By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

ARDLSEY – It wasn’t the best of times when Al Hindel and Mary Carr married in 1945. The war against Germany was winding down, but things were heating up on the Japanese front. Al was a Navy man (second class storekeeper) who’d just finished a tour at a base in North Africa, home on furlough for a month before heading for the Pacific Theater.

Al and Mary had known each other for three years, introduced by his cousin who was her best friend.

He was a North Catholic High School grad, class of ’38, from Philadelphia’s St. Benedict Parish. Mary was a Little Flower grad, class of ’41, from St. Martin of Tours.

When Al got home they had to wait two weeks to get married under the Church rules of that era because it was Lent, but they finally pronounced their vows on April 2, Easter Monday.

“We went to the Poconos for our honeymoon. We didn’t have a car so we went by bus. It was $72 a week, meals included,” Al recalled.

After he served for a stint in Occupied Japan, Al came home and he and Mary settled down to raise a family. Son David came along in late 1946, followed by Larry, Eddy, Patricia, Joe, Bobby, Louise, Mary, Kathy and, in 1963, Theresa.

In 1955 they purchased their home in Ardsley, deliberately chosen because it was across from the school of Queen of Peace Parish. This was a great convenience for their 10 kids, who all attended Queen of Peace School before going on to Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote.

Al was an accountant and Mary a homemaker. Al never got a college degree, but did earn a certificate of proficiency from the Wharton School. Good at his profession, he became the manager of the Philadelphia Branch of the Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. Even so, with 10 children, times weren’t always easy, but Al was used to that. His own dad died when he was 9, and during the Depression his mother lost their house and they went to live with relatives. As a matter of fact, his own military service had been temporarily deferred because he was his ill mother’s sole support.

Perseverance and hard work saw them through, and now Al and Mary are the proud grandparents of 26.

What’s the best part of their marriage?

“Being married to Mary and having our children,” Al said. “We have a close-knit family that helps each other.”

“I feel the same way,” Mary said. “I have great consolation in looking at our children. They are devoted to each other and can’t do enough for us. We had ups and downs, but we worked our way through. We had a happy, easy life.”

Al, who is turning 90, has experienced some health problems and had to switch from tennis to golf for recreation. Mary on the other hand, at 86, still plays tennis once or twice a week.

Spiritual exercise trumps physical exercise for the family though. Mary attends 8 a.m. Mass daily, and when she comes home, Al joins her in the rosary.

“God and His Blessed Mother are with us all the time,” Mary said. “It’s just one of those things. Our faith has pulled us through everything.”

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.