Pete and Betty were raised on Wilmington farms, and met at Wilmington schools. They both graduated from Wilmington High School in 1946, and Pete went on to graduate from Vermont School of Agriculture a year later, and serve in the Vermont National Guard. The young Wilmingtonians would eventually wed on November 2, 1952 at Brattleboro Baptist Church. They moved into what Betty refers to as “the little house,” a tiny structure on what is now Dover Road. The newlyweds began building the house they have lived in for 59 years to the left of the little house, beginning with a basic square floor plan.
The Adamses built the house with only the help of friends and family, moving into the house in December 1953. As their family grew, they continued to add on to the house, including a second story, as well as an enclosed porch.
Betty worked for New England Telephone, while Pete worked for a plumbing company until 1960 when he started his own plumbing and heating business, working from a shop he built next to his house. He ran the business until retiring in 1998. Both stayed active in the growth of the community through the years. Peter was a member of the original Wilmington zoning board, while Betty was on the building committee for the Deerfield Valley Elementary School.
“A lot has changed” Pete explains. “The roads are blacktopped, wider, and faster, and now there’s only one farm in town. When we were growing up that’s all we had was farms; then they left and the new economy is the tourists.”
The Adamses always made time to travel, and with three children and four grandchildren, they have used their recent years of travel to visit them. “Our first trip was across the ocean to Germany, and I’m scared of heights and water, but I braved it and also braved a trip in a helicopter through the Grand Canyon,” said Betty.
In recent years, Betty and Pete have kept to the ground, and up until this year, used their camper to drive across the country, and visit destinations they love.
In retirement, Pete has spent time building and selling wooden canoes, vintage truck models, and patio furniture, including a pair of picnic tables and benches for the Jacksonville General Store.
Betty is known to friends as the “Baked Bean Queen” for her beans, made with the darkest syrup she can find.
Both say life, their town, and the country have changed over their six decades together. Betty says there has been a decrease in understanding and respect for others and their property. Pete says that since his days on the zoning board, too many regulations and departments in government try to make life good and fair but end up making life harder.
When you ask the Adamses what the secret to a long marriage is, they’ll tell you it’s not hard. “Keep tolerating,” said Peter, coaxing a playful slap on the arm from Betty. “We have our arguments, but you know what? Forget it. Go on to tomorrow.”