family that stressed work and commitment to whatever you pursued in life. Buster carried that learning forward into his career, marriage and service to his country. When Noreen’s brother went into the military Buster went with Noreen to see him off at the train which inadvertently foreshadowed an event in his own life just a year later. Buster joined the Army in 1943 and served in the European Front in the Infantry for one year, eight months and eight days. During that time he wrote exactly one letter every day home to his sweetheart Noreen and in addition to telling her he loved her he promised that the pair would marry when he returned. Suffering from frozen limbs during his time in battle in Germany Buster was sent to a hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico for four months before finally coming home to Vermont. “As soon as I got here I went to Noreen,” shared Buster. “Then I was home.” The pair was married at the Holy Family Church in Essex Junction and at first lived with Noreen’s aunt in Burlington while Buster worked for Bell Aircraft.

   The couple moved to Addison in 1947, became partners in Buster’s parent’s farm and raised four children, Robbie 64, Deborah 59, Linda 58 and Timothy 49 on the farm. “Looking back at those years,” shared Noreen, “the time sure flied.” In addition to running the farm and raising a family both Buster and Noreen had jobs off the farm. Buster worked as a bucket loader for Walt Carpenter in the quarry in Bristol for almost thirty years and Noreen worked for forty-three years at the Basin Harbor Club and Resort.

   While the pair were workers and family centered they also never forgot to ‘date’ and each Saturday night was a special time in their lives. “We would go out,” shared Noreen, “with Louie Rivers and his wife, Dick Carr and his wife and the Torreys and all of us loved to square dance.” In fact the couple was a fixture at all square dancing events in the area for over fifty years. Noreen and Buster were just recently at a local St. Patrick’s Day Dinner when the square dancers at the event went into the audience for partners. Noreen quickly accepted the challenge and found the steps and the fun was still there.

   Square dancing was even in the couple’s early dating rituals. While they began by going to movies at the theater in Vergennes, John Hart’s barn in Williston was the favorite destination of the couple for years and the music and partnership never got old. Buster, to this day still calls her, “Hey my girl,” and she simply lights up when she talks about their togetherness during the lean years when the milk check barely covered the farm payment and there was nothing left over and the songs he would sing to her at night over the phone. “He and I worked together in the barn,” remarked Noreen. “When he got sequestered for jury duty the cows still had to be milked so I took over."

   What this couple calls smooth sailing for 67 years of marriage is a bit of a rarity today. When asked to share tidbits of wisdom with young couples Buster simply summed it up. “All decisions were made together,” he remarked. “Everything will not go smooth but if you put each other first it will simply be meant to be.”  Buster was delighted to share memories of their marriage and happy that he was able to raise his family on the farm, which the couple sold in 1984. “Everybody pitched in,” commented Buster, “and we had so many good memories.” One special story involved a loved mutt dog named Chuckie who waited by the door each morning and afternoon and went to work with Buster. “Chuckie would round up the cows and have them standing outside the barn door in an orderly fashion for them to come in to be milked.”

Picture albums document the 25th anniversary, 50th anniversary, 65th anniversary and a family that now includes four children, eight grandchildren, six great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, but watching Buster and Noreen together puts it all in perspective. Whether it is finishing a sentence for the other, watching them hold hands or catching a look that passes back and forth, the reason for 67 years of marriage is easy to pick out. There is a strong love and respect between this pair and the partnership weathers all life has to send them. To use the words of an old square dance, “You allemande your left with your lady on your left, right hand to your partner and a grand right and left. And when you meet your lady, you promenade back home. Promenade with your loving partner!” Congratulations Buster and Noreen. May your dance continue for many more wonderful years to come!


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