Even at 93 years old, Bette smiles when she thinks of her one and only love; the man she met as a child in Sunday school. They were married nearly 40 years before his passing in 1979, but time has no power over her fond memories of him.
“I think he liked my blue eyes,” she said, “But he had blue eyes too, so I didn’t see what the difference was.”
Love-at-first-sight was not part of their story. They had mutual friends that frequently went out dancing, picnicking, and beach exploring together. Because of this, James and Bette were always with each other.
It wasn’t until Bette’s sister decided to go to Santa Barbra for college that romance burst into existence. Bette followed her sister out to Santa Barbra for school, but no matter how many classes she took, she knew that her heart wasn’t built for schooling. She missed her family, her friends, and even the neighbor she spent most her life ignoring.
Three months later, the door bell rang. Bette opened the door to find James, unable to stay away from the woman he had grown up with and grown fond of. From then on, they were exclusive. James was her first real boyfriend; and both of them had every intention for long-term commitment as soon as the relationship started. There wasn’t even a need for an official marriage proposal.
“I just said, ‘Do you want to get married on Easter?’, and we did.”
So what was the secret to their lifelong relationship? “Not keeping grudges,” Bette says. Regardless of her efforts, her husband was not the type to argue. He simply moved past any dispute between them. With no harsh words to hold on to, problems dissolved and were forgotten.
And they are still forgotten. After 40 years of marriage and five children, the only regret Bette has is not being able to live our more of her days beside her one and only love.