How did they do it?
It was the natural question as 28 senior couples marked the June wedding tradition with a mass vow renewal ceremony at the John Knox Village retirement community in Pompano Beach. Together, these couples represented more than 1,500 years of wedded bliss.
All of the couples have been married at least 45 years, except one with the most seniority tying the knot 75 years ago — when gas cost 10 cents a gallon and World War II hadn't officially begun. One by one, they walked under a flower-bedecked arch, some trailed by attendants pushing their walkers.
The Rev. Gregory Fitch, the village's spiritual life director, raised his hand: "I now pronounce you are STILL husband and wife!"
The couples brought their original wedding portraits, showing bride and groom side by side as they faced the future. How did they do it? Check out the stories of their lives and love.
Wedding day: June 19, 1954
Their life since: Have three children, three grandchildren. Ron, 82, later went on to become the supervisor of music for Broward County schools. Dee, who declined to give her age, was a Broward teacher and primary specialist.
How they met: Ron was an "older man" — a sophomore — at an Ohio college when he and Dee, who had just started school, bumped into each other at a freshman dance. They had a secret they initially kept from each other: Both were seeing someone else at the time. "But that went by the wayside," Dee said.
The secret of their marital longevity: "He's quiet and I'm not. Totally different personalities," said Dee, who in fact answers many of the questions posed to them both.
Advice to young marrieds: "Don't sacrifice your interests to your spouse," Ron said. "And stay young."
Dan and Eleanor Smith
Wedding day: Sept. 1, 1951
Their life since: Have three children, six grandchildren. Dan, 86, was a Fort Lauderdale family physician for 37 years. Eleanor, 83, was a community volunteer.
How they met: Dan, a student at the University of Cincinnati, was tending bar at a fraternity party when in walked Eleanor, a nursing student wearing a beautiful green velvet dress. For him, it was love at first sight. "I immediately handed over the bartending duties to another guy so I could go talk to her," Dan said.
The secret of their marital longevity: "She puts up with me," Dan said. And Eleanor? "Love and laughter," she said, citing two skills that apparently come in handy when putting up with Dan.
Advice to young marrieds: "Make sure it's right before you say yes," said Dan. "Too many divorces these days."
Rudy and Carol Frei
Wedding day: Oct. 31, 1959