Monday, October 14, 2019 - Updated: 12:24 pm
After celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with 50 friends and family members in June, Janet and Jack Mendel are looking forward to capping off their marriage milestone at the Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2:30 p.m. at St. Paul Cathedral.
Bishop David Zubik is set to preside at the liturgy, followed by a light reception. To participate, send the husband’s name, wife’s name (including maiden name), marriage date, the couple’s mailing address and the couple’s phone number to Sylvia Gaudelli at 412-436-0088 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Oct. 25.
Members of the parish grouping that includes St. Francis of Assisi in Finleyville, the Mendels first met in kindergarten, growing up in Pittsburgh’s Arlington neighborhood and the former St. Henry Parish.
They began dating during their junior year in high school, and their wedding was June 7, 1969, at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery on Pittsburgh’s South Side. They had three sons who are now living in Mount Lebanon, Pleasant Hills and Tampa, Florida.
Jack was in the Air Force, based in Thailand, during the Vietnam War and was exposed to Agent Orange, which has caused a variety of ailments, they said.
But married life has been good, said Janet and Jack.
“We argue. We bicker. But we do pretty much everything together. We always say we’re best friends,” said Janet, who is the more talkative one.
Now both 72 years old, she said they stay pretty active with all that they’re doing, including doctor visits, enjoying friends and babysitting their grandchildren.
“Well, our mantra was — I’m paraphrasing it — ‘Don’t walk in front of me, I may not want to follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not want to lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.’ I think I put that in my wedding card to him,” Janet said.
They lived in Dormont for a short time, in Brentwood for 40 years and now Finleyville for six.
On June 7 this year, Janet and Jack went back to St. Paul of the Cross to mark 50 years.
“Some of our immediate family came, and we carried down the gifts. And after the Mass they blessed us in front of the congregation. They clapped and they were wishing us good thoughts and everything. It was nice,” she said.
A favorite bit of advice that Janet has given to young women planning to marry is: “If you think you’re going to change him, you’re not.”
“I think that’s so true. I said it to my daughters-in-law,” she said.
But she adds a thoughtful reminder: “God always gives you enough, but never too much.”