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Love Stories: Childhood pals celebrate 65 years of marriage

Love Stories is a monthly series chronicling the romance of a married Lowcountry couple.

This month: Lewis and Lillian Lanman

Residence: Hilton Head Island

Married: July 6, 1946, in Washington, D.C.

HOW THEY MET

Lewis: She had a sister, and I had a sister. They were buddies. Our families got to know each other. I was in my fifth year of grade school. This was all in Washington, D.C. Where I went to school was just up the street. But I didn't have time to get back home for lunch. Her mother took it on herself to feed me. That's where it started.

Lillian: He came most days. I was three years younger.

Lewis: Her brother and I were in the same class. We'd walk home for lunch. She'd walk behind us.

A FIRST TRY

Lewis: We didn't see much of each other at first. A few years later I was in my senior year of college and she was in high school and her sister, the one who was friends with my sister, got married. I went to the wedding and I saw her there and thought, "Oh boy." She caught my eye. I called and asked if I could take her out, and she said yes. We went down to dance at a place in Northern Virginia. She was a jitterbugger. We went and had a good time, but she wouldn't give me a second date. That ended everything for a while.

Lillian: He was too old. I was just graduating high school, anyway.

A SECOND TRY

Lewis: I was in the service and couldn't get out of Texas. Finally I made it back. Four years later I came back to Washington. My sister was still there. She suggested I call Lil. (Lillian) was going through a tough time. She had (been seeing) a guy who was unfortunately killed in a training exercise.

Lillian: At first, I thought he shouldn't get mixed up with me because I was still mixed up with that situation.

Lewis: But I called Lil. I called and she gave me a date in March of '46. We were married in July.

Lillian: He put on the full-court press -- that's what he always says.

THE PROPOSAL

Lewis: We both were working, and we met at lunchtime and sat down on the grass, not too far from the bridge from Virginia. We went together to pick out the ring. I was working for a chemical company. I had to go to Connecticut.

Lillian: He had to go away, and I didn't want to be without him.

Lewis: I never thought the little girl who tagged along with us would ever be more than that. Then we started to date. And it wasn't much doubt for me.

THE WEDDING

Lillian: It was at a hotel in Washington, D.C. We had a big room and a sit-down dinner. Not too big a wedding. We had some good music -- big band music.

Lewis: Our honeymoon was down in Sea Islands, Ga.

KEY TO A GOOD MARRIAGE

Lillian: You don't take your vows lightly.

Lewis: You always think well of your better half. Always keep them foremost in your mind.

Related content:

Love Stories: The key to a good marriage? Having a good wife, June 26, 2011

Love Stories: Prichardville couple were high school sweethearts, April 10, 2011

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