INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; In this day and age where lasting marriages are mere anecdotes concocted in the pages of Nicholas Sparks novels and failed relationships are splashed through the pages of Hollywood media, itand#8217;s a supernatural phenomenon when a coupleand#8217;s love survives beyond the honeymoon stage.
and#8220;You have to laugh a lot,and#8221; said Alison Hartman, Incline Village resident and adept wife of more than 42 years.
and#8220;Sheand#8217;s always right,and#8221; husband, Craig Hartman, chimed in.
Apparently, thatand#8217;s the secret to long-lasting love: an abundance of laughter and unwavering compliance to your wifeand#8217;s convictions.
Born and raised in Newport Beach, Alison grew up as a Southern California girl with long, bleach blonde hair and a fondness for the salty Pacific seas. Meanwhile, 400 miles north in Los Altos, Calif., a hunting enthusiast and mountain dweller was planning for his future.
Little did the impending lovebirds know their paths would continue to cross.
Both Craig and Alisonand#8217;s mothers attended Stanford University and were in the same sorority, so the families would occasionally gather for football games and alumni events.
and#8220;We were so young then and I didnand#8217;t pay much attention to Craig,and#8221; Alison said with a smirk spread across her captivating face.
As teens, the two met again at an engagement party where sparks flew, but futures were uncertain and they remained a flirtatious memory.
However, in 1967, as a freshman at UNR, Alison was walking through campus with friends when a familiar voice yelled out at her name. She turned to see Craig beaming at her, waving frantically, and the rest is history.
As members of the Greek system at UNR, Alison and Craigand#8217;s love grew amid social events and gatherings, and in 1971 they tied the knot for good.
and#8220;When we were in school it was during the late 60s hippie era and counterculture revolution,and#8221; Craig said. and#8220;But UNR wasnand#8217;t like Berkeley or San Francisco State and#8212; we were up in the mountains, surrounded by cowboys, away from all the things happening down there.and#8221;
and#8220;It was a very fun and innocent time for us,and#8221; added Alison, UNRand#8217;s 1967 Homecoming Queen and#8212; an honor she doesnand#8217;t reveal, but her husband is quick to divulge.
and#8220;Craig loves to tell people I was Homecoming Queen just to embarrass me,and#8221; Alison says, chuckling. and#8220;Heand#8217;s a practical joker, itand#8217;s what heand#8217;s known for.and#8221;
After graduating UNR, the couple relocated to Stockton where Craig took up work as a mortgage broker and Alison taught special education before moving on to elementary education. During the first decade of marriage, the good-humored couple worked hard and played hard.
and#8220;We went almost 12 years together without having any children, so we were able to do a lot of things and it was nice to gain some economic stability,and#8221; Alison said.
and#8220;We had boat and a house before we had kids,and#8221; Craig added, finishing Alisonand#8217;s thought.
In 1981, the Hartmans were blessed with their first child Sean, followed by daughter Shelby two years later.
and#8220;We are family people and#8212; the most important thing in the world to me is family,and#8221; Alison said with conviction.
With a boat on the Sacramento Delta and an extended family-owned condo in Tahoe City, the Hartman clan gallivanted around Northern California often, with Stockton as their home-base. However, as the demographics of the Central Valley started to shift, so did the Hartman family values.
and#8220;We came to Tahoe to visit so many times that one day I asked Craig what he thought about moving there,and#8221; Alison said, looking to her husband for confirmation before moving on. and#8220;Sometimes, you have to do things before you think logically about it because if we really thought it out, it might not have happened.and#8221;
and#8220;We liked Incline because it was more of a community than a lot of small towns around the lake were and we wanted a healthier climate to raise our kids,and#8221; Craig conceded.
The two children were young enough that departing from friends didnand#8217;t provoke much of a protest, and in July 1992, the Hartmans packed their things and relocated to Incline Village without looking back.
The first few years werenand#8217;t always smooth sailing, as Craig was commuting to the Valley during weekdays to maintain his savings and loans business, and Alison had shifted from full-time teacher to full-time mother.
and#8220;It was a busy time for the mortgage industry and I had a lot of contacts in Stockton at the time,and#8221; Craig said of the commute. and#8220;But it was a challenge because we went from having two incomes to one.and#8221;
Within two years, the family found their stride. Craig was able to move his business to Incline Village while Alison served on a multitude of school-related committees and dabbled in undertakings like massage therapy, self-defense courses and participating in the New York City Marathon.
When the Hartmans became empty nesters shortly after the millennium, the kids and#8212; to their parents relief and#8212; didnand#8217;t travel far from the Tahoe motherland. Shelby attended her parentand#8217;s alma mater before returning to Tahoeand#8217;s west shore where she now resides with her fiance and#8212; head chef of Jakes on the Lake in Tahoe City, Scott Yorkey.
Sean didnand#8217;t venture too far either as he lives just down the hill in Reno where he and his fiance recently gave birth to their first child.
and#8220;My only concern is that when we get older, it will be hard to make it through the winters, but you can never get me to move away from my kids,and#8221; Alison said.