A little ditty about Jack and Inez ...

By Staff
Posted 2/16/10

This is the story of Jack and Inez Lockett. It is a story of young love, of cross-country road trips, of 9-foot snowdrifts, of numerous hobbies and a lifetime of partnership.     Jack …

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A little ditty about Jack and Inez ...


This is the story of Jack and Inez Lockett. It is a story of young love, of cross-country road trips, of 9-foot snowdrifts, of numerous hobbies and a lifetime of partnership.

    Jack and Inez were married January 2, 1937. They were 23 years old. Today, they are 96, but Jack is quick to point out that Inez is four months older—“to the day,” he says.



Jack begins their story with their wedding day, which was supposed to be on New Year’s Day, 1937. “We wanted to start out on the right foot,” Jack said.

    “She was teaching school at a rural school …” he began.

    “He loves to tell this, I’ve heard it about a million times,” Inez interjected.

    “ … The plans were that I would come home at Christmastime and we would be married and go back to Cortez to live,” Jack continued.

    The two went on together to tell the story of how a married woman couldn’t hold a job in those days, so they had delayed their marriage so they both could work to afford a wedding. When the day finally came, a number of obstacles, including a series of sky-high snowdrifts, stopped them from getting married on their desired date.

    “We got into Grand Junction just as they were bringing the new year in,” Jack said.

    “So the next day we got our license, we got the ring, made arrangements to get to the preacher’s house and I had the little car packed to go to Moab that evening so he could get back to work,” Inez said.




On this particular Wednesday morning, Jack is clad in a gray plaid shirt and gray pants held up by suspenders. He wears a bolo tie around his collar that he made, featuring a tiny saddle he whittled out of cherry-colored wood. With a nearly-full head of white hair, Jack is sharp as a tack and quick to crack a joke.

    Jack laughs easily as his wife is just as quick-witted as he. Inez, with matching white hair and pretty in her bright red jacket, points to a notebook lying on a chair. She writes nearly every day—to keep her mind going, she says.

    Today, Jack’s just come home from a game of pool at the Brighton Senior Center. He gets up from the couch to show off some of his wife’s paintings that are hanging on nearly every wall in the house.

    “Inez, I’m coming apart!” he says in a loud, but gentle, voice.

    Inez comes to Jack’s assistance, and snaps the strap on his suspenders back into place on the waistband of his pants.




In fact, the two have been crucial in holding each other together over the years. Inez recalled the road trip they were taking to Alaska in 1977. Somewhere in Canada, Jack began having chest pains, which they would later find out was a heart attack. “It was very serious,” Inez says.

    “I’m the original bionic man,” Jack laughs. “I have two lens implants, two dentures, two hearing aids and a pacemaker, but outside of that, I’m as healthy as can be.”

    Hearing has become difficult for Inez in her later years, but on the whole, she’s a healthy lady, she says. Sometimes, she wishes her husband would talk a little slower so she could understand him better, because “he starts slow with the first word, then just keeps on going fast,” she says.





Jack and Inez met while attending high school together in Fruita, Colo., in the late 1920’s. Jack recalls how he took Inez out on a couple of dates in high school, “to a basketball game and to a picture show,” he remembers.

    After graduating high school at age 16, they went their separate ways. Jack entered the national guard and Inez went to junior college in Grand Junction to earn a teaching certificate.

    “Then, I taught at a country school,” she said. “I taught the lower first four grades by myself. I built fires, swept my own floor and lived in one room during the week and went home on the weekend.”

    They were off and on as a couple for a while, but Jack recalls the turning point when they would decide to be together once and for all. He gave Inez a Valentine one year in honor of the holiday. The Valentine recites a poem and at the end asks, “Will you be my Valentine?” Underneath, Jack had written in black ink, “Huh? Will ya?”

    Nearly every year since, Jack has written a version of the same Valentine’s poem to his wife. Inez has the valentines stored in a keepsake box—and has saved them all: the ones made out of lined white paper, the red construction paper ones, and even the valentine heart he cut out of leather.




Jack and Inez lived in a variety of locations on Colorado’s western slope: in Ouray for three and a half years, in Telluride for two and a half, then in Meeker for ten and a half. Jack worked in the telephone business and the pair traveled to where Jack was assigned for work. Inez assisted by learning the switchboard.

    The couple was unable to have children of their own, so they adopted a girl, Corrine, and later, a boy, Tom.

    They’ve lived in the same 12th street Brighton home since they moved here in 1956. Both Corrine and Tom attended Brighton High School.

    “This was the edge of town back then,” Jack says, gesturing out the screen door window.




In addition to Inez’s colorful paintings of flowers, lighthouses and winter scenes, photos of children and grandchildren hang on the walls of their home, next to wood carvings Jack has made of various scenes including one of a bullfighter and one of a man reaching out to pet a horse.

    The pair make their way down to the basement, where in the main room they have displayed a variety of mementos and evidence of even more hobbies. There are the rocks they gathered on their many trips across the country and into Canada and Mexico. There’s a cupboard packed with photography slides. In another cabinet are awards Jack won from his gunsmithing days, and figures that he has whittled line the shelves of many curio cabinets.

    In the next room is Jack’s woodshop. (Inez has her painting room upstairs.) Jack says he’s been whittling most of his life, but started woodcarving in 1996. Though he’s a little slower getting down the stairs to his wood shop these days, Jack still goes as often as possible.

    “We’ve had a lot of hobbies,” Jack said. “Hunting and fishing were my main hobbies, but there was also photography and I got interested in leather work. I made most of my tools, I didn’t have enough money to buy them—that’s the story of my life.”

    “I did sewing and knitting and the whole bit,” Inez said. “In later years, I did quite a bit of painting to keep me busy, to keep me mentally busy.”

    “She paints pretty good,” Jack says.

    “What?” Inez asks, leaning in closer to him.

    “I told her you’re a good artist,” he says.




These days, Jack can often be seen driving his wife around town in their maroon Oldsmobile. They both enjoy spending time at the Brighton Senior Center where they play cards and Jack plays pool a few times a week. They like to get out of the house to go out for Chinese or Mexican food. “And Pizza Hut has a good buffet, too,” Jack says.




So, what’s the secret to staying together all of these years?

    “Everything,” Inez said.

    “We couldn’t afford a divorce,” Jack cracked, but then got serious.  

    “Really, though, we just seemed to always kind of fit, we both have very much the same sort of background,” he said, taking his wife’s hand.

    “It’s been a pretty good 73 years,” he added. “It’s been a hell of a good 73 years, come to think of it.”


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