From old family photos hanging on the wall to the cherished heirloom furniture that graces the home of Palestine couple Orrin and Ruby Shaid, it is easy to tell there is a lot of love there.

In fact, there is almost 70 years of it.

The couple, who will celebrate their 69th anniversary May 6, can recall the day they met like it was yesterday.

“He was friends with Ralph Moore, the brother of one of my good friends, Elizabeth Moore,” Ruby Shaid said. “We just always seemed to be in the same places, at the same parties.”

The couple began courting in 1935 after Orrin finished school and they were married in 1937 at the Fairfield courthouse.

“We didn’t do a lot of dating back then,” Ruby said. “Most of us were too poor.”

Both Orrin and Ruby Shaid fondly recall what it was that made them fall in love with each other. For Mr. Shaid, it was Ruby’s beautiful, long curls.

“She was pretty — her curly hair flowed down below her waist,” he said. “She is still a pretty lady.”

For Ruby, it was Orrin’s stability that led her to make that lifelong commitment to him.

“Times were hard — my parents were divorced,” she said. “Orrin offered me the stability I needed.”

Off to a great new start the couple built and moved into their first and current home on Alabama Street within three months of marriage.

“We bought the 3.89 acres of land from my dad and built the house for $1,000,” Orrin Shaid said. “We still own three of the family lots and rent out a house down the street.”

Over the years, the family’s home has expanded both out and up to better accommodate the Shaid family — with very special pieces of Palestine history gracing their front porch.

“The contractor found some columns in a junk yard that used to be light posts on Spring Street,” Ruby Shaid said. “We bought them for $2.50 a piece and are very proud to have them as part of our home.”

Both retired, the Shaids have an extensive work history.

Orrin Shaid got his start in the working world at Palestine’s Fotopulos Shoe Shop and worked for a railway company before being hired on by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad.

After 20 years with the railroad, Mr. Shaid spent just over 14 more years working for Tyler Kelly-Springfield Tire before retiring in 1983.

Mrs. Shaid in the mean time, spent the first several years of marriage in their home, selling milk, butter and eggs to supplement the family income and raising their two children, Annette and Orrin Jr.

Her first job outside the home was with the Missouri-Pacific Railroad where she spent 14 years before moving on to the Houston insurance company, Cravens, Dargan Insurance.

“I retired from the insurance company in 1987 after more than 23 years there,” she said. “All that time I stayed in Houston during the week and maintained our Palestine home on the weekends.”

The couple now claim a very contented life, spending time together gardening, watching television and just taking care of each other.

“We are so proud of the life that we lived and the life we are living right now,” Ruby Shaid said. “We live in a quiet neighborhood, with nice neighbors that will do anything for us — and we will do the same for them.”

As to the secret of their happy marriage, the Shaids say that unity has been a key ingredient in their contented life together.

“We were both always going in the same direction,” Ruby said. “We worked together in everything we did.

“The saying, ‘United we stand, divided we fall,’ always meant a lot to me,” she continued. “If you are going you share your lives together, you need to share everything.”


Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at

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