The Gaileys 50 Years of Life Together

This is the love story of Mike and Jayne Gailey who have been married for nearly 50 years. Mike comes from generations of family members born and raised in Syracuse. The earliest were subsistence farmers. Having spent most of his life here, he is grateful his wife was willing to follow him to Syracuse many years ago.

While Mike’s parents were building their dream home in Syracuse, they lived in Sunset, waiting for their home to be completed. His family was given a row of pole beans to take care of at their church welfare farm. The row next to them was assigned to Jayne’s family and according to their parents, that is where they first met. They were only 4 and 5 years old so they honestly cannot remember each other, but it’s a cute addition to their story. Mike’s family moved into their new house in Layton and Jayne’s family followed shortly thereafter. They lived only a quarter of a mile apart and attended the same church and ran in the same circles of friends. 

Mike first started to notice Jayne when she was 15 years old. A few years later, when Mike had graduated high school, he asked one of his best friends, still in high school, if they should attend the homecoming dance at Davis High. Mike suggested asking Jayne and another girl to the dance. His friend quickly asked Jayne before Mike could, which was disappointing because both he and his friend were interested in the same girl, Jayne. Mike was taking a photography class at the time and asked Jayne to come to his house, so he could snap some pictures of her, under the guise of needing them for his class. He took a picture of her kissing a peach blossom. Then, he had her take a picture of him kissing the other side of the blossom. In the darkroom he cut out the blossom and put the two pictures together making it look like they were kissing; kind of like an old-fashioned Photoshop edit. He gave this picture to his friend who of course hated it! Mike and Jayne still have the picture. It remains a great trophy of early years. 

Mike received a mission call from his church and left for North Germany for two years. He loved Germany and became very fluent in the language. Jayne and Mike wrote each other during this time. Jayne continued to steady-date the best friend but enjoyed corresponding with Mike. 

Unfortunately, Mike’s mother was killed in an automobile accident while he was in Germany. He loved his mother and was devastated. His dad still had children at home, the youngest being a five-year-old little girl. Mike had to decide if he should come home to help his father or stay on his mission; a very difficult decision. Early on, he watched another missionary choose to stay in the mission field even though he had lost a family member. Mike decided to make the same decision. It was a very difficult time in his life. Shortly after his mom’s death, his father had a serious heart attack. Mike’s dad felt like he needed to get married again so his young children would have someone to care for them if he were to pass away, too. He courted and married again before Mike returned from Germany. Letters from Jayne helped Mike though these hard months.

Jayne was falling in love with Mike and decided to tell him in a letter. Mike had 6 weeks left to serve and when the letter came, he became troubled. He wanted to stay focused on finishing strong, so he didn’t respond. He felt the same way but didn’t want the distraction. Despite not receiving a response from Mike, Jayne felt good, knowing that he knew how she felt. When he finally sent her a letter, he asked her to be at the airport when he got home. He sent his itinerary which was a good sign.

In July of 1971 Mike started for home. He had a layover in London. His itinerary said that he would be in Salt Lake City around 5 PM but with unanticipated delays it was more like 11 or 12 that night. No one had cell phones back then, so there was no way to get ahold of his family or Jayne. The family heard of the delay and came back later. But Jayne simply waited! After the plane landed Mike started to feel a lot of emotions thinking about the last time he saw his mother. She was standing on the same tarmac waving a handkerchief when he left. He was worried about meeting his new stepmother and five new step-siblings. He sat on the plane for a while taking his time, trying to take it all in. His slow exit from the plane had his family worried, but at last he joined them. He was the last to deplane.

His stepmother sat in a wheelchair because of a recent back injury and looked nothing like his mother. He wondered if he could love her. But she made it easy for him! He met all her children who were now part of his family. When he looked around and saw Jayne, he felt great relief in seeing her because she was the one stabilizing memory in his life at that point. Jayne and Mike spent every hour they could together from that point on. Mike, wanting to test if Jayne really did love him, took her on a walk in the mountains and told her that he just wanted to be friends. She said okay with a smile on her face … but inside she was thinking, “You dirty rat, if you only knew…”  She played it cool. A couple days later, they were in Jayne’s backyard saying goodnight to each other. He pulled her close and asked her if she would be the mother of his children. She didn’t get it! She said “WHAT? … I don’t get what you’re saying?” He let her think for a minute until understanding dawned on her. He was asking her to marry him. They both went looking for a ring to make it official.

