By Robert Lucke
This is the story of a boy from Inverness and a girl from Rudyard who met, married, raised eight children, and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last January.
She lived 18 miles south of Rudyard and he lived 35 miles north of Inverness so they never met until a year before they married. And then it was in unusual circumstances. Sort of like fate stepped in more than once.
Margaret Carr's father and mother sent her to St. Thomas Orphans School in Great Falls to go to high school. Meanwhile, Uriel May had moved to Great Falls and was working at the orphanage. They met but Uriel seemed more interested in Margaret's sister, Anna. That December all went to a dance in Chester and Uriel spent his time with Anna.
But once again fate stepped in as both got jobs working at Kiowa Camp, between Browning and St. Mary, that next summer.
"It was the grace of God," said Uriel May. "I ran the store and Margaret was a waitress in the caf. I knew the first thing I saw her that she was for me. In her pretty plaid skirt, she was a pretty little Irish girl. Boy, was she cute."
Fate sealed it right then. They were married on Jan. 24, 1942.
Both remember their days at Kiowa well.
"We climbed Looking Glass Mountain often," Margaret May said. "You know in those days the road went from Browning to Kiowa and down to East Glacier. The present Highway 2 was not there because of the deep gorge at East Glacier. So we were very busy."
They settled down on the Hi-Line. Uriel went to work for Hill County running a road maintainer and was invited to work in Havre that fall. The family stayed in the house at the Hill County Fairgrounds through the winter. That next spring the county wanted Uriel May to return to the west part of Hill County. He said no thanks and went to work for Runkel Brothers Ford garage in Havre, where he stayed for the next 30 years.
For 10 years Margaret May was a seamstress for Patterson's and Marguerite's. That worked well for her because she could do the sewing in her home. In 1952 the Mays bought a house in Highland Park. They live there to this day. Much has changed in Highland Park and with their house from then to now.
When they bought the house, it had no plumbing except for the kitchen sink. Out back was an outhouse. A well on the property served 13 houses in the neighborhood.
"I can remember that the line running into the kitchen sink was down below the sink, if you can believe that," Uriel May said, with an ever- present twinkle in his eye. "I soon got the line running into the sink and we had a wastewater line running out of the sink into a hole right beside the highway for several years."
"And at that time the Great Falls Highway ran right by our house," said Margaret May, laughing.
Uriel and Margaret May raised eight children in Havre. They feel blessed because even though two have died, both lived to be 54 and had good lives.
They have seen many changes in the town over the years.
"You know, when we first got here we could look out of our windows and see the Bear Paws," Uriel May said. "Now you have to go upstairs to even get a glimpse of them."
Both have advice for others trying to reach 60 years of matrimony.
"We did it," Uriel May said. "Margaret was good enough that she didn't ever throw me out. I don't know how she managed on what I brought home. It was really something."
"I think that the good Lord took care of all those things," Margaret May said."
She said one of the things that got them through was thinking long and hard about the commitment both were making to each other, and then honoring that commitment year after year.
"You can't just live for yourself," Uriel May said. "You had to live for two."
God did his part as well, they said.
"When you think of my Irish parents coming out and homesteading and the wives kept from going insane," Margaret May said. "You know, there was nothing for miles and miles. I was 12 years old before I ever came to town. We did a lot of praying at our house and the priest came out from Hingham and said Mass once a week."
Both are glad they are not raising children these days. They had it easy compared to now.
"I think that the school should step in because so many come from broken homes these days. They should teach a lot of anger control beginning when children are young," Margaret May said. "We all have to get along in the world and give each other a certain amount of space."
Today their lives are full of laughter and happiness. Unusual for 60 years? Not really.
"The good Lord kept us on the right track all the time," Margaret May said, smiling.