Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, November 17, 1997

Spitz and Sophie, together for 70 years


The secret to a good marriage is simple and straight forward, according to Sophie Litfin, 90, - "you fight a little bit, you get over it and you start over," she said.

Her husband August, 89, agrees. "If you ain't got arguments, you've got no marriage."

During their marriage that has lasted 70 years, disagreements happened, but grudges were never held.

Seventy one and a half years ago, August "Spitz" Litfin met Sophie Deidrick at a house party at Andy Artmann's. She doesn't know what attracted her to Spitz, but after a year and a half courtship they were married on Nov. 21, 1927 at the Holy Trinity parish house by Fr. Smalley. "His hair was as white as snow," Spitz said, "and he smoked this big pipe. I can still see that."

They were married in the parish house because Sophie was Presbyterian. Her parents didn't object to her marrying outside the family's faith. "My father let us do what we wanted to do," she said. Her father's main concern was that Sophie and her new husband got along.

There was no such thing as a honeymoon, Sophie said. "You got married one day and went to work the next," Spitz added.

Spitz and Sophie settled in Winsted and started their life together a few short years before the stock market crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression struck. "Those were the worst years to get started," he said.

Spitz worked odd jobs from 1927 until 1933, when he was hired by Green Giant. He retired in 1972.

At home Sophie tended to the family, which grew to include four children, Germaine, Arlene, Marlin and Charmaine.

Even during the Depression Sophie kept the family well fed, canning 500 quarts of vegetables and meats each year.

"We never went hungry," Spitz said. They had a large garden, and animals were allowed in the city limits of Winsted. Chickens and pigs resided in the back yard.

The Litfins bought their first house in 1936, sold it in 1938, and built the house they still own.

During their 70 years together, the couple has also seen Winsted grow. "I remember when the town was 404 people," Spitz said. "It started growing in 1972, and its been nuts ever since. Up where I live,the nearest house used to be up on the hill, two blocks away," he said. When the Litfins built their home, 50 percent of homes in the city didn't have indoor plumbing, he said.

Their married life continued with years of work and interjections of entertainment.

"We had our 'crew'," Spitz said. "We would go out dancing, to shows, out to eat."

"We went hopping about three times a week," Sophie said. "People took their kids along then. We didn't have sitters," she said.

Time has given Sophie and Spitz both good times and bad. Many of their old neighbors are gone. The friends they "went hopping" with have passed away. "If you've got a good friend, you've got to keep them," Sophie said.

They have outlived their four children. Their daughter, Charmaine, died on April 13.

"We have two nice sons-in-law," Sophie said. There grandchildren, Barb and Doug Robinson, also keep a close eye on their grandparents.

They have also been blessed with seven grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and four great-great grand children.

"We sure do love the family that we have left," Spitz said.

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