Home Celebrations When Marriages and Toasters Were Built to Last

When Marriages and Toasters Were Built to Last


My favorite couple in 1953.

My parents are about to celebrate 58 years together, an anniversary also shared with one of their favorite wedding gifts,  a 1953 Sunbeam T-20 toaster. I’m happy to say both the marriage and toaster are still in fine working order.

The T-20 toaster was billed as Automatic Beyond Belief. Simply pop in the bread and watch it magically descend into the glowing gallows, only to rise perfectly browned minutes later.  It’s technology like this that won the space race and the hearts of cinnamon-sugar toast lovers everywhere.  Marriages, unlike toasters, are not automatic. I’ve witnessed over fifty years of giving and taking and laughing and crying between my parents, and one thing remains constant: their commitment to and love for each other.

T-20 ToasterT-20 Sunbeam ToasterShining brightly for the last 58 years (both the toaster and the couple).

If you don’t think times have changed, my mother and father had to wait four years to get married because my father’s football scholarship disallowed it. With the last bowl game under his belt and the pigskin retired, the wedding was on and their  journey together began.

My father, a man of few words, likes to chide my mother with, “Maxine, you’d drive a normal man nuts.” My mother counters with a smile and the last word,  “Yes Dear, it’s a good thing you’re not normal.”

This was also the father, who called me when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer*, and said, “I can’t imagine my life without her.” For a man who thinks “pretty good” is the ultimate compliment and a handshake is better than a hug, the crack in his voice spoke volumes.  (This will likely embarrass him and I will be out of the will, but so be it.)

Bundled up last July, Mom and Dad taking in the festivities of Vashon Island’s Strawberry Festival.

While a blog post doesn’t do justice to lives and loves as rich as theirs, it’s perhaps a little reminder to always celebrate the people we love, and to go out on a limb and tell them so. One thing’s for sure, this is an anniversary that my sister, brother and I are always grateful for.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

*My mother is also celebrating her 35th year as a breast cancer survivor, a milestone and blessing we never take for granted.


  1. Happy anniversary to your lovely parents !
    Larry and I still use his parents’ Sunbeam toaster ; my parents had one too.. they are the best ! Hope this is a predictor of our longevity …

  2. As one who has been married 31 years to a man who also thinks “pretty good” is a high compliment, my hat is off to your parents! 58 years is an inspiring achievement. Happy anniversary to both of them.

  3. Tom,
    Thanks for sharing these personal notes. Nowadays few things remain as in those times when your parents were married. You are blessed my friend you still have you parents with you. enjoy them.

    I almost cry. I miss my dad badly. Gone at the young age of 51.

  4. Hi Tom

    That was a beautiful way of showing your parents how much you really care. As your cousin, I can remember several of the events you mentioned. Life is to short to not to seize the moment. My parents are going on 52 years and it takes two, giving and taking to make it work. By the way your rhubarb looks fantastic.
    Congratulations to Uncle Bob and Aunt Maxine may they have many more. Keep in touch.
    Love ya
    Jeff and Lisa


  5. Congratulations to Maxine and Bob! It sounds as though you were blessed with wonderful parents (and I’m thinking they were probably blessed with 3 wonderful kids). Our wedding toaster (along with an electric can opener) was stolen from our first house, so we’ll never know its longevity ;-(

  6. Tom, what a lovely post. You are indeed a lucky man, to have such wonderful parents still with you!
    You are so right, life is too short, we need to treasure each and every moment. Congrats to your parents 58th Anniversary!

  7. Ha ha! I was intrigued to read by your title of this post. This week, my hubbie and I will be celebrating the small milestone of 10 years of wedded bliss and thinking back, we’ve been through 4 toasters. The one we were gifted on our wedding never worked, unless one happens to like burnt bread. 🙂 Good thing the quality of toaster isn’t a predictor of maritial longevity.

    On a serious note, many thanks to your parents for their beautiful example of commitment and love for one another and congratulations to them and the rest of your family on their achievement! Good guys win–hooray!

  8. Tom, thanks for stopping by and your kind comments. You live in a favorite and most beautiful part of our world. I have been flipping through your blog and I am sure I will be back. A beautiful tribute to your parents. Susan

  9. Tom, what a lovely tribute. Your parents are an inspiration for us all. BTW, you attended my wedding – 23 years ago on Feb 5 – and I would have liked a toaster….

  10. This post and the one for your mom’s birthday are truly special. My guess is that you could not have given them a better gift…

  11. Wonderful post!! Really loved the pictures. Great way to start the day. I am just heading over to make kielbasa sausage with my neighbor, from hogs that she raised – also a timeless sort of thing. That is wonderful about your Mom’s great health. Cheers to you all – Bonnie

  12. Also, interestingly enough, Dryke and I are still using the toaster we bought more than 15 years ago, shortly after our wedding. It looks horrible and we’re thinking about replacing it, but maybe we should keep it.

  13. what a wonderful anniversary gift to your parents..it’s always nice to know that children take note of the things their parents do right.

    on a side note, i’m dying to know where your dad played football…we’re huge college football fans at my house (roll tide!).


  14. Oh, this is lovely. Both photos are as sweet as can be (though I too would like to see the toaster as well). My sweetie and I are celebrating 40 years on May 1 this year, and I can’t say what number toaster we are on. Oddly, we got 3 toasters as wedding gifts, but no teakettle. A friend who got married about the same time got 3 teakettles but no toaster. So we traded, a teakettle for a toaster. I think we got the best appliance, because although the toaster is no longer with us, we are still together, while my friend divorced after a mere 10 years or less. What is it with toasters?
    A beautiful tribute.

  15. Thanks everyone for the kind words and well wishes, truly appreciated.

    As for the toaster, I’ll request a pic from Mom so all can see the magic little appliance.

  16. Tom, this was a very touching post. I’ve been looking through your others with pleasure and will plan to be back regularly to see what’s new.
    Your island neighbour to the North,

  17. Even though you said a blog post couldn’t do them justice, I think it did, and quite well. Congratulations to your folks for being together for so long, and to your mom for being a survivor.

  18. Beautiful Tom. Happy Anniversary to the P’s…what a loving tribute…they must beam with pride reading your words and feeling your emotion and gratitude. I must admit, a bit misty here in Florida. We must meet when next your visit. I just love them already! xo

  19. What a sweet tribute to your folks…nice to finally see who created you! Congrats to them.
    I have the exact same toaster, I bought it on Ebay after using this toaster at my friend’s parents house…they also got their toaster as their wedding present.
    Best toaster ever, it makes a REAL piece of toast.

  20. Happy 59th Anniversary to Maxine and Bob. Wow that’s a really old toaster ha ha. Your family has been blessed in a 1000 ways; hope for many more.

  21. This is a beautiful post. I am very happily married and the mother of two young children. I am also going through treatment for breast cancer. This gives me hope that in 40 years one of my children will be inspired to tell the same tale that you do here! Blessings.


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