What is the secret to a long-lasting, happy marriage? Anthology Senior Living residents Bobbie and Jack S. credit their 63 years of marriage to a shared sense of humor, deep friendship and complementary personalities. Bobbie says she’s the talker and Jack is the smiler and waver. When we sat down to speak with Bobbie and Jack, they were prepping for a big anniversary party at their Anthology Senior Living community (social distanced and masked, of course). “I’m a lucky duck,” Bobbie said, of her more than six-decade romance.
You’re planning your 63rd wedding anniversary party here at Anthology Senior Living – what’s on the agenda for the big celebration?
We’re celebrating! I still have the top of my wedding cake and the chef is going to put it on a cake for me. I saved it all these years. The lace around it deteriorated, but the bride and groom didn’t. And I’m not a hoarder. (laughs)
We’re going to have a special little room here with my children and their spouses. We’ll have cake and ice cream for the whole community – anyone who wants to come – because they’re my family now, too.
You met Jack on a blind date in 1956. What do you remember about that first date with Jack?
Jack and I met on a blind date on November 16, 1956. We went to the senior play at my high school and then to Allen’s drive-in afterwards. Jack bought me a little flower at the drive-in and gave it to me. I kept it for many years.
You remember every detail of that first date with Jack, including what you were wearing…
I had on a blouse with red and white stripes and black square buttons. My skirt was a special kind of material that looked black or gray depending on the way you turned it. My mother was a beautiful seamstress and she made it for me. Jack was wearing a plaid shirt and dress pants.
Your romance continued to blossom even while Jack served in the army for three years?
Jack enlisted in the army and served for 3 years, stationed in Korea and New York. He sure looked handsome in his uniform. Jack is a good-looking dude!
Jack’s romantic proposal is one for the books. How did Jack propose to you?
When Jack got out of the army, we went for a drive to the bluffs in Kansas City. Jack told me he had something in the glove compartment of the car. I opened up the glove department and there was a ring. You’ve got to admit that’s pretty sexy!
We got married the following April. We have 5 children: Joan, John, Tom, Theresa and Joe.
How did your relationship evolve over the years?
Jack changed my ability to love. It was so subtle it’s hard to express it. It took many years. There was a warmth there that enflamed me. Sometime in your life you have to learn to love!
You always had a close circle of family and friends, what are some of your favorite memories?
Jack and I built relationships with a lot of people. We’d cook steak dinners on Fridays. Church on Sundays. We always had a garden and shared it with people. Our best friends pickled peppers and we spent a whole day pickling peppers with them. Our relationships always made my life worthwhile.
Jack experienced serious health challenges, prompting a move to Anthology Senior Living. How are you both coping?
Jack had a stroke on my birthday, September 10th. Two nights before that a strong wind come through our back yard where we had planted peach trees. We went outside to cut and prune, and I noticed Jack was more tired than usual. A few days later he had his stroke.
I loved living in our home, but my husband was paralyzed and I couldn’t take care of him. My son looked around and when we found Anthology, I was so happy. I love every minute of it here. It is wonderful! They even have Jack’s army picture on the wall here at Anthology. It makes us feel really proud.
You seem to maintain such a positive spirit. How do you do it?
Life is good, that’s all I know. We’ve had so many friends and family in our lives and now this is our family. It’s hard to believe everyone here is so friendly.
Your 63rd anniversary bash is one of many parties you’ve planned over the years. What were some of your favorite parties?
I love parties! We had a very big party for our 25th wedding anniversary. A relative of mine played in a band and we hired him. Jack’s mother asked the band to play the song “Can’t help falling in love with you” as a tribute to us. That’s our song and it still makes me cry. I love Jack so much. And the fact that his mother loved me so much -- you can’t say that about a lot of mothers-in-law.
We also had a big party for our 50th. When Jack turned 80, we had another big party. I wanted it to look like a winter wonderland, so we made everything blue and white. We had decorative snowballs on all the tables.
It’s truly remarkable, being married for 63 years. What are some of your secrets to a happy life and marriage?
I always cooked and Jack cleaned, which was a blessing. I think that’s one of the reasons I kept him all these years because I hated doing dishes! (laughs)
Jack convinced me early in our marriage that I was too good a cook to go out for dinner and I believed him for about 55 years!
We have fun. My kids ask, “How can you find things to argue about after all these years?” and I say, “It’s perfectly easy!” (laughs). I have a good husband.
I really am a lucky duck!
We’re the lucky ducks, having such a warm and loving couple in our community. Happy 63rd Anniversary, Bobbie and Jack, and many more!