“I remember exactly how I met her,” Gary said. They met in fifth grade after the North and South elementary schools of their hometown came together.
At Christmas, they sung Christmas carols in the halls, and shared caroling books because there weren’t enough for everyone. “I asked my friends, ‘Who’s the girl in the blue velveteen dress?’, and I still remember that dress." They became friends and began dating at age 15.
Later on, Betty became a laboratory technician at an outpatient clinic after graduating from Gradwohl School of Laboratory Technique. Gary was studying at the University of Illinois. In 1958, at age 20, the Wisemans married.
“Gary’s story has always been that he married me because he ran out of money to finish his degree and knew this girl who had a job, savings account and a ’54 Ford,” said Betty.
“I said let’s go to Terre Haute and get some rings,” said Gary.
“That statement was his way of proposing, I guess,” said Betty jokingly. “Romantic that he is.” Gary later completed his teaching degree at Indiana State University. They have two children and four grandchildren.
About a year and a half ago, the Wiseman’s decided it was time to move into a senior community and toured several locations, deciding that Windsor of Savoy was the best place for them.
“It’s a wonderful place,” said Betty. “The staff are unbelievable, and they take such good care of us. Anything we need, they’re there to help. And we enjoy our resident neighbors, they’re lots of fun.”
After the move, the Wisemans began participating in several group activities available at Windsor. Betty participates in the Windsor Singers and Gary leads the current events discussion group, selecting topics to talk about and keeping the peace during discussions. Both are members of the Reader’s Theater, reading short scripts and preforming for the other residents.
“We really enjoy it,” Gary said. “It’s a good little group. We laugh all the way through it.”
The Wisemans continue to celebrate their holiday traditions at their new home – including Valentines. “I buy her Fannie May chocolates and a card. Dark chocolate, a whole pound,” said Gary.
“And he gets half,” added Betty.
When thinking about the best advice they could give about staying happy together for so long, Gary said, “You have to like each other.”
“We were friends before we were husband and wife,” said Betty. “He makes me laugh a lot. We’ve been friends for so long.”
“We’re never apart”, Gary finished. “The last thing we say at night is “I love you”. I don’t think we’ve ever forgotten that even as forgetful as we are.”
Gary and Betty will be celebrating their 65th anniversary on Sept. 21, 2023.
To learn more about the Windsor of Savoy community, visit WindsorOfSavoy.com.