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Palmerton couple marks 70th anniversary

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    Arlene and Merritt Berger of Palmerton smiling after they reflected on the memories they created during their 70 years of marriage. HUNTRE KEIP/TIMES NEWS

Published June 18. 2019 12:38PM

Every story is special, especially a love story. One local couple embarks on a new chapter – 70 years and five generations later.

Merritt and Arlene (Livengood) Berger of Palmerton are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary today.

The two were married on June 18, 1949 — approximately nine months after they started dating. This love story began when they were only 17 years old.

Arlene and one of Merritt’s brothers were in the same class together while attending Palmerton Area High School. Merritt, who wasn’t attending school during this time, asked his brother if he could ask Arlene to the Halloween Social on his behalf, and the young teenagers went together. The next day, the brother asked Arlene if Merritt could take her out again.

“And the rest was history,” said Kristine Skates, their granddaughter.

The couple grew up together and took on life’s greatest challenges.

Merritt worked different jobs from the Keystone Lamp Factory in Slatington, Bethlehem Steel for 32 years and worked for Arlene’s father at Livengood Excavators. Merritt enjoyed the excavating business so much, he formed his own company. His company excavated one of the longest ski trails at Blue Mountain Ski resort in Palmerton.

Arlene worked as a sewing machine operator in two different clothing factories in Palmerton, but also played an extensive role in the billing department of Merritt’s business.

Their teamwork expanded as they raised their children together, often attending family reunions and church picnics. They have been blessed with three children, six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren — with the fifth due in July, on the same day as Arlene’s birthday. The new addition, expected to be a girl, will be named after her.

The large family lives throughout the United States, which allowed the couple to explore new places in South Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas and Colorado. In the early years of their retirement, they enjoyed traveling to Lake Okeechobee, Florida, where they went camping and fishing.

When asked what the key to a lasting marriage is, the couple chuckled.

“Lots of love and hard work. We get into fights, but we get over it. You can’t just walk away,” Arlene said.

Laughter aside, their love and respect for each other has served as an example for other members in the family.

“Their love serves as a testament for my husband and I,” Kristine said. “To just love each other through the good times and the bad. They are certainly a legacy in the family.”

Along with some family members, the couple celebrated on Sunday at the Cracker Barrel – one of Merritt’s favorite restaurants.

In celebration of their marriage, their family would like to honor them with a card shower. Cards may be sent to 4060 Fireline Road, Palmerton, PA 18071.

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