Arnold Couple Will Celebrate 59th Valentine's Day
According to Jack and Barbara Hogsten, Feb. 14 is just another day to say "I love you."
Longtime Arnold community fixtures Jack and Barbara Hogsten will share their 59th Valentine’s Day together this year, but Jack said he tries to make every day special—not just Feb. 14.
Before my interview with the couple, I had written down the wrong street address and ended up a few blocks down. I introduced myself to the stranger there, who kindly but tersely explained to me that I was at the wrong house. I then asked if she knew the Hogstens, and suddenly her demeanor changed.
“Well, of course,” she replied with a smile, and then directed me to a house a little way up the road.
When you live in a close-knit community like Arnold all of your life, it seems there are no strangers.
The Hogstens are the quintessential Arnold couple. They were married on June 29, 1957, in Asbury United Methodist Church—you can see it from their back porch. They even have a gate on their backyard that leads straight to the church’s property.
Barbara was born in Arnold. Her childhood home was on the property now occupied by Special Beginnings Birthing Center. And it’s in Arnold that she and Jack raised their children, worked and chose to stay for their retirement.
Though they share a romantic story, Valentine’s Day has never been special in the Hogstens' relationship. Rather, Jack said he thought it wasn’t right to set aside special attention for one day in the year. He said he prefers to spread it throughout the year.
“It’s nice to pay attention to someone you love every day, all the time. Not just on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
The dedicated couple began dating four years before their marriage. For Jack, it was love at first sight. But he thinks Barbara wanted to get to know him a little better, he laughed. He knew Barbara through her boyfriend at the time, someone who was, in his opinion, “too serious” for her.
“I was having lunch with my friend, and Barb walked by us with her friends laughing,” he said. “He told me, ‘Now that’s who you should go after, Jack—someone as silly as you.’”
And that sealed the deal for Jack. He pursued her until she said yes.
The two had first met while training to be teachers at the Towson State Teacher School. Barbara went on to teach for two years at Belvedere Elementary School. Jack was involved in various jobs within the Anne Arundel County Public Schools system for nearly 35 years, at one time a teacher and another as the assistant director of school planning.
Barbara was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1995. Since then, Jack has cared for her daily with the help of their daughter who lives across the street on Sheridan Drive in Arnold.
“Parkinson’s limits us,” he said. “But we still get out often. We go out biking at least twice a week. Whenever it’s a pretty day, we’ll go out together.”
If you bring up biking with Jack, his eyes sparkle for a moment. Though he’s 82 years old, he still prides himself on his avid biking. It’s a hobby he and Barbara have shared as long as their marriage, and they won’t let Parkinson’s take that away from them.
Do you know another dedicated couple in Arnold like the Hogstens? Let us know in the comments.