How a Gulfport Couple Made it Through 70 Years of Wedding Bliss

She was 18, he was 23, 70 years later, the happy couple celebrated their wedding anniversary at the Gulfport Senior Center.

Editor's note: This story originally ran in December 2012. We're putting it in the spotlight again to highlight the accomplishments one person can make.


Every Friday Elaine and Charlie Waterhouse join their ever-so-talkative group of friends at the Senior Chat Room. For one hour every week, dozens of seniors gather at the Gulfport Senior Center to talk about their family, friends and their golden years. This past Friday was again filled with shared stories, memories and laughter, however, it was also a celebration in honor of Elaine and Charlie.

As the couple walked into the room on Friday, Nov. 30, friends roared, cheered and congratulated the couple on their anniversary, not a silver anniversary or even golden anniversary. The Waterhouse' surpassed them both and celebrated 70 years of marriage.

"It amazes me that people think 70 years is such a big deal," Elaine said.

Elaine and Charlie sat down in front of their anniversary cake and one by one pulled out old photos, taken on November 23, 1942. Elaine picked up the large black and white wedding photo and passed it around.

"I was 18 when we got married. Charlie was 23," she said.

Another photo shows Elaine's then 5-year-old sister playing in her veil. "She was giggling in the picture," she said.

Elaine says she considered Charlie an older guy and was drawn to the fact that he had a car. She was dating and "really having a ball" when they met. It wasn't until her mom told her to "hold onto him" that she considered marriage.

Elaine says Charlie's love of cars only grew over the years and one of her fondest memories was when she applied for a loan, qualified and then bought Charlie a 1931 Ford Model A.

"He almost fainted," she said.

Since then they've always had classic cars and even drove one to the Senior Center two years ago to show their chat room friends. Many of her memories include road trips that she's happy to share with the group. While there are two sides to every story, Elaine does most of the talking.

"I have a wonderful man, he doesn't say a lot," Elaine said with a laugh.

It's true, between the two of them, Elaine is a talker and Charlie is a listener.

"If you say a lot, you don't remember what you said," Charlie added.

Elaine explained to the group that Charlie's had trouble hearing his entire life. "He even took lip reading in school," she said, Charlie nodded in agreement.

So, for 70 years, Elaine has been whispering in Charlie's ear, letting him know what's going on around them. It's a common sight at the weekly chat room and Carol Ehrenkranz, chat room creator, says it's both romantic and sweet to see.

"They are a wonderful couple," Ehrenkranz said.

Some may find it humorous, but the combination has worked since day one. Perhaps opposites do attract, Ehrenkranz added during the party.

When asked about the secret to their marriage, Elaine said communication is key.

"Talk to each other," she said. "Through the good, bad and indifferent."

The Waterhouse's moved to Treasure Island in 1986 after selling their printing business in Springfield, Massachusetts. They have two sons who both relocated to Florida shortly after they did.

Congratulations from Gulfport Patch!


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