- Associated Press - Saturday, June 21, 2014

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (AP) - A couple in Maine will celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary next week, one year after they marked a big but bittersweet milestone.

Delbert McCrum, 91, and his 92-year-old wife, Wilda, had their first date 75 years ago at a picnic on Mars Hill Mountain. They became sweethearts and were married on June 24, 1943.

Eighteen months ago, Wilda had to leave their apartment to get the care she needed, according to staff at the Aroostook Health Center in Presque Isle. It was the first time the couple had lived apart and made for a difficult 70th anniversary.

Just last week, Delbert moved into AHC and rejoined his wife in time for this year’s celebration.

“We wanted to be together, and we are so happy. It’s our anniversary gift this year,” Wilda said in a statement released by the health center. “We are very fortunate to have one another. Although we’d get to visit each other over the past year and half - it just wasn’t the same. I would pray each day that he’d come join me here at AHC.”

And the staff is marking the event in style, with a party, cake and limousine ride to places in the community that are important to the McCrums.

Although they’ve seen 49 states, all the Canadian provinces and Mexico in a motorhome, they still say the best trip they ever took was the first: up Mars Hill Mountain.

“He had actually asked another girl to go on the double date with him,” Wilda said. “So when he came to ask me, I decided I would play hard to get. I told him ‘I don’t play second fiddle’ and that I’d let him know whether I would go with him or not after school to make him wait.”

“I told her: ‘So don’t play second fiddle, play first fiddle and join me.’ So she did, and I knew then she was the one,” Delbert said.

The couple lived on the family farm in Mars Hill, raising five children. They have 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

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