Lorna and Marvin Ives have spent Valentine’s Day together every year since they met at York College, in Nebraska, in the autumn of 1935.
Theirs is a love story that began when they saw each other across a crowded room. Lorna explains the school didn’t believe in allowing students to dance with each other so the men would line up on one side of the gymnasium and the women on the other.
“You were supposed to walk to the middle and ask the man who was straight across from you a question. I still remember that question,” said Lorna. “It was ‘What will be the price of lipstick in Japan in 10 years?’”
“She just hit me right,” said Marvin.
They started officially dating in the spring of the next year but didn’t get married until 1939. On April 9 the couple will celebrate 75 years of marriage. Lorna says they were married for 11 years before they had their daughter and thought they couldn’t have children. They were blessed four years later with a son.
These days the couple lives in their own apartment at an assisted living facility in Andover. 98-year-old Marvin sits quietly with love in his eyes for his bride of nearly seven and a half decades and lets 95-year-old Lorna do most of the talking. Marvin says Lorna is his best friend. Lorna says the same of Marvin. However, the couple disagrees on what the key to a successful marriage is.
“Marriage takes a lot of give and take,” said Lorna. “You can’t always have your own way.”
“Good health,” said Marvin. “You can’t be married this long without good health.”
Part of that good health comes from exercising five days a week.
“He only does it to make me happy and I appreciate that about him,” said Lorna. “But I think it is good for him too.”
They have never spent much time apart, but Lorna says recently she had to go to the skilled nursing side of the facility where they stay, separating her from Marvin for several days.
“When I talked to him on the phone he would just cry and cry,” said Lorna. “When I came back all he wanted me to do was sit on his lap all the time so he could kiss me.”
“I like to kiss my wife,” said Marvin.
Marvin also likes to hold Lorna’s hand but Lorna says their walkers sometimes get in the way.
Page 2 of 2 - “We used to hold hands anytime we would walk anywhere,” said Lorna. “That is hard to do with a walker and I miss it. I know he does too.”
They have lived through a world war, the assassination of one president and the impeachment of another, the fall of communism and the terrorist attacks of 9-11. The couple have had quite the adventure together.
“We had an RV and we sure did enjoy those years,” said Lorna. “We traveled and did volunteer work in a Christian organization.”
Marvin and Lorna both say they never imagined they would be married for this long but are happy to have each other in their later years.
“We will love each other until the Lord calls us home,” said Lorna.