Note: The following story appeared March 12 in the Mount Shasta Herald and was written by Skye Kincade.
“Find out what your wife wants and get it for her.” That’s Charlie Moss’s advice to others who want a lasting and happy marriage like his with Doris.
The prominent Mount Shasta couple (celebrated) their 70th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, March 17. Charlie, a retired Caltrans engineer, and Doris, who founded Doris Moss Realty in 1970 have never had a “real argument,” Doris said. She stressed politeness as the key to a successful marriage and said it’s important for couples to “honor each other.”
“Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you don’t have to be polite,” said Doris, 87. “I don’t see a lot of politeness out there today.”
Doris and Charlie, 92, were married in Reno, Nevada in 1951 at the ages of 17 and 22 after “going together” for a year and a half. They met at a dance in Anderson held during the county fair.
The couple will celebrate their platinum anniversary next week with a small dinner party hosted by their children: Ann Ohlund, who lives in Yreka, and their son, Charlie, who lives in Weed.
The Mosses have four grandchildren and five great grandchildren, most of whom live nearby.
There isn’t much data on how many couples reach their 70th anniversary, but it’s clear that few do.
A 2009 Census report found that just 6% of currently married couples reach their golden, or 50th, wedding anniversary, up 1 or 2 percentage points from 1996. Researchers believe this reflected both the leveling of divorce rates as well as life expectancy increases.
Charlie’s father was also an engineer for the state of California. When he was a child, Charlie and his family moved around to many different places in the North State as various roads were built from Red Bluff to the Oregon border, living in motels and construction camps.
But when Charlie was born, his dad took his mother to Anderson so Charlie could be born in the same hospital where he had been.
When he was three days old, Charlie’s father picked them up from the hospital and brought them home to a highway construction camp in Sweetbriar.
Charlie began working for what is now Caltrans when he was a high school sophomore in 1945, during World War II. At that time, men too young to be deployed worked in a variety of jobs usually reserved for adults. He went to college in Chico and later at the University of Reno, Nevada where he got his civil engineering degree.
In the early years of their marriage, like his father, Charlie traveled often as he supervised the construction of various highways and roads. While he traveled, Doris stayed home with their two children in Redding “to give them consistency,” she said.
One day Charlie came home and asked how she’d feel about moving to Mount Shasta if it meant that he could stay home.
“I said, let’s do it,” Doris said.
Soon after their conversation, Doris told her neighbor that she was moving, and that she was going to put their house on the market.
“Our neighbor bought it,” Doris laughed.
“It was her first sale,” Charlie added proudly.
Doris and Charlie moved to Mount Shasta in December of 1962 and have now lived in the community for more than 50 years. Charlie supervised the construction of Interstate 5 from Dunsmuir to the Oregon border and retired at the age of 50. “My whole life has been about building roads,” Charlie said.
Doris sold Doris Moss Realty to Paul Engstrom and Randy McDonald about 25 years ago and the agency retained her name until last year, when it was rebranded as Shasta Real Estate Group.
After retirement, the couple enjoyed traveling together. They skied in Europe and visited Mexico. Charlie took his son Charlie to Switzerland on his 40th birthday, and they took Ann to Germany and Austria to ski on her 40th birthday.
“We have to keep it balanced, you know,” Doris laughed.
Doris said marriage is about building happiness, especially when you raise a family. She said another secret to her marriage’s success is making sure to keep hurtful words in.
“Lots of times, you want to say something. But later you’ll have to eat those words, and they create a scar on the other person. Even if you ask for forgiveness, those words are still there,” she said.
Charlie still holds the door open for Doris, who he affectionately calls “mama.” Doris explained that she and their grandchildren call Charlie “papa.”
“God has been good. He’s blessed us so much,” said Doris.
“We are still in love with each other,” Charlie said. “That’s the best part. It does not seem like hardly any time has passed at all.”
“It flies by,” Doris agreed.
Chelcey Adami from The Californian contributed to this report.