Carl Vetter and Evelyn Pyles are both 96 years old. They each served their country during World War II. They both outlived their spouses. They met in a way one wouldn’t expect for two people approaching 100.
On the internet.
“We were pen-pals,” said Vetter smiling. “We met on a website and we started emailing each other every day.”
Pyles smiles as Vetter tells the story.
“We’re not married,” she laughs. “If we got married they’d take away what my husband left me from the military. So, we’re crooked.”
“We don’t feel guilty and we don’t make it a secret,” Pyles says cheerfully.
Carl sat down at the kitchen table next to Evelyn and looked her in the eye.
“I was born on June 3, 1924 and Evelyn was born Aug. 3, 1924,” Vetter says. “That’s why I call her kid, because she’s so much younger than me.”
Vetter was drafted into the Army Air Corps when he was 19 years old in April of 1943. Vetter spent the war in Yuma, Ariz., as an aircraft sheet metal worker after training in Champaign, Ill.
“When I was 14 years old, a neighbor ran me over with his car. It broke my leg, put a hole in my head, and broke a disc in my back,” said Vetter. “I couldn’t pass the physical to go overseas.”
Pyles was determined to join the Army, but it took time to convince her mother.
“I went in when I was 20 years old, the day after my birthday in 1944,” said Pyles. “My mother didn’t think that was the kind of work a woman ought to be doing, but my father talked her into it. He told her it wasn’t my fault I was born a girl,” said Pyles laughing.
Pyles served in the Women’s Army Corps for almost two years at Camp Chaffee, Ariz., before they shut the camp down in 1946. She worked with the military police as the morning report girl.
Vetter and Pyles began their pen-pal courtship after their spouses died.
“The first thing he asked me was what church I belonged to and I liked that. Not one other man had asked me that question and I knew right away I liked him,” said Pyles. “I hadn’t had a very good experience with dating and I’d decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore but he was different.”
“I’m a member of Short Mountain Methodist Church and it’s important to me,” said Vetter.
Vetter was living in Liberty and had been for decades. Pyles was living in New Mexico. Vetter started enjoying Pyles’ emails so much he decided he wanted to fly out to meet her.
“I asked her what she’d do if I showed up on her doorstep one day and she said she’d bring me in and make me a cup of coffee,” Vetter said smiling. “I flew out to see her in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico soon after that.”
That was in 2009. Pyles moved to Liberty to be with Vetter shortly thereafter.
Vetter and Pyles briefly moved to Pennsylvania in 2018 to be near one of Vetter’s children but moved back within four months.
“I knew within a week we’d made a mistake,” Vetter said from their West Green Hill Road home. “I asked my good friend L.D. Knokes to find us a house and he did. I came down and looked at it and I liked it a lot. I bought it and we came back.”
Vetter and Pyles are very happy and enjoy each other’s company every day.
“Evelyn gets up between 5 and 5:15 a.m. every morning and I get up between 5:15 and 5:30 a.m. every morning,” said Vetter. “I give her a chance to get up and have some coffee before I get out of bed.”
Vetter and Pyles keep to a pretty steady routine. After breakfast, Vetter reads two chapters from the Bible. Lunch is between 11 a.m. and noon, supper around 4 p.m. A movie between supper and bedtime.
“We don’t watch TV at all,” Vetter said. “We like movies. My favorite comedy is ‘Blazing Saddles.’ Mel Brooks is a loon.”
After the movie, it’s time for bed. Pyles gets in bed at 8 p.m. Vetter turns in 30 minutes later.
“I like to read every night,” said Vetter. “I used to have over 200 books and I had read them all. Some twice.”
On Sundays, Vetter and Pyles are at New Short Mountain United Methodist Church. They attribute their good health and long lives to genetics and a sensible diet.
“I believe if your grandparents lived a good, long life you’re likely too, also,” said Vetter. “However, you’ve got to eat good and lay off the fried foods. Don’t eat meat every day. You’ve got to eat vegetables and fruit every day. That’s where you get your good vitamins.”
“One other thing,” added Vetter. “Stay out of the rocking chair. Get up every day and accomplish something. You’ve got to keep going. You can’t ever give up.”