Jayne’s parents were in British Columbia at the time, but they told her parents the good news as soon as they got home. They were sitting at the table and her dad asked all kinds of questions. Are you sure? How will you support her? Where will you live and what will you do? He drilled him with all kinds of uncomfortable issues. Mike responded by saying, “I don’t know all of those answers yet, but I do know I love her!” 

Mike was attending the University of Utah. They planned their wedding for the 16th of December 1971 while Mike was on quarter break. After this many years, they have realized that getting married nine days before Christmas wasn’t the smartest idea because it’s such a busy month. Their celebrations get shoved to the sidelines each year. At that time, they had little money and so their honeymoon was a simple plan. They would drive to Logan and then to Idaho Falls (this was before the interstate) and then take a car tour of Yellowstone. That was the plan. 

They left the reception later than they had planned because of all the support they received. With his mother’s death, the new additions to his family, and Jayne’s family and friends it turned into a really big group, all coming to celebrate with them. The reception started at 5 PM but didn’t end until after 11 PM that night. When they finally got on the road it was snowing like crazy and icy, so they decided to stay close. They got a room at the Mauna Loa Motel in Layton. They brought in their luggage placing it on the floor because they were so tired from the very long day. In the middle of the night they woke to a frozen pipe that had burst and they had a foot of water in their room. Everything was soaked! They ended up at Jayne’s parent’s front door, sopping wet. They washed and dried all of their clothing. The honeymoon went out the window, but it was fine because they were together! 

Jayne worked for JC Penny’s and Mike worked for The PIE (Bimbo’s in those days). He managed and made pizzas in the evenings. The owner of Bimbo’s liked Mike and Jayne so much that she paid for his tuition at the University. Looking for medical insurance, Mike left Bimbo’s when he was offered employment by RC Willey. Mike managed the front-counter employees after 6:00 each night until closing. By the time he finished school at the University of Utah in 1976, they had two children.

It was very hard to get into dental programs in those days if you lived in Utah. One day, Mike asked Jayne if she loved him and if she would move to Chicago to pursue his graduate and dental education. She said of course!  They moved to Chicago and lived there until 1982. Just prior to graduation, Mike flew to Utah looking for a place to start his practice and raise the family. 

By this time, they were a family of six. He called Jayne again and asked, Do you love me? Yes! Would you follow me anywhere? Yes. Will you come with me to Syracuse? Of course! At this point Jayne was pregnant with her fifth child and they moved back to Utah. They bought a repossessed house at a great price, but with a 14% mortgage-yikes! This home would be great because they could live in the basement and his practice could be established on the top floor. Over time, their family grew to nine with seven children. In 1987 Mike came home from a snowmobiling trip with his brothers. Again, he asked Jayne if she loved him? Yes!  I’m going to build you a home. She was excited! They built on land they had purchased a few years earlier and established their current residence. 

Mike and Jayne have had their ups and downs. Every couple does. Losing his mother; getting married and learning what love is; the rigors of professional school, seven beautiful children, two miscarriages, a beautiful home to raise their family that also came with a mortgage; Jayne breaking her neck in 2003; her multiple surgeries and the unexpected death of their oldest daughter a few years back are what have constituted some of their challenges. Yet, they have walked the path together. Mike says he has loved her since he was fifteen!

Things that they learned over their 48 years of marriage:

Sometimes both need space. Come up with a word that is never used in daily conversation (theirs is aardvark). When it is said by one or the other, they go to separate spaces for 30 minutes, cool off, and then come back and discuss the issue. Sometimes they had to repeat this process a couple cycles!

Early in their marriage they made a decision that divorce wasn’t an option; they would work things out. They learned to be on the same page concerning things pertaining to finances, their children, their discipline, and the standards of their family.

Two individuals are not always going to be on the same page, and that’s okay, even good. Let small things remain small!

A relationship takes 100% from each partner. Love is hard work, but it is so worth it in the end. 

In those critical courting years, don’t just hangout. There comes a time when it’s good to get serious. Look for someone you have a lot in common with, the same goals and dreams. Don’t put off marriage. Marry your best friend! 

Mike was also quick to point out that his second true love is his hometown of Syracuse. To understand why Mike loves Syracuse, you have to know a bit about his family. His great-grandparents, David and Eliza Gailey, homesteaded in Syracuse. Their homestead was where IHC is located today. They had a large family. David farmed and delivered coal in those days. They worked hard together. When they were in their mid 30s, they both passed away at separate times, but not far apart. They left the responsibility of the family to their eldest daughter, Bessie. Bessie never married. She felt her purpose in life was to be the caretaker for her siblings. Gailey roots run deep in Syracuse. Mike and Jayne are proud to call Syracuse home and its residents their friends. 

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