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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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