“I can’t imagine doing nothing,” she said. “We don’t want to sit. Very possibly we’ll work again.”
Larry said he is proud of his students. Although they haven’t been perfect students, he said they have turned into productive adults.
“Even our worst (behaved) kids, they turn out OK,” he said. “Poor choices now don’t necessarily mean poor adults.”
The Mendenhalls also are looking forward to spending more time together. Mary Jane remembers a conversation the couple had decades ago when she realized they had a true partnership. They were overdrawn in their checking account, and they decided to go into business on the side to supplement their salaries when he was a teacher and she was a teacher’s assistant. What followed was a successful wallpapering and painting business.
“We’ve had a good life,” she said. “We’ve been very blessed.”
The Ponca City childhood friends have been married 40 years and have been through a lot together. Larry remembers a conversation his wife had with a friend years ago.
“She said ‘He’s as comfortable as an old houseshoe,” Larry said, ribbing his bride a bit.
Mary Jane said: “I meant it as a compliment.”
As they move to the next chapter in their lives, they know there will be more adjustments. They plan on approaching each new challenge like they have for years.
“Larry and I are friends,” Mary Jane said. “We’ve been friends from day one.”