“I’ve never lived in a community like this,” Benson said. “When one is hurt the whole community seems to hurt. We bond together as a community to try to help one another out. It’s very, very unusual. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t get along.”
Of 14 eligible couples, the Waltons have been married the longest, with 63 years together. The couple say the key to their longevity is simple.
“I think it’s probably you’re honest with each other. You got to have trust,” said Art Walton, who first saw Edwardine when she was walking to school and fell for her then and there.
“You have to compromise and work at it a little bit, but it’s been a good trip,” said Edwardine Walton.
The Bensons have been married for 55 years, but their relationship got off to an inauspicious start. Robert was dating a young woman who lived on the same floor as Elsie in a dormitory. That’s when Elsie spotted him. Once the pair even double-dated with their different partners.
“Lorraine and I would look out over the second-floor lobby window and see him take Myrna home after a coffee date,” said Elsie Benson. “Our first date was a dance at MSU. He would not pick me up on East Mayo (Residence) Hall, because he was still befriending this girl. I had to meet him in the (tunnel) connecting East and West Mayo.”
Now, Benson said, “I wouldn’t trade him for the world.”
Benson said the Crown couples celebrated their anniversaries at Mulligan’s, a restaurant on their own golf course, when the group was smaller. Other celebrations took place at Minerva’s and Scott’s Harbor Grill. This time around it was back to a golf course, only one with an unfamiliar view.
Janet Larrabee, food and beverage manager at the Traverse City Golf & Country Club, said Tuesday that the couples’ private party was expected to take place in the dining room overlooking the lush greens and rolling fairways of the course less than five miles away.
“This will probably be a fun change,” Larrabee said.
Couples celebrate 667 years of marriage