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Canadian couple celebrate 50 years together

Jean Baker and Sharon Colter celebrate 50 years together.
Photo credit:
Allison Nelson

Jean Baker and Sharon Colter began their courtship at a parking lot in Canada, outside a gay bar.

The year was 1966, and Baker was 26-years-old, raising two small children by herself reports CBC News.

"I sat at the bar for over an hour and a half. Nobody said hi to me. I felt really annihilated," said Baker, now 76 years old. "I backed my car out of the parking lot and was heading out of the street, and I saw this lady, who was walking like John Wayne — she has this big stride on her — and I thought, 'Well, I'll ask her where girls meet.’”

A little intimidated Baker says she drove around trying to plan her next move.

"I never did any pick-up lines in my life,” she told the CBC. “I was always on the receiving end of pick-up lines," said Baker. "I rolled down the window … I said, 'Wanna go for a ride and raise a little hell?' I don't know where that came from. It was just right off the top of my head.'"

The two women finally connected and moved in with each other a day later, and now half-a-century has gone by and they are great-grandparents living in Winnipeg.

Coulter says in the beginning, Baker was in need of a babysitter and she had just lost her job and the rest is history.

But the couple says they had to fly under the radar for awhile living as a couple in the rural town of Garson in Manitoba Canada.

Their daughter Allison Nelson was 12-years-old at the time and said the relationship had to be strictly covert.

"The whole atmosphere was, 'Don't ask, don't tell,' because they knew and they talked about us behind our backs, 'Oh the girls, chuckle chuckle,' kind of thing," she said. "Nobody wanted to say anything about it, but they let us be. There weren't any pitchforks or anything like that."

Allison says her parents did have parties in their home though, and they were always at the ready anytime someone needed help, “All the really great things about me as a person are because of those two women without a doubt."

In the years that followed Baker and Coulter moved to Winnipeg and started a catering business, and have never left each other’s side.

They are a big part of their grandchildren and great grandchildren’s lives.

Today, Baker must use leg braces to get around after her battle with cancer, but the two love to dance and say they will continue to do so.

"We went to my grandson's wedding a year ago … she dragged me around and we almost had to put my foot on her feet to get me dancing. We still did it," Baker said. "She is the surprise of a lifetime."

As far as marriage, the two women say once it was legalized in Canada, 40 years into their relationship, they didn’t feel the need. 

"It's just a piece of paper," Colter said.

On their 50th anniversary of  being together, they kept it very low-key. They say they went shopping and took in movie.

"When we were discussing it in the morning, I said, 'Are you kidding me? We actually made it to 50 [years].' It doesn't feel any different. The whole day just went bing-bang-bong. We were so pleased," said Colter.

The two are planning to move to  Kelowna, Canada in the spring to be closer to their families.

Photos courtesy of Allison Nelson and CBC News.