Tom was a salesman for Kodak calling on a dealer in Pasadena, California; it was late summer of 1940. Tom was told with a wink that there was a cute gal named Beth in the basement darkroom who needed help making enlargements. That same evening, after dining and dancing at the Biltmore Bowl, Tom proposed marriage. Beth rushed home to ask her mother’s permission to marry Tom. Beth told me, “I was barely twenty years old; I was betrothed to someone else!”
That first whirlwind date was seventy-seven years ago. I frequently ask couples if they have any advice for a long marriage. Tom quickly replied to my question with, “When you see something good, grab it! Don’t wait for something better to come along.” Beth said, “Tom cured me of a quick temper I inherited from my father.” The first time Beth’s special inheritance reared itself, Tom picked her up and put her in a cold shower fully clothed. He went into the shower with her, ruining his brand new cream herringbone suit in the process. They both laughed until they cried. They vowed, “Never to go to bed angry and to kiss a lot.” With a daily good morning kiss, welcome home kiss and a goodnight kiss, Beth and I calculated that they kissed a minimum of 84,855 times since they first met.