Dorothy Wilson was a little embarrassed at first when the Groton Town Council decided to make a fuss over the fact that she and her husband, Richard Wilson, 97, have been married 70 years.
"It's not as if we're 100 years old," Dorothy Wilson, 89, said she told her son, Dana. He explained: "I'll bet there are a lot more people alive at 100 than have been married 70 years."
Dorothy Johnson and Richard Wilson, of Mystic, met a church group in Arlington, Mass., and started dating in 1940. He asked her to marry him in an ice cream shop two days before Christmas, 1941.
He didn't kneel, but he had a ring.
"It was pretty official," she said.
"He was gentle, he was fun, he was handsome. See? There he is. My handsome sweetie."
The couple married in Florida during World War II on June 27, 1942, while Richard served in the Army Air Corps. Fifty cadets in his class attended the wedding.
Richard was a chemist by trade who worked for Pfizer traveling throughout New England before joining the service. Dorothy had studied at Boston University to learn office work, stayed about a year, and then worked at a bank.
The couple lived in Wilmington, Delaware, while he flew cargo planes during the war. When he left the service in 1945, his job at Pfizer had been saved for him. They moved to Lakewood, Ohio, then Long Island, N.Y., then Wilton, Conn. where they stayed 24 years.
They moved to Mystic in 1980, after Richard Wilson retired.
"We were very lucky, because he was the right person for me, I was the right person for him, and we always clicked," Dorothy Wilson said. "We were very blessed."
She's active in the Mystic Congregational Church, they've served on various church committees over the years, and he walked the Good Friday Hunger Walk for more than 20 years. Now Dorothy Wilson spends most of her time at home with her husband. Richard Wilson has Alzheimer's disease, but is doing well.
"We're lucky physically he's very strong," she said.
She said it's hard to point to any one lesson she learned in 70 years of marriage; she never really needed the "don't go to bed angry," rule she said, because they never really fought.
There was nothing he ever did that really annoyed her either, she said.
"We sort of thought alike about everything," she said.
He earned the money, she handled the bills and was careful, and he never questioned her. The Wilsons have four children, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, who is about to turn 1.
"One thing he does have is a great sense of humor," Wilson said of her husband. "Even now, he has a quick wit."
There were eight couples in the church group in Arlington, Mass. who married at about the same time. All remained married, she said.
"I think both of you have to listen to the other one," she said. "You kind of have to think of how the other person would feel about things. We were just lucky because we enjoyed the same things.
"We made the most of whatever time we had."