Lasting Impressions 020817

Lasting Impressions

By Jared Acuna

A special anniversary was recently celebrated for Charles and Charlotte Bergerson who have been married now for 62 years. It’s one of the longest running love stories in our community. 

Business icon of the Warrenton and Hammond area, Charles Bergerson of Bergerson Cedar Windows Inc, shared the secret that upholds all their years of loyalty to each other. Charles, who introduced himself as Chuck, confirmed, “It was a lot of stubbornness no matter what happened. It was not an option to split. Didn’t even think about it.”

On just how it all began, Charlotte enlightened on when she first laid eyes on Chuck. They were both in their elementary days out at the old Lewis and Clark School. He was coming down the school steps while she was headed up. Chuck had stopped at the landing and just stood there giving pause to Charlotte. They didn’t know each other yet, but an affection was blooming. The pair wouldn’t meet again until they were a little older at Warrenton High School. 

Before they became sweethearts, Chuck explained, “She stood me up several times.” Chuck finally landed a first date through a double date with their respective best friends, Neil and Ginger. It would be a date that would prove to be as notable as the recent 62-year mark of their marriage. 

At the old Riverside cinema that is now the Colombian Theatre in downtown Astoria, Chuck and his friend Neil had devised a plan to take the girls out to a couple of scary movies. Dracula and Frankenstein, these were the types of films that Chuck hoped would make Charlotte grab onto him real close during the movie. Unfortunately, the boys would never make it to the first feature.

“He was told that he had to be mannerly,” Charlotte remembered, just prior to her date with Chuck. “Who knew that sailors would drive up and flirt with us!”

Dropping the girls off at the theatre so he could go park the car with Neil, the boys returned to find a carload of sailors eyeing Charlotte and Ginger. “Our boyfriends are here, you’d better go,” the girls had warned their onlookers.

A few harsh words were soon exchanged between the guys. One of the sailors then exited out of the car, headed straight for Chuck and knocked him down to the pavement. There in the street, a brawl commenced. “I suppose I was a little territorial,” confessed Chuck. “Guys were back then. In those days, really, there were lots of fistfights. Never any knives. Never any clubs, nothing like that. Usually, they ended to be good friends after the fight.”

Finally, the police came and took Chuck away for fighting, but not before he handed Charlotte a ten-dollar bill for the movies. “I’ll see you later,” he promised her. 

At the old jail behind the current Roby’s furniture store, Chuck’s dad bailed him out right away. Chuck, just seventeen, only had one thing on his mind and that was to finish his date with Charlotte. Not letting an arrest slow him down, Chuck returned to the theatre. This time, he took his seat.

“The fact that he got in a fight impressed me,” Charlotte admitted. “He wasn’t wimpy or anything. I didn’t like it that he got in a fight, but I felt bad that it happened. He was very polite. Charming, actually. He asked permission if it’d be alright if he kissed me.” She blushed, “I couldn’t refuse.” 

Chuck recalled, “I was specifically advised not to try to kiss her on the first date, but I did anyway.” It was a kiss that would eventually lead them to a wedding day just two years later when Chuck was 19 and Charlotte, 17. 

Their critics repeatedly told them, “It won’t last. You’re too young.” Yet, it was the stubbornness of their romance that proved the naysayers wrong at every turn. “We’ve had some great fights,” laughed Chuck with a smile, “but we don’t remember what they were about.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bergerson’s undivided commitment to each other brought them the fruit of 5 children, 21 grandchildren and a whopping, ever-growing number of 38 great-grandchildren. 

Photos by Lisa Lamping


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