COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) - It was more than 70 years ago that a handsome young sailor stole the heart of a teenage girl.
Jan Almond was at the movie theater with her grandmother in downtown San Francisco when she was approached by a sailor, not knowing there was another one waiting for a sign that he had scored a date. The signal was to throw his hat, which he did, but he never actually spoke to her. Her future husband was the instigator.
“He said to his buddy, ‘See that lady up there? Go up and ask her for a date, and if she accepts throw your hat back down the stairs,’” Jan said. “The guy never said anything to me, he just came up and threw his hat, and here Jim came up the stairs.”
It was lucky for Jim that his sailor buddy never tried to get that date. Jim, then 19, and Jan, then 16, were married Jan. 17, 1945. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Saturday.
And they are still very much in love.
“It’s good, I think it’s great,” said Jim, now 89. “I wouldn’t do without her.”
“I can’t imagine living with anyone else,” said Jan, now 86. “We just stand by each other.”
The couple was surrounded by friends and family at a table in the back of Applebee’s restaurant. Their son, Jim Jr., 68, and his wife Linda, 66, of Coeur d’Alene, are nearing their 50th wedding anniversary.
“We’ve always been a tight family. We do a lot of things together,” Linda said. “We do everything together as a family. The kids, grandkids, we all go.”
The Almonds enjoy ATVs and mining for gold together in Montana in the summers.
“Enjoy life together,” Jim Jr. said.
Jan and Jim had two children and now have five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter who will be 2 in March. Jan smiled as she showed off photos of the newest addition to the Almond clan.
“Her daddy’s in the Marines,” Jan said proudly.
Jan shared a funny story about marrying Jim twice. They originally married in California, but her mom was so upset about not attending that when they returned to her home in Kansas, her mom made them go through the ceremony again. Jan’s eyes twinkled as she spoke, as if it was just yesterday she married her husband for the second time.
“I told him 70 years is a long time with one man, but he won’t believe it,” she said with a laugh.
The couple have been through seven decades together - Jim is a World War II veteran, they owned a small engine shop on Northwest Boulevard for 25 years and they have seen 12 presidents be sworn into office. They do everything together and rarely leave each other’s sides. Jan said one secret to a long marriage is having patience with one another.
“He has more patience than I have,” she said. “We’ve always just got along.”
Their longtime friends Ronald and Margie Dupey of Coeur d’Alene have been married 67 years and agreed that patience is a good quality for a strong marriage.
“I think the most important thing is not to be selfish with anything,” said Margie, 83.
“You hear that? You’ve got to quit being selfish,” Jan playfully said to Jim as she poked his arm.
“I may as well just go jump in a lake,” he replied.
Information from: Coeur d’Alene Press, https://www.cdapress.com
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