Local veterans advocate Dick taylor and his wife Cheryl have been married for 40 years.
Their love story began on New Year’s Eve 1974.
“I had a bunch of friends that were in the military, actually they were all Marines,” Cheryl said. “Dick showed up with a friend of his who I knew, who was not in the military and he kind of crashed my New Year’s Eve party.”
A curly-haired, redhead named Cheryl Maxwell made an impression on a young Dick Taylor that night.
Shortly after, Dick enlisted in the Marine Corps and was deployed.
The two acquaintances quickly became friends.
“She would send little notes, but she would do that with a lot of her friends in the military,” Dick said.
A few more New Year’s Eves went by before Dick returned from overseas to be stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.
On weekends, he made the trip back to Bakersfield to hang out with friends, including Cheryl.
“I got to thinking you know, I really like that little curly, redheaded girl,” Dick said. “She’s nice to me, she laughed at my jokes, she’s smart, she’s pretty, hot.”
On New Year’s Eve 1977, three years to the day after the two first met, they began going steady.
“He made me laugh all the time,” Cheryl said. “He still makes me laugh.”
Seven months later, Dick asked Cheryl to marry him.
“I was hem-hawing around about marriage or you know what do you think, and yeah in retrospect, she wasn’t just going to let me get away with just hem-hawing around, just asking in a roundabout way,” Dick said. “She was just like, you’re going to flat out say, you’re going to ask me.”
“When he finally did, it was pretty funny because it was like wi- wi- wi-, and I just sat and smiled,” Cheryl said.
Dick was a sergeant in the Marine Corps at the time and was assigned to be on duty during their wedding day.
“I had to go find another NCO, non-commissioned officer, that would be willing to, and I think I had to pay him, to take my day.”
The two made it official on Oct. 21, 1978.
“Life’s an adventure,” Cheryl said. “This is something we consider to be an adventure, to be married, and there aren’t many people that are married this long anymore.”
The couple says the secret to their romance is holding hands and laughing together.
“She’s the love of my life,” Dick said.