This story makes me smile… | On assignment | Easy Reader News

Ken sneaks a kiss. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan

From Old Hollywood to New Hermosa,

couple spends nearly 70 years together

 

Ken Green, 92, and Ann Green, 90, have been married for 67 years.

“No,” said their daughter Carrie. “68.”

Ann still thinks it’s 67, despite her daughter’s calculations.

The couple have three children, Dona, Carrie and Kenneth, and live in a duplex with they share with their daughter Dona overlooking Hermosa Beach and the ocean. The couple has a way of talking that can only be understood after many years of marriage. They banter back and forth, interrupting and finishing each other’s sentences while stopping for long moments to wade through memories of their first years together. After almost 70 years, communication and life alongside each other has become well-worn habit.

Ann said they wouldn’t trade it for the world. For the past couple years, Ken has been battling the early stages of dementia, struggling at times with memory. Ann has remained right at his side, helping him through his day-to-day life. Some days are better than others, they say, but what gets them through each day is their devotion to one another and their shared past.

“We got married in 1945 after the war and started our own,” said Ken, with a smirk.

Ken proposed while they were having a drink at a club in Hollywood.

“I said, ‘Hey lets get married tomorrow,’” said Ken. “I told her, ‘Get a dress, we’re gonna get married.’”

“We knew each other three months,” said Ann. “We went to the courthouse in Burbank, but I don’t know what we did after that.”

“We paid 10 to 15 bucks and that was it,” Ken said about the wedding and marriage license.

Ken’s still not sure how he knew they were right for each other. “We probably drank too much,” he said.

“He always says he was drunk when he asked me to marry him,” Ann said. “I guess it worked.”

After they got married, Ken said, smiling, that the two “sobered up.”

Ken remembers that they went to dinner with their good friend racecar driver Johnnie Parsons and other friends to celebrate.

Gas was difficult to get at the time because of the war, so they didn’t go far for their honeymoon and stayed at the Coconut Grove in Hollywood. They went back to work a few days after the wedding.

They still have a photograph that was shot on their very first date.

Ken and Ann Green have been married for at least 67 years. On their first date at a club in Hollywood a photographer snapped a photo of the couple spending an evening together. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan

Ken and Ann Green have been married for at least 67 years. On their first date at a club in Hollywood a photographer snapped a photo of the couple spending an evening together. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan

Ken said he thinks they stayed together for more than 65 years because “if you really love somebody, you’ll never leave ‘em.”

Ann thinks that you only get lucky once, and you have to trust each other.

“Make sure you love them,” added Ken.

The couple worked at Bendix in North Hollywood making Mae West radios. If something was broken, Ken fixed it. Ann worked at the same place and did the wiring and soldering for the radios. Ken was also a tool maker and helped make airplanes and submarines. Eventually he made his own 38-foot boat in their living room in Granada Hills and was planning on sailing around the world, a plan that never quite came to fruition.

Ann went to school in her hometown, Dallas, to be a welder. She moved to California with a girlfriend and lived with her cousin because she “outgrew Dallas.” Ken came by train from Detroit for the weather.

In the evenings, when she was 21, Ann would get dolled up and join her girlfriends at the Hollywood Palladium or the Brown Derby.

“It was very exciting,” said Ann. “I rode the trolley car all the way from North Hollywood to Hollywood, 10 miles maybe, and we’d dance and have lots of fun. [Hollywood] was very, very nice at that time. The trolley stopped at 2 a.m. and if we didn’t get out in time we’d have to get a taxi or get a ride from a soldier. Five of us would jump in the car and they would take us all the way to the Valley where we were living.”

She loved to kick up her heels and dance the night away. Strangely, she didn’t dance with Ken until after they were married.

“I’d dance with sailors and soldiers,” Ann said. “I even saw Marilyn Monroe at the premiere of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.’”

“And they do,” Ken said, noting his preference for blondes while making a quickly refuted claim that he once kissed Marilyn Monroe.

They were friends with Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard and often saw Sinatra while he was out on the town. They also saw Gene Autry and John Wayne, among other Hollywood royalty.

Before retiring they owned a motel in Lake Tahoe near Frank Sinatra’s club in Cal Neva. Movie stars and famous bands would stay in their motel during that time.

Ken didn’t like spending time at their motel in the winter, because he didn’t want to shovel snow.

“Why did I leave Detroit then? I coulda stayed there and froze in the snow,” said Ken.

They moved to Palos Verdes in 1980 and ended up in Hermosa Beach in 1986, 27 years ago.

“The way I look it, I ain’t gonna find any place better than what I’ve got here,” said Ken about his home in Hermosa Beach.

They’re both happy with their lives together, and are especially proud of their children and grandchildren.

“We have our ups and downs still, oh but it’s been lovely,” said Ann.

“Oh yeah…” said Ken. His tip to staying married is, “don’t do it.”

“We get along most of the time, but you get old and cranky,” said Ken.

While sitting together on the couch in their Hermosa Beach home with their two daughters watching, Ken snuck a kiss.

“I don’t know what kept us together,” Ken said. “I often wonder.”

“I guess it was love,” Ann said. “I don’t know what else it coulda been.”

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