After 37 years of marriage, you might think – nothing new here. But high school sweethearts Martial and Michelle Rivet insist that every day is a new day, and what worked yesterday doesn’t necessarily apply today, because life changes, and people change – but what a blessing to change together, to always have that twinkle in your eye because you’re sharing life with your best friend. Coming up on Valentine’s Day there’s a push to focus on high romance, but for some couples, there’s always a quiet, sweet and good-humored understanding that home is where the heart is. Martial and Michelle Rivet say they are ‘homebodies’, but you can spell that “home buddies”.
Martial Rivet, aged 62, works at Canadian Tire. His sweetheart, the former Michelle Bradley, who will also be 62 this coming August, is retired from the West Nipissing General Hospital, where she worked in the records department. These two kids went to high school together in Sturgeon Falls. “Our very first date was Halloween,” recounts Michelle. Martial adds, “It was the Halloween dance at the school in Grade 11, 1977 give or take. It was the first date and we were two couples dressed up as the band KISS.”
Both of them are outdoors people. Martial says they have been hunting and fishing together for over 40 years. Michelle chimes in, “We go on the boat as much as we can, and we have 4-wheelers and I really like that too!” They are a tag team. The couple lives on Lake Chebogan in Crystal Falls. They had the idyllic property as a camp since 2000, and decided to build their house there in 2010. They are loving their country life. “We are ten feet from the water, that’s how close the house is,” Martial says, and you can hear the smile in his voice. While the couple may be in exactly the spot they want to be, they worked hard to be where they are. They partnered and supported each other as a working couple raising a family with the typical struggles of people who had to strive to get what they want.
“Our first date was in 1977, and we dated on and off for a couple of years. I went to college and she went to college, and we didn’t see each other for a couple of years – maybe a letter or two in the mail.” When did Martial clue in that Michelle was “the one”? “I was working in Wawa up north and when I came back, that’s it – I want her. I was persistent… I was determined, and she always says I went after her.” Michelle laughs, “He ran after me!” Martial agrees. “I was a pest, just like Leonard with Penny in Big Bang Theory.” Martial wore Michelle down, they laugh at the memory. “It took her awhile to say I love you,” he recalls. Michelle responds, “But when I did, that was it!” So, it wasn’t instant love, it was love growing from resolve and steady pursuit and, surely, some chuckling. Michelle says, “He has a dry humour and he thinks he’s funny. I let him think he’s funny.” Martial is quick with the comeback, “She laughs her little heart out!”
She was 24 and he was 25 when they married. “We did have struggles, just like everyone else, finances, because we had two young children and we were both working part-time for awhile before I got on full time at the hospital. So, like everyone else, we worked through it, sacrificed,” she says. You get the feeling listening to them that it may have been a rough time, but it was the kind of rough time that pulled them tightly together. Martial adds, “We always made sure the kids had something to eat, that’s one thing.” Later he reveals, “It was especially hard when we were both working part time. We even had a time when we didn’t have a car. We just wanted to make sure the kids had everything, but they were young and didn’t know.